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How are termite patterns different from carpenter bees? Can they be treated the same?

Termites and carpenter bees are two types of wood damaging insects that are notorious for their destructiveness. In nature, they’re harmless parts of the life cycle of a forest, munching on or burrowing into decomposing wood. But when they find their way into homes or burrow inside porches or decks, these pests can pose a serious problem that have been known to do more than $5 billion in damages per year.1

Termites resemble flying ants | Best Bee Brothers
There are a variety of different species of termites, but they all create similar damage.

How do you know which bugs are invading your home, and what can you do to stop them if you find an infestation? Fortunately, it’s easy to spot the differences between carpenter bees and termites.

Evidence of Termites

Termites are small insects that resemble flying ants. And like ants, they are social creatures that live and work in colonies made up of soldiers and workers that serve a king and queen.2 They prefer humid environments but can be found throughout the world and make their habitat all throughout North America. Termites are detritivores, which means they eat decomposing or dead plant material—including wood used in home construction.

Termite Damage on a Home | Best Bee Brothers
Termite damage can cause thousands of dollars of damage. Photo Credit: Mississippi State University - Extension

Unfortunately, unless you know what to look for, there is often no sign of an infestation until it’s too late. It’s often best to consult with a professional pest control company that can conduct an inspection of your property to identify early-stage termite damage or take preventative measures before damage can occur.

Signs of Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are much larger than termites and are easy to spot (though they do resemble the beneficial bumblebee). They are solitary bees that don’t nest in large colonies, living instead in male-female pairs, sometimes with siblings. They are active in the warmer months from spring to fall. Each season, the female finds soft wood to construct a nest and bores tunnels up to four feet long, where she will lay the larvae while the male protects the area.

Carpenter Bee Damage | Best Bee Brothers
Carpenter bees create tunnels into straight-grained softwoods such as fir, cedar, and spruce. Photo Credit: Martha’s Vineyard HOME Magazine

Unlike termites, which often damage foundations and wreak havoc in other hidden places, carpenter bee damage is more obvious. The bees don’t eat wood but instead burrow into it, boring perfect half-inch-wide holes and leaving telltale sawdust behind. Check for carpenter bee damage on wooden areas of your home’s exterior, especially eaves, rafters, siding, cedar shake roofs, and on decks and outdoor furniture.3

Carpenter bees borrowing into wood | Best Bee Brothers.
Carpenter bee damage tends to be more obvious than termite damage. 

If you find carpenter bee damage to your property or want to prevent it in the future, carpenter bee traps can take care of the problem. Our Best Bee Trap is the most effective and professional carpenter bee trap solution on the market. We also have other carpenter bee solutions including bee bait. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to us. We would be happy to help prevent carpenter bee damage.


  1. “Termites Pose Silent - but Very Real - Threat to Homes across the U.S.,” March 22, 2010, National Pest Management Association, accessed October 16, 2020, https://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/press-releases/termites-pose-silent-but-very-real-threat-to-homes-across-the-us/.
  2. Michael F. Potter, “ENTFACT-611: Carpenter Bees,” University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Kentucky, accessed October 16, 2020, https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef611.
  3. “Termites,” NC State University Agriculture and Life Sciences, accessed October 16, 2020, https://genent.cals.ncsu.edu/bug-bytes/social-insects/termites/.


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