Asked on May 23, 2015

Something's eating my deck! (Round holes in wood)

Today I reapplied some wood deck stain to a couple areas of my deck. A few hours later I went to check to see how it was drying and I noticed this round hole with sawdust coming out of it. It wasn't there a few hours before and it's on an area that did not get the deck stain put on it today. What the heck is this? And with the speed in which it made this one hole, will my house still be standing tomorrow :)
Here is the hole - it's less than an inch wide, but perfectly round. Sometimes I look at it and it has sawdust in it and then sometimes it is just the hole, so whatever it is is constantly creating new "sawdust".
I have no idea if this is related to the hole, but it is setting on the wood about two inches from the hole. Sort of looks like a larvae of some kind.
  49 answers
  • Tammie Housley Tammie Housley on May 23, 2015
    If I were you I would immediately have my house inspected for termites. Whatever it is, if it can do that much damage that quickly you need to deal with it as soon as possible!
  • R.V.R. Farris R.V.R. Farris on May 23, 2015
    It could be carpenter bees, they'll tunnel a perfect circular hole for a nest.
  • Sundra Cline Sundra Cline on May 23, 2015
    Looks like carpenter bees
  • Margie Margie on May 23, 2015
    I would also agree with the carpenter bees. That's what the holes look like in our old shed.
  • Nancy Vines Rushin Nancy Vines Rushin on May 24, 2015
    Yep. carpenter bees.
  • Debra Riffle Debra Riffle on May 24, 2015
    fill hole with culking
  • Deezie Deezie on May 24, 2015
    We have carpenter bees here that do the same thing. I would say it looks like you have carpenter bees also, good luck
  • Nita Nita on May 24, 2015
    We have carpenter bees,and I found a link to get rid of them after the caulking the holes, get a lunch bag fill with two plastic bags to make it look full and hang near the deck, if it is carpenter bees they will think it is a hornets nest and go away. Then call a termite inspecter and have them inspect for termites , the bees we had drilled very neat wholes not messy like on your deck. very odd.
    • See 1 previous
    • Mary Mary on May 24, 2015
      @Nita Wow! Great idea! We have so many of them constantly drilling their perfectly round holes in our garage, & they are so annoying, buzzing by your head! I am DFINITELY going to try this!
  • Sue Klinedinst Sue Klinedinst on May 24, 2015
    Carpenter bees. Very interesting to watch them, but not good to have holes in your wood.
  • Andrea Schnapp Andrea Schnapp on May 24, 2015
    Carpenter bees, but I'm sure of hearing that. They won't drill into painted wood!
    • Elaine Glendening Elaine Glendening on May 24, 2015
      @Andrea Schnapp They drilled into the painted wood trim on our shed. We took the trim down then replaced it with new painted wood and they never came back.
  • Paula Goyette Herr Paula Goyette Herr on May 24, 2015
    Carpenter Bees!
  • Paula Jean Giannini Paula Jean Giannini on May 24, 2015
    sounds like carpenter bees-theyr'e black and yellow bees-they won't sting you but they divebomb you. I used lemongrass essential oil and water in a spray bottle for my screen porch-I leave the door open for the dogs so it was defeating the purpose tof a screen porch-those bees always came in til I sprayed the lemongrass essential oil and water all over the porch, entryway and screens- viola no more BUGS at all!
  • Sha Sha on May 24, 2015
    bumble bee drilling hole with larve, spray hole with WD-40 it will kill the larve and bee won't come back.
  • Paula Jean Giannini Paula Jean Giannini on May 24, 2015
    also I live in a 120 yr old farmhouse w/ barns and other outbuildings-that's all you see are those holes everywhere
  • Mary Mary on May 24, 2015
  • Ksutton53 Ksutton53 on May 24, 2015
    there is a carpenter bee trap you can make or buy ,
  • Barbara Parsons Barbara Parsons on May 24, 2015
    I also had carpenter bees in my wood deck, even though the lumber was treated. I simply took cotton balls, soaked them in ammonia, and put them in the holes. That did the trick. I didn't know about the WD 40, or I would have used that. It sounds a lot easier.
  • Paul Gauthier Paul Gauthier on May 24, 2015
    If they are carpenter bees they are probably not licensed. Report them to the proper authorities. Now on a serious note, all of the answers are right on. :)
  • RI Waterman RI Waterman on May 24, 2015
