- CARPENTER BEES NEST IN WOOD
- CARPENTER BEE FEMALES CAN STING
- CARPENTER BEE MALES CANNOT STING
- CARPENTER BEES LOOK LIKE BUMBLE BEES
- WHY ARE CARPENTER BEES A PROBLEM?
- HOW TO TREAT A CARPENTER BEE PROBLEM
- SO WHAT IS THE “BEST” CARPENTER BEE DUST?
- HOW TO APPLY DRIONE DUST
- HOW TO DUST CARPENTER BEE NESTS OUT OF REACH
- HOW TO STOP CARPENTER BEES FROM DRILLING NEW HOLES
- ORGANIC BEE REPELLENT AND PAINT ADDITIVE
- WOOD BEE KITS
- CONTACT US
- CARPENTER BEE PRODUCTS
Spring has sprung! Ornamental trees are blooming, flowers are growing and insects are awakening.
One such insect super active every spring and summer is the carpenter bee. Carpenter bees are prevalent throughout the United States and active in every state. Although there are different species, the most common is big and resembles a bumble bee. You may find it foraging around flowers, shrubs and under the eaves of buildings. This bee is unique from most because it will bore into wood to make its home. Carpenter bees are a nuisance and can cause damage to any wood on your property. They also bother homeowners by “attacking” them though they rarely sting. To keep your building free of carpenter bees, you must know their biology and habits.
CARPENTER BEES NEST IN WOOD
Carpenter bees bore holes into wood overhangs, fence posts, and trees used to lay eggs and essentially create nests. They will also crawl under the cracks of of homes siding and roofing to use these tight spaces for nests. When they bore in wood, the hole they drill is about 1/2″ wide and very round, much like one can make using a drill. This hole will go in straight an inch or two and then turn 90 degrees. The following video shows close up a freshly drilled hole with a female carpenter bee just inside.
Just off the main corridor, females will bore segments used as egg chambers. Eggs are laid at the end of these chambers and many times in “sub” chambers which can develop over time when nests have been recycled.
Females with then gather food and store it alongside the egg. These chambers are then capped and sealed tight. It is common for a nest to be two or more feet long with 10 or more sub chambers. Here is what a typical carpenter bee nest would look like from the outside.
And if you could peer inside the hole, the drilled out chamber would look like this.
CARPENTER BEE FEMALES CAN STING
Typically the female carpenter bee will do all the drilling and nest maintenance. At night she will stand guard at the nest entry hole. She will defend the nest aggressively and females are armed with a stinger.
Once her drilling is done, she will spend her days foraging for food. You may find her working Azaleas, Bradford Pears, Daffodils, Pansies and any plant that might provide pollen used to feed her brood.
CARPENTER BEE MALES CANNOT STING
Male bees will be hanging around the same plants females use hoping to find a receptive female who is interested in finding a mate. The male bees are naturally curious and will buzz around anything including people, pets and most anything they see moving. This buzzing scares people into thinking they are being “attacked”. Ironically the male bee does not have a stinger and is completely harmless. He has a distinctive yellow face, which may be seen while he is in flight; females have a solid black face and will not be interested in people or pets.
CARPENTER BEES LOOK LIKE BUMBLE BEES
Female bees are less likely to be seen and for the most part, spend their time working on nests and collecting food. For this reason they will routinely be active where bumble bees forage. And since the two look similar, its easy to confuse a carpenter bee with a bumble bee but there are two main differences.
First, carpenter bees are generally larger.
Second, carpenter bees have an abdomen which is shiny, metallic and black in color. Their abdomen has no body hair. Bumblebees have yellow and black body hair on all body parts. The following video shows a female carpenter bee closeup as she is chewing an entrance hole to a newly formed nest. Note her shiny metallic abdomen (bottom half of her body).
WHY ARE CARPENTER BEES A PROBLEM?
In addition to “attacking” people and pets, carpenter bees are a problem because they will readily return to the same wood or location where they were born. Old nests are used year after year and offspring will often times construct nests alongside old nests. For this reason a single nest one year will become two or three the following year. Problems rapidly escalate and soon you may have hundreds of holes.
