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Expert tips for controlling carpenter bees

Abell Pest Control

Warmer weather and longer days in springtime tempt nature's creatures to awaken from their winter sleeps, and the carpenter bee is one of the first to respond. The bees are hungry when they emerge from nesting tunnels chewed in unpainted wood last fall, so they eagerly feed on plant nectar. That activity helps to pollinate the beautiful floral blooms of the new season, but within a few weeks they return to a more troublesome habit for homeowners - digging new tunnels in nearby wood.

Given several seasons to work and a large enough number of bees, this can spell trouble for thin wooden parts such as siding or fascia. The holes also invite damage from other eager natural neighbors, such as woodpeckers, carpenter ants and fungus.

Pest management experts say that carpenter bees are some of the most difficult pests to control. One reason is that they do not form concentrated hives, but rather spread out into their individual tunnels. People who try to chase bees with insecticide sprays would have just as much success with a fly swatter, and neither method will put much of a dent in a large population. Here's how to effectively handle these insects.

Spraying surfaces

Spraying the exposed wooden areas of a house is only slightly more effective, since the liquid washes off within a few weeks. Even bees that tunnel through a sprayed surface seldom get a lethal dose, because carpenter bees do not eat the wood they chew. These bees excavate their round tunnels from 6 inches to a foot or more in length solely to create a safe place for laying eggs.

Plugging holes

Spraying the exposed wooden areas of a house is only slightly more effective, since the liquid washes off within a few weeks. Even bees that tunnel through a sprayed surface seldom get a lethal dose, because carpenter bees do not eat the wood they chew. These bees excavate their round tunnels from 6 inches to a foot or more in length solely to create a safe place for laying eggs.

One of the few tools for discouraging carpenter bees from raising a family in your wooden walls is to locate every hole and treat it with an insecticidal dust. And that is just the first step. After dusting, determined homeowners then have to return to every hole and plug it with caulk or a small ball of aluminum foil. The dusting method can also be dangerous on windy days, easily spreading onto users' hands and clothing.

To make the job even tougher, experienced pest services workers also tell residents to approach the bee holes at night. That is wise advice, because it usually means the insects are calmer than during their frantic feeding hours. But it also makes it awfully hard to locate the 1/2-inch diameter holes.

Calling in the pros

Faced with all these challenges, some homeowners have been seen swatting at the large bees with a tennis racket. That may be satisfying, but a far more effective strategy would be contacting a commercial pest control service such as Abell Pest Control.


About the author:

Abell Pest Control is a family owned Canadian company dedicated to providing effective, professional and courteous service in pest management. Abell is proud to announce its 90th year of providing quality pest control services to North America. Started in 1924 with one office, Abell now employs several hundred people with branch offices across Canada and the United States.

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