    Definitely carpenter bees ... and they can do it very very quickly. I have had them at my house in Rhode Island - around the window frame and under the window sill. They are big bees. fit tightly into the hole they create.
  • Beth Beth on May 24, 2015
    We have carpenter bees that do the same kind of damage your picture shows.
  • Joseph F Joseph F on May 24, 2015
    Its definitely carpenter bees!
  • Suanough Zentell Suanough Zentell on May 24, 2015
    I would also guess Carpenter bees.,, Stuff the holes you find with steel wool and spray with WD-40... Should be gone or relocated in a few days. p.s. They will not sting but they will try to encourage you away from their hole.
  • Mama Rose Mama Rose on May 24, 2015
    I have had carpenter bees in the past and they make holes like you described and leave sawdust residue. I did have it chemically treated on 2 occasions. One time prior to that I had holes from carpenter bees on the over hang to my garage. And the "carpenter" across the street from me came early in the morning and sprayed the holes then filled them up and sprayed again. This has to be done early in the morning while the bees are away and before they come back.
  • 861650 861650 on May 24, 2015
    I used bug killer that lasts for months. The same type I use inside and outside of my house. Sprayed it into the hole. No more bees. You can find this at Lowes Hardware or Home Depot and usually at any hardware store. Not expensive.
  • Ponto Ponto on May 24, 2015
    they have no qualms about type of wood .. found holes in pressure treated fence posts
  • Pat Kynerd Thomas Pat Kynerd Thomas on May 24, 2015
    It is probably Carpenter Bees! Get a pest control guy to confirm it, but that is what happened to my patio area last month! They can completely destroy any wooden area if they are not gotten rid of!
  • Cathy Cathy on May 24, 2015
    We have had the same. My husband looked it up on Internet, which said to get a wasp spray, spray inside the holes, repeat in three days, then putty over. We did the spray and repeat several times (over a course of weeks actually) until we no longer saw bees in the three day period then putty. Hopefully, this has poisoned them to the point they can no longer reproduce and will die.... They are very destructive. Good luck.
  • Elisabet Elisabet on May 24, 2015
    CARPENTER BEES. We have treatment included in our quarterly pest control. There seems to be more than the usual amount of wasps and carpenter bees this year so we spray some inbetween.
  • Teresa Price Bowen Teresa Price Bowen on May 24, 2015
    In Kentucky, we call the wood bees. They can auger a pinky size perfect round in just a couple of hours.
  • Patty Patty on May 24, 2015
    Yep, that looks like the work of a carpenter bee (not to be mistaken for "mason bees", which do not dig holes in your wood, and are great pollinators).
  • Peggy Jaynes Peggy Jaynes on May 24, 2015
    Carpenter bees! They're hard to get rid of. I suggest an exterminator pronto!
  • Dorothy Collett Dorothy Collett on May 24, 2015
    Carpenter bees are quite harmless, and are actually excellent pollinators. Because of the current decline in European honey bees and an even greater need for pollinators there is an effort to encourage native bees. Carpenter bees lay their eggs in the tunnels in spring and later overwinter there during the cold months. You can make nesting sites or purchase them (looks like a bundle of wood or paper tubes) to place near old bore holes. Please research on internet. What I haven't found on the internet is what wood they like or don't like. I have noticed on my old barn bee tunnels in the pine boards but none in the old oak. For now leave the holes alone. Block them in the summer when you have nesting bundles as replacements. Please don't try to kill them. They do good work pollinating our fields and orchards.
  • Cindy Cindy on May 24, 2015
    Yep! I would say Wood Bees too.
  • Mac1718663 Mac1718663 on May 24, 2015
    Raised in the country - we always called them bumble bees. But I think I have heard the called Carpenters bees since. They are eating wood at our home too. I have spray direct on them But doesn't help. St if you. Know anything that will help. Please post.
  • Madeline Shepherd Madeline Shepherd on May 24, 2015
    Carpenter bees-not bumblebees. There's a product you can buy to catch the bees. It's made of wood of course but the bees go in the small hole and fall into a jar. It's worked wonders for us. You should be able to buy it at a Feed and Seed.
  • Marcia Marcia on May 24, 2015
    Order "Bee Butter on line. Really works!
  • Debbie Debbie on May 24, 2015
