Have you found the solution on how to get rid of carpenter bees? From pollination point of view, this creature is generally helpful. Therefore, you cannot really categorize this animal as pests. However, giving a chance for them to breed in your house is not a good idea, either. Consequently, you need to learn the best way to handle this matter.
What are Carpenter Bees?
It belongs to Xylocopa group, referring to those bees that tend to destroy property, especially those made of wood. Rather than chewing the wood, this species dig a hole, mostly on died tree and live in it. While the honey bee is making noticeable hives, hanging on the tree, the carpenter bees make similar gallery inside the wood structure. Thus, your belongings may suffer from light to severe damage, depending on how many carpenter bees in the area.
There are two types of carpenter bees, specified by its size: Xylocopa (the big one) and Ceratina (the small one). Big carpenter bees could grow up to 25 mm long. While its brother, Ceratina, could only reach 7 mm long at the maximum. Carpenter Bees are commonly found in black, green or purple color. At the first glance, you might misjudge it as a bumble bee. Both has black and yellow body, complete with the stripes. However, there is one clear difference: the abdominal part. Bumble bee has hairy abdominal, while the carpenter bees doesn’t. Female and male bees have distinctive features, too. You can recognize the female by its black shiny head, and the male one by its black dotted head.
The Indications of Carpenter Bee’s Attack
You can be sure that your property is occupied by carpenter bee when you notice holes and buzzing bees around the attacked area. This animal is also popular as wood bees. Therefore, you will find them inside wood properties. It is the place for them to nest and burrow themselves. Carpenter bees do not feed on the wood, yet they dig it out. Another thing to remember: the easiest and most preferred target is naked wood; without paint, dry and start to rot. Also, these types of wood is its favorite house: pine, fir, Oakwood, Cyprus, and redwood.
The Life Cycle
The mating period starts in early March. The males will die shortly after mating, and the females will follow right after laying the eggs. While producing eggs, the maximum number a female carpenter bee could lay is ten. The nest is created to keep the unborn baby safe. Also, it is filled with food ball, formed from flower nectar. Once the eggs hatched, the larvae will feed on the ball. The room to put on the eggs is locked with certain web produced by the female bee. Unless the pupa has broken, the larvae will only live inside the prepared space. Newly born carpenter bees are expected to crawl out in August.
Carpenter Bees’ Self Defense
Like the other bees, this species also stings anytime it senses danger. Carpenter bees have the ability to sting the threat multiple times. This self protecting system is found on female bees. If they see that you stay too close to the hive, they will defend the hive first. In the opposite, the male bees will fly directly to the possible threat, even though they cannot sting. They will only buzz to you if you step into the bees’ area. Rather than defending, male bees’ act and aggressiveness are only warning or reminder.
Making a new hive is a hard work, even for the carpenter bees. As a result, the female bees; the ones that build the holes, tend to live in already made holes rather than chewing new holes. The size of the holes is less than half inch wide. It is just as big as its body. The holes goes one to two inches deeper to the core of the wood. Then, the holes make a turn, joining the other hole paths to create a tunnel. The tunnel size is four inches long at the minimum and eight inches long at the maximum. You can add this fact to find a solution on how to get rid of carpenter bees. No one will suggest you to put your finger or peep into the holes.
How Severe Is The Damage?
If you still think that the wood digging phenomenon is acceptable and still under the law of nature, take a look at the damage that might happen to your property.
- Dirty floor
Carpenter bees leave its excretion and pollen under the entrance hole. Not to mention, the dust as the result of digging new hives. Unless you are willing to do the regular cleaning, this problem should be eliminated appropriately.
- Fragile Solid Wood
The tunnel made by carpenter bees is quite deep. Without proper treatment, they will only grow deeper and bigger. Thus, it makes your wooden items have solid appearance, but easy to break nature. It adds the reason to find a way how to get rid of carpenter bees.
- Woodpecker Feasting Area
Having the carpenter bees on your house means your house is close to woods. Therefore, it is also possible for Woodpecker to stop by your house. As you expected, they are naturally looking for carpenter bees eggs. Consequently, your wood will be the object of “pecking”.
- Moldy Holes
Once the carpenter bees build the holes, they won’t make it their forever home. The bees will be around only in spring and summer time. They might come back next year to enjoy breeding period. In fall and winter, the holes might be occupied by fungi or mildews due to the excessive moisture. As you know, it also means you will get wet and rotten woods. This case would be serious matter if it happens to your ceilings structure. This consideration will make you learn more about how to get rid of carpenter bees.
- Scraping Sound
As the carpenter bees live inside the wood, there might be buzzing sound. A colony is not bothering, but how about three or four? The annoying sound is getting louder at night, as the adult bees come back to the nest.
- Staining Woods
When the insects leave the feces in the entrance hole, the stain could not be cleaned thoroughly. If the bees already make huge internal hollow, the fan pattern could be seen on the wood surface.
- Structural Damage
Compared to the dark area, the well-lighted side will be the first target. Therefore, some roof arrangements utilizing glass roof for energy saving are exposed to higher damage risk. If the bees could somehow find a way to chew the middle wood structure first, the fragile part will be difficult to replace. In conclusion, the only way out is to rebuild the whole truss.
How to Prevent It?
You never know what will happen to your wood furniture. Maybe now you still don’t want any solutions on how to get rid of carpenter bees. Several years from today, you might feel lucky for reading the prevention steps, rather than experiencing the severe damage.
- Apply Paint
While the carpenter bees could feast on bare wood, make sure you don’t provide the menu on the list. Color all of the wooden furniture, so the bees will less likely to choose your property as the target. If your door or windows already has cracks, seal them with putty. Another good way is to paint the wood with glossy coat. Recently, it has been found that the bees are far less attracted to shiny looking wooden object. Applying stain and preservatives will not work as well as the paint. However, it is a better choice than leaving the wood unpainted.
