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Home Improvement--General/Carpenter Bees and Woodpeckers


I shopped a log cabin that was ideal inside but upon inspection outside all over were 1/2" round holes. Some of the holes had large splinters missing where woodpeckers had searched.
Do all log cabins have these problems? Or is it the species of log that bees prefer?


Carpenter bees are a common problem with wood homes--log or wood siding or even conventional homes with wood soffits and trim.  And woodpeckers will try to get the larvae that grow in the holes made by the adult bee.  

The bee drills into the wood then turns 90 degrees and digs a tunnel for some considerable distance, plants the egg and the egg develops until a young adult emerges.  In the meantime woodpeckers spot the hole and begin to peck all around it till they recognize the hollow sound of the tunnel then they dig in till they find the larva, sometimes going several feet creating a long gouge in the wood.  Sometimes they don't recognize the hollow sound of the tunnel so they just tear up the wood all around the hole making a gouge the size of a saucer.

You can repair the holes and gouges with common wood putty/filler or appropriate caulk then paint or stain to match the surrounding wood.  Before filling you might want to spray a flying insect insecticide into the tunnel or you can use WD-40 which also works.

To prevent or at least control the infestation you can treat the surface of the wood with a topical contact insecticide such as pyrethrin by spraying with a garden sprayer.  Generally, the areas most commonly selected for drilling are the undersides of eaves, soffits, etc., where the bee can work out of the weather.  Unfortunately, the spray treatment will wash off or degrade from rainfall and normal weathering and humidity over time, so it won't last long.  You may have to apply it more than once starting at the beginning of the high activity period which occurs in early spring.

Wood peckers stay away from areas that have owls present.  They are a natural predator of the bees.  You can buy plastic models of woodpeckers at garden stores or farmer's co-ops.  Just hang them or perch them near and in view of the target areas that the bees are frequenting.

Pyrethrin also deters and kills lady beetles, stink bugs, wasps, mud daubers, spiders and all crawling/walking insects.  It is also non-toxic to humans, animals and plant life making it safe to use around the home.

This is an issue that won't go away because the thing that makes log homes thermally effective is what also attracts insects, and that is the warmth emanating from the wood mass.  So, you have to address it every year as spring and fall approach.  Good luck.

Len Kroll
Wood House Log Homes LLC

Home Improvement--General

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Len Kroll


I can provide advice on the proper design, construction, maintenance, restoration, preservation, cleaning and waterproofing of log homes. Questions concerning proper cleaning, sealing, staining and waterproofing are within my area of expertise. My expertise includes new construction and existing log structures. Chinking application or restoration, log replacement and repair are also in my area of expertise.


40 years experience in the log home and construction industries, 10 years in specialty contracting, 30 years in the log home field. We have designed, produced, supplied and built over 3,000 log homes and restored/repaired over 600 log homes. See more information at our web site:

Authored a monthly column expressing the Vice President and General Manager's "Observations and Insights" distributed to 300 employees and management.

BS degree in accounting, University of Illinois, 1963. Master of Business Administration degree, University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. Numerous relevant seminars including an intense two week business administration seminar, University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business, 1978. National Home Builders Association Graduate Builders education program.

Awards and Honors
National Honor Society Student, Illinois State Academic Scholarship, Dean's List.

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