CARPENTER BEE LARVAE ATTRACT PREDATORS
When you have numerous carpenter bee nests, you will have numerous larva. The larva of carpenter bees is large, noisy and “nutritious”. They make enough noise to attract a range of predators including woodpeckers. Buildings which have woodpeckers damaging exposed wood probably have some type of larval activity one of the most common larvae found to attract damaging birds is the young carpenter bee.
HOW TO TREAT A CARPENTER BEE PROBLEM
To get rid of carpenter bees, you must think long term. The nuisance male bees are easy to kill with BEE AND HORNET FREE.
To use this approach efficiently, you’ll need to get as close to them as possible and then spray directly at them making sure to keep the spray on them as long as it takes to knock the out of the air. This is will generally take a good 3-5 seconds.
Bee and Hornet Freeze is fast working and will control any large wasp, bee or other insect. It can reach up over 20 feet and works immediately providing fast relief when the local numbers hanging around are too high so use some to reduce foraging males seeking a mate.
Unfortunately, killing the male bee will do nothing to stop the local infestation or to break the cycle of bees coming back to your home to nest. So to accomplish this goal, you’ll need to treat the nest with a material which will last a long time. This ensures it will be around when larvae hatch which might not happen for 6-12 months (depending on where you reside). Remember, the eggs are buried deep in the nest and are well protected so liquids will not kill them. This means to get a long term “permanent” solution, you’ll need to use an agent that will last for many months after its been applied. For this reason, you’ll need to use a dust and not any kind of dust will do.
SO WHAT IS THE “BEST” CARPENTER BEE DUST?
To insure complete control, you’ll want to use DRIONE. This light “talc like” dust has a desiccant (dehydrating) action allowing it to work mechanically on target pests. So when applied into a live nest, it will quickly kill any adults inside. But because it can last for over a year, hatching larvae will fall victim to it as well.
To treat any nest, you’ll need to puff Drione into the hole giving the applicator a good 3-4 squirts. This is easy to do and will take 2-3 seconds.
The small 6 oz size is enough to treat 10-25 holes. The 1 lb jar is enough to treat 50-100 holes. Once dusted, leave the holes open for one day to ensure you get all the bees using the nest.
Dusting in the evening after dinner is a great time to do the work as it ensures the bees are in the nest and settled for the night. And once dusted, the following evening you should cork them with our 1/2″ CORKS. These are tapered and can be “pushed” into most any siding, fence, log, etc. You can hammer them in for a super tight fit and you can either paint or stain over them too.
*** DO NOT SEAL CARPENTER BEE HOLES WITH CAULKING ***
Plugging the holes with a cork is the only way to ensure the nest will be “open” for emerging larvae. This way once they exit their protected chambers, they’ll surely crawl through the Drione and kill themselves.
Using some kind of “silicone” is a huge mistake as is any other kind of wood filler so do not use either. The problem with filling the tunnels with a sealant is that emerging young will not be able to move over the Drione or even use the old tunnel at all. This will force them to drill new exit holes which could lead into the home or some other location that’s hard to see or treat. To avoid this complication, do not seal the holes but instead cap them with corks above and allow the tunnels to stay “open” inside the main chamber.
Lastly, the other benefit of using corks is that they will enable you to tell which holes have been treated and which (if you start finding new holes) were created after you last dusted.
HOW TO APPLY DRIONE DUST
Since carpenter bee holes can penetrate several feet, you will need to use a special applicator to “puff” the dust into their entrance and a good unit for the job is the CRUSADER HAND DUSTER. This tool has a small rubber cap you’ll remove and then fill about 3/4 of the way with dust before using it. All it will take is 2-3 puffs to get the job done so there is no need to “fill” the nest with Drione. Once dusted, expect to hear bees buzzing before falling out opf the nest to die.
The following video shows how to dust a hole and what to expect after its received a good dose.
HOW TO DUST CARPENTER BEE NESTS OUT OF REACH
If you have a lot of holes to treat, consider getting the DUST-R. This device holds almost a whole pound of Drione and because of it’s unique pump handle design, requires very little effort to treat a hole. For large jobs, it’s a real help. Nests can be treated in a couple of seconds.
If the holes are out of reach, use the LONG REACH DUST-R which is essentially the same type of duster as the Dust-R except it has a series of extensions that lengthen the unit to over 7 feet long. This means the average person standing on the ground can treat nests over 12 feet high without the use of a ladder. And because it has a large holding tank, you won’t have to refill it frequently.