- Close The Door and Window
Spring is the nesting season for the bees. Therefore, you should minimize the chance for them to come into the house. If needed, install mosquito nets on every opening. By doing this, bees have no way to slip in. Thus, you do prevention steps before thinking further about how to get rid of carpenter bees.
- Spray Carpenter Bees Repellent
New furniture might also have holes. Probably, you take some precautions by spraying the repellent solution to the wood surface. First of all, you can always take the citrus extract. It has citrus oil, and the bees are not so fond of it. They will make a u-turn after smelling the scent. If you want to go with less strong scent, choose almond oil and almond essence. Either has similar effect with citrus extract.
- Make A Fake Nest
This one is a smart way to solve the question on how to get rid of carpenter bees. If your furniture is made of carpenter bee’s favorite woods, then painting is not enough. They will come again and dig other holes. The easiest way is to take weathered woods, thick enough for the bees to make tunnel. Place it on the door. Let them nest there. Around November or December, take the wood off and bring the fake nest to the wood. In next nesting time, the bees will stay in the wood instead of coming to your house.
- Spray Residual Liquid
To stop the carpenter bees for feasting on the wood furniture, make them don’t want it. How? It is by spraying residual liquid. You can easily go to the store and ask for insecticide spray. The potential targets of bees attack are decks, ceiling, overhang, fence, boards and window frames. Take two weeks interval if your wooden furniture are not protected from pouring rain. Since you also have the indoor wooden part, do the spraying routine every three to four weeks. Be careful with some dangerous chemical pesticides. Always read the labels carefully. The banned brands might harm you and your family.
- Install Vinyl Siding
Instead of giving answer for how to get rid of carpenter bees question, this step is more like providing camouflage. Vinyl siding doesn’t attract the buzzing insects. Because this item is available in stores, it won’t be difficult to purchase vinyl after office hours. The strong plastic scent of vinyl drives the bees away, covering the weathered wood scent. Therefore, you should minimize the dry wood temptation. Cover the entire wood surface.
- Pick Hardwood
If you pay close attention, the carpenter bees like to chew the woods. In conclusion, the lesser density your furniture has, the more they will make yours a target. To solve this problem, you can purchase furniture made from hardwood. It requires more time to dig a single hole due to its complex and dense structure. Therefore, the carpenter bees might just give up before they even actually start the job.
How to Exterminate It?
Probably you need some time to decide on the extermination. It is not surprising as the damage varied, and killing the bees could also mean breaking your property, too. How to get rid of carpenter bees? These are some options you could choose.
- Call the Exterminator
Bees are important part of the ecosystem. Eliminating them would come with the consequences. Avoid to take the role of an expert. It will be especially relevant if you invite exterminator team to your house. Depending on the conditions, the performed action might be different, too. Remember that bees have several life stages. As a result, the method to handle the adult and the baby carpenter bees will not be the same.
- Stuff The Hole
This is the polite way to end the bee’s life. Once you notice the hole and commuting bees, find out where the hive is. After that, wait until the adult leave the hive. Close the entrance with steel wool. Since the bees could only chew on wood, they won’t bother to dig the steel one. Another thing to do is painting the wool with wood tone.
Another extreme way on how to get rid of carpenter bees is to kill and let them dry inside the nest. Find a small bowl of Diatomaceous Earth. It is the fossil form of diatom algae. If you look at it under microscope, the edges are sharp and will pierce through bees’ body. Push this substance into the holes, and finish it with putty. Don’t forget to wear gloves to protect your hands, as Diatomaceous Earth is dangerous for human. Finally, thoroughly wash your hand and gloves after the stuffing.
- Cut The Life Cycle
Another answer on how to get rid of carpenter bees is to cut the life cycle. The holes on your furniture indicate that there is life inside. It could be the eggs or larvae. Either one, you need to stop them to reach adult stage. Tear your furniture to expose the tunnel. After that, sprinkle insecticide dust on the larvae or eggs. Why the dust one? It’s because it is not absorbed by the wood, unlike the liquid type. While doing so, make sure you wear mask. Pouring the dust through the entrance hole is also an option, but it is less effective. The adult could make its way to the tunnel by digging new holes. As the result, there will be more holes on your furniture.
- Set The Trap
Carpenter bees have important role in pollination process. Thus, killing them might be too much. You can pick this less inhumane method. Install a trap on the entrance hole. It could be made manually or purchased from online store. Then, you can send them back to the wild if they are alive or throw the deceased bodies away. However, carpenter bees might also dig another way out. As a result, there will be new fresh holes. If you don’t notice any manifestation, put the trap on the side exposed to sunny the most,
- Vacuum Them
Well, it may seem bizarre, but it is also the solution on how to get rid of carpenter bees. When buying the new product, you will notice that the head comes with various nozzle size. Install the smallest nozzle on your vacuum cleaner. Place it carefully on the suspected holes. While holding the vacuum head, turn the power on and set it to strong or high. Unless you do the sucking strongly, the carpenter bees wouldn’t be shown. In addition, the suitable time to do this is after the sun sets. The bees have come to its hive and rest.
- Pour Borac Acid
The substance is known as insects killer, for any stage: larvae, eggs, pupae and adults. Thus, you could try this method. Pay a visit to chemical store or the pesticide one. Borac Acid is relatively cheap and you only need small amount of it. Later on, you still need to mix it with water. Prepare the spray bottle, the one with alternate head. Install thin tube on the nozzle. While pushing the tube on the holes until it cannot go further, spray the borac acid. As the result, the solution will flow through the tunnel to all the hives. Repeat the process to the other holes.