Home & Garden
How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees
Photo Credit: Allison Lemons, WIBC
They float in the air. They make holes in your homes. They are: carpenter bees. These pests are most active in May and June and can cause a lot of damage to your home over time. We’ve been doing our research and have a few ideas to help you get those hovering annoyances out of your homes.
Do you have carpenter bees?
First and foremost; how to tell if you have carpenter bees. Identifying the bees themselves is pretty easy. They have a similar size to a bumblebee, but with a metallic black/blue/purple color underneath and yellow patterns. The males have a yellow head and no stinger while the females have white heads and rarely sting. Both hover around like helicopters around wood.
The females are the ones to watch, as they are the ones who bore the nests. They’ll often bore into your porch, under decks, wooden fences, sides of the house, any wood surface they can find.
Once they find a nice wood area the female bores her corridor in the wood about 6’ deep at a 90-degree angle to lay her eggs leaving a nice ½ inch opening. Besides the ½ hole you may be able to hear scraping sounds from inside the wood, see sawdust around the area, or see some yellow stains around the hole from bee feces and pollen.
How to get rid of them?
Carpenter bees don’t make a lot of initial damage, but over time if the holes aren’t treated they will come back and continue to make the tunnels bigger and bigger.
Note: When trying any of these methods it’s advised to do so at dusk/night.
The first step is to get rid of the bees themselves by attacking its nest. You can do this by using spray foam, dusting, or a liquid residual spray. Any form of insecticide will work. The main thing to pay attention to is when using these products you need to put them directly into the hole and fill it as much as possible. The insecticide will then be able to kill the bee and her eggs upon contact pretty quickly. After filling the holes, leave it for 24 hours to get any returning male bees.
To get bees directly feel free to use an aerosol spray. You will need to spray directly on the bees in order to kill them on impact.
Plugging up the holes:
This is mandatory if you want those bees gone for good. Wood putty, dowels, caulking, whatever you prefer as long as you plug/fill the holes. For this to really work, you do need to make sure the bees are dead. If not, the bees will just drill another hole to escape, causing more holes and headaches.
If you have more bees and holes than you have time to fill each one, try a trap. The Best Bees Brothers have a great one and won’t attract more bees.
How do I prevent them from coming back next year?
Spray: Use a good residual spray or synthetic parathyroid spray to cover the areas that have any unfinished wood around your house; under decks, patios, windowsills, railings, etc.
Paint: Oil-based painted wood or freshly painted wood will discourage carpenter bees.
Plug Holes: Again, make sure those holes are filled in and/or closed off. This also includes any cracks or smaller openings that might be attractive for the bees to drill.
If YOU’VE discovered any tricks or traps that have been helpful let us know on Facebook!
Check out Pat and Denny discussing carpenter bees and their methods for getting rid of them.
Listen to the Home and Garden Show with Pat Sullivan and Denny Smith every Saturday from 9a-1pm here on WIBC.