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Old 06-02-2013, 03:02 PM   #1
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caulk for cedar siding


Hello all:
I am preparing to re-stain my dark cedar siding. I have noticed there are small holes thruout (maybe carpenter bee or natural holes).

Should I fill the holes with a special caulk for cedar siding? I was thinking of using paintable caulk and it would go dark when I restained the house.

Thanking you in advance.

Donna in Fredericksburg, VA

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Old 06-02-2013, 06:35 PM   #2
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caulk for cedar siding


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Originally Posted by momof2labs
Hello all:
I am preparing to re-stain my dark cedar siding. I have noticed there are small holes thruout (maybe carpenter bee or natural holes).

Should I fill the holes with a special caulk for cedar siding? I was thinking of using paintable caulk and it would go dark when I restained the house.

Thanking you in advance.

Donna in Fredericksburg, VA
I don't know that there is a special caulk for cedar. Any quality paintable will work. Good idea to get a color close to the color of your stain (solid stain I assume) so it will cover easier.

One thing to keep in mind is the caulk will flash through a lot of stains to a extent. Especially if its rough cedar, the caulked spots can look 'slick or shinny. So minimize smearing caulk outside of what your trying to fill. Fill the holes full, but don't turn a small hole into a big smear that will show somewhat through your stain.

If they are carpenter bee holes, I like to spray them full of bee spray, quickly stuff a piece of foam filler or something in the hole, wipe off the excess spray then caulk them.
Caulking alone doesn't discourage the bees much, they just chew through it.

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Old 06-02-2013, 06:38 PM   #3
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caulk for cedar siding


They make tools made to squirt powdered inceticide In bee holes. Comes in a kit with foam plugs too. Those bees are a menace to ext. wood. But they are also important pollinators.
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Old 06-03-2013, 06:50 AM   #4
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caulk for cedar siding


I agree so far but you raised one red flag. You said small holes in the cedar but then mentioned carpenter bees. Carpenter bees tend to make holes the size of---you guessed it---carpenter bees. Usually it looks like somebody took a 1/4-1/2" wood auger to the wood. I had never encountered them until moving to Central Illinois and thought some idjut had drilled large pilot holes in facia for some reason. Is that what you mean by a small hole? If so, proceed as suggested with a pesticide and a quick plug you can surface over and sand.

Have you noticed a tap tap tap sound on your house? Any chance you have a hungry woodpecker around? A long nosed neighbor that eats bugs? They would leave small holes foraging for bugs under the siding. Unless the siding is recycled with old nail holes showing, cedar I have encountered does not have small holes inherent to it.

Finally, bugs do not like the tanins and oils in cedar so I wonder if you have a hidden problem underneath your siding. I will not use the T word or even spell out C ants completely. I think you should pull a piece of the siding with the most holes off and see what lurks behind. Having been surprised a time or two, I would be wearing a tyvek suit with bunny slippers and gloves.

Unless, you assure us your definition of small holes is the size carpenter bees would make? And by the way, carpenter bees are not only huge but very aggressive. I have heard mixed rumors about whether they even have stingers but you get four or five buzzing around your head with a "take no prisoners" attitude while 20 feet up on ladder?
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Old 06-03-2013, 06:52 AM   #5
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caulk for cedar siding


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They make tools made to squirt powdered inceticide In bee holes. Comes in a kit with foam plugs too. Those bees are a menace to ext. wood. But they are also important pollinators.
Dear jmayspaint:
Thank you for all your information. I recently purchased my home in Dec '12. Part of the house is brick and the additions are cedar siding. I've seen carpenter bees flying around the house with "love in their eyes".

Do the regular home improvement stores carry the "powdered insecticide" to spray in bee holes? What about the "foam plugs"? Are you referring to spray foam?

Donna in Fredericksburg, VA
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:09 AM   #6
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caulk for cedar siding


I will not speak for jmayspaint but will say spray foam does not hold up so well in exterior applications. You know those foam things they sell for kids to play with in the pool that come in bright colors. That is the material I would look for. It comes in diameters from tiny to the size mentioned and above. Snip it off, stuff it in and good to go. I suspect this is what comes in the kits.

I personally gave up on DIY pest control decades ago. I would call a pest control pro to deal with what, if anything, to inject in the holes.
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:14 AM   #7
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caulk for cedar siding


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Originally Posted by momof2labs

Dear jmayspaint:
Thank you for all your information. I recently purchased my home in Dec '12. Part of the house is brick and the additions are cedar siding. I've seen carpenter bees flying around the house with "love in their eyes".