    Carpenter Bees. Use Wasp/Hornet Spray and cover the hole with poly, stain etc.
  • Cheryl Higley Cheryl Higley on May 24, 2015
    We have had them, in our decking, too. My husband did some research on the Internet and discovered that they don't like petroleum products. We decided to try WD-40, by spraying some in the holes that they had made, to see how well that worked. IT KILLED THEM DEAD RIGHT ON THE SPOT AND WHILE THEY WERE IN THE HOLE. Give it a try and save your money, as was earlier suggested, on an exterminator (unless you have a severe infestation).
  • Pattitrich Pattitrich on May 24, 2015
    live in a mobile home & mobile homes attract bees. I guess there are a lot of places they can nest! I read somewhere that if you spray WD-40 around the roof where the wall & roof meet, around windows, porch area, actually any area the like to congregate it deters bees & wasps. Tried it it works!
  • Vickie Vickie on May 25, 2015
    If possible get rid of the bees. We have them, a LOT of them and as the larvae starts to hatch out I think the woodpeckers can hear them because they come along and made swiss cheese out of our eaves! It is terrible looking and we called our insurance company to come so we could get the eaves replaced, nope, wouldn't pay for it, said it was actually caused by an insectthat attracted the bird, so therefore is not covered on our plan. We have treated ours but still have some every year and we actually have a strange wasp that has come along that lays it's eggs in the same hole and when they hatch they eat the larvae from the carpenter bees. So from overloaded with them to just a few that are quickly taken care of by the wasp is great! Now to just find the money to replace the eaves on the south side of the house!
  • Hom597755 Hom597755 on May 25, 2015
    House of Hawthornes, I don't have these (yet) but can see the potential with our massive could you please keep us informed on how you handled it and how that worked for you? Thanks.
  • C C on May 25, 2015
    Carpenter bees. Get rid of them. I have a company come in and spray my house as I have wood siding. They love my eaves.
    comment photo
  • Barbara Brewer Barbara Brewer on May 25, 2015
    wood bees {from Ky} I don't smoke ,but some friends still do, I put use cig. buts in hole. they move and make another hole. Cant stop just fills holes
  • House Of Hawthornes House Of Hawthornes on May 25, 2015
    UPDATE: You are right, they are carpenter bees!!! I saw one coming out of the hole today. I think I'll try the WD-40 trick and stuff the hole with steel wool and see if that works. And then I'm going to put another coat of deck stain/sealer on it so they won't be tempted to make any more holes on the deck. Thanks for all your input. That perfectly round hole had me baffled!
  • Chris Sabol Chris Sabol on May 27, 2015
    Definitely carpenter bees.
  • Gonfshn77302 Gonfshn77302 on May 27, 2015
    I love my carpenter bees. Fantastic pollinators. The males have a white spot between their eyes and are incapable of stinging. The females are very mild mannered and will only sting in self defense. I have a colony(think 20 or so) every year. I used to worry about them destroying the wood but they use the same holes over and over. They provided endless entertainment with their clumsiness and the males bad attempts at bullying. I'll trade replacing a few 2x4's every few years for keeping them around,especially with the decline in the honey bee population.
    comment photo
  • Keller Pest Control Keller Pest Control on May 11, 2017

    The Image you show is not a carpenter bee and the hole is not right for carpenter bee damage. The Carpenter bee holes are about 3/8 to 1/2 inch perfect circles and you will see the bee flying around the area. Its not subterranean termites, Its possible that it could be Drywood or Dampwood termites that possibility would be determined by where you where you live. How large are the holes, and what type of wood is it. If the wood has been treated or stained it most likely will not bee carpenter bees, since they don't like painted or stained wood. How big are the holes and how many are there. The black thing in the picture I assume is an photo of s bug . Did you see it come out f the holes. How large is the bug . Does it fly. The material that is in the hole in the picture does it appear to be wood shavings.

  • Wood Bees! You can get traps for them.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Aug 06, 2022

    Spray with WD-40, it will coat their wings preventing them from flying and making new holes.