Do the regular home improvement stores carry the "powdered insecticide" to spray in bee holes? What about the "foam plugs"? Are you referring to spray foam?

Donna in Fredericksburg, VA
The only time I used the powdered stuff was when a costumer had got it on line. I had trouble finding it myself, hence the bee spray method. None of the box stores around here have it.

As far as the plugs, I use caulking 'backer rod' you can but it at a lot of places. It's a long roll of round foam 'string' that is used to pre fill large cracks for caulking. The bigger diameter variety fits well in a bee hole. Just cut off a small piece.
The spray foam seems like it would be hard to use without a mess.

The 'boring bees' as they are called around here, are a real pain to Wood home owners. Expensive inceticide paint additives don't seem to work at all. The newest thing is Borate treatments. Powdered Borate that you mix with water an spray on. I used it on a new log home I'm on now. Seems to be discouraging them, though I have seen a couple holes already. I have heard it said that fresh paint/stain will discourage them, but in my exp. it does very little. I was amazed the first time I saw one chew back out of a caulked hole like it was nothing and carry on.

Couple other things people are trying; traps, google 'carpenter bee trap', there are some interesting looking ones people have come up with that seem to work.
Also some people will hang a large chunk of wood in a tree away from the house so the bees will live there instead of there siding. (In theory)
With the shrinking population of Honey Bees, we actually need carpenter bees for pollinators. They are in an important ecological niche.
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:15 AM   #8
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caulk for cedar siding


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I agree so far but you raised one red flag. You said small holes in the cedar but then mentioned carpenter bees. Carpenter bees tend to make holes the size of---you guessed it---carpenter bees. Usually it looks like somebody took a 1/4-1/2" wood auger to the wood. I had never encountered them until moving to Central Illinois and thought some idjut had drilled large pilot holes in facia for some reason. Is that what you mean by a small hole? If so, proceed as suggested with a pesticide and a quick plug you can surface over and sand.

Have you noticed a tap tap tap sound on your house? Any chance you have a hungry woodpecker around? A long nosed neighbor that eats bugs? They would leave small holes foraging for bugs under the siding. Unless the siding is recycled with old nail holes showing, cedar I have encountered does not have small holes inherent to it.

Finally, bugs do not like the tanins and oils in cedar so I wonder if you have a hidden problem underneath your siding. I will not use the T word or even spell out C ants completely. I think you should pull a piece of the siding with the most holes off and see what lurks behind. Having been surprised a time or two, I would be wearing a tyvek suit with bunny slippers and gloves.

Unless, you assure us your definition of small holes is the size carpenter bees would make? And by the way, carpenter bees are not only huge but very aggressive. I have heard mixed rumors about whether they even have stingers but you get four or five buzzing around your head with a "take no prisoners" attitude while 20 feet up on ladder?
That's chilling to think of being 20' up and get the attention of several of those large carpenter bees. I've never realized they were aggressive but I guess they could be.

No, I'm positive it's not a woodpecker. I have seen carpenter ants and when I mashed one inside, he was juicy he was so large. Yuk! I have bought spray for carpenter ants but have not put it down yet.

And, yes, the holes are about 1/4". I even saw a wasp go in one hole the other day. I sprayed it with Raid.

Thanks for your reply.
Donna in Fredericksburg, VA
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:54 AM   #9
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caulk for cedar siding


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Originally Posted by momof2labs View Post
That's chilling to think of being 20' up and get the attention of several of those large carpenter bees. I've never realized they were aggressive but I guess they could be.

No, I'm positive it's not a woodpecker. I have seen carpenter ants and when I mashed one inside, he was juicy he was so large. Yuk! I have bought spray for carpenter ants but have not put it down yet.

And, yes, the holes are about 1/4". I even a wasp go in one hole the other day. I sprayed it with Raid.

Thanks for your reply.
Donna in Fredericksburg, VA
Whoa the horses. Park the cart. If you have seen a wasp going in and out, you should not attempt to work on this yourself. A can of Raid is not going to do it.

Carpenter bees are unlikely to sting you but wasps will, over and over again. If they have nested/hived under your siding and you start messing with it?

Do you remember any physical characteristics of the wasp beyond that it was white anglo saxon and protestent? You could see if local clergy would help you.


Last edited by user1007; 06-03-2013 at 08:26 AM.
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