If you have to treat 15 -40 feet up, consider getting a DUSTICK or the DUSTICK DELUXE KIT. These dusters use a series of extensions each 4 feet long which “slide” over one another. Each kit comes with 4 along with a DUST CANISTER TOP and a PUMP MECHANISM. The Dust Canister fits over the top pole and holds the Drione. The Pump slides into the bottom pole and is used like a bicycle pump to “blow” the dust out of the dust canister up top. This configuration will be over 20 feet long and can be used to access nests which are over 25 feet high.
If you need to reach nests up over 25 feet, add 4 FOOT EXTENSIONS as needed.
The following video shows the Dustick in use:
HOW TO STOP CARPENTER BEES FROM DRILLING NEW HOLES
Once a home gets just one carpenter bee nest, its more likely to get more in the future. The reason this happens is complex.
First, existing holes will release pheromones and other odors which tell nearby females your home is a good location on which to nest. These same smells are what lure male bees to the area. The good news is that a thorough dusting with Drione will dramatically remove these smells. But ensure it helps as much as possible, dust under all siding and other cracks and crevices and not just the holes you see. This effort will really help reduce the amount of new bee activity.
Second, bees which were born in nests on your home are pre-wired to use the same area they were born on to either use old nests or build new ones. So if one hole generate 5 females, you could end up with 5+ holes in the second year of the infestation.
Third, if you home gets a nest its because carpenter bees are naturally drawn to the home in the first place.
For all of these reasons, homes which get just one nest are likely to keep getting them even after you dust so to make sure this doesn’t happen, you’ll need to spray the exterior of your home 1-2 every spring with CYPERMETHRIN
This active is highly repellent to most any insect and is especially bothersome to carpenter bees.
Mix it at the rate of 1 ounce per gallon and apply the gallon over 500-800 sq/ft. This application rate works well when treating cedar homes and log cabins too. These structures are particularly subject to carpenter bees so you’ll need to treat all surfaces under the overhang of the roof. On traditional homes made brick, you can generally focus your attention on the soffits and trim boards. But on vinyl or aluminum siding, you may have to spray all surfaces if the bees have been foraging under the covering.
Spray the home using any standard PUMP SPRAYER. Our sprayer can reach up to 20 feet so for single level homes, it can usually handle the job well.
To reach higher heights, use our HOSE END SPRAYER. This sprayer uses the power of your garden hose and in most cases, will be able to reach up 30 feet or more.
If you don’t have high water pressure at your home or need a “portable” sprayer, the TROMBONE SPRAYER can help. This sprayer is manually powered by sliding the pump handle which “slides” like the musical instrument. It can reach up over 30 feet and is well suited for tree spraying, remote jobs afield where a hose or water is not available and basically any type of house spraying where height will be needed.
ORGANIC BEE REPELLENT AND PAINT ADDITIVE
If you prefer an “organic” solution which won’t injure any insect yet still keep them off treated surfaces, go with NBS REPELLENT.
Made from essential plant oils, this 100% natural product isn’t a pesticide and won’t kill any insect so you’ll still need to dust with Drione to control existing populations.
But like the Cypermethrin, bees don’t like NBS (neither do wasps and other invasive insects) and will avoid siding, fencing, railing, decks, logs, overhangs and soffits where NBS is applied.
NBS is more commonly used by adding it to house paint or stain. Use 1 pint per 5 gallons of paint or stain to get a 1-2 years of repellent protection from the finish.
NBS can also be mixed with nothing but water and sprayed using any of the sprayers listed above the same way you can apply Cypermethrin. When used in water, the residual will be a lot less compared to when it’s mixed with paint or stain so you’ll need to apply throughout the season by treating every 1-2 months.
In summary, when using NBS as a paint or stain additive, add 1 pint to 5 gallons of either. When using it in water as a general surface spray, add 3 oz per gallon of water and spray the mixture over 500-800 sq/ft of surface area. Retreat one a month to keep the treatment active; more frequently if bees return sooner.
WOOD BEE KITS
If treating for wood bees is new task for you and you’re not equipped with some of the basic tools you’ll need, we have put together several wood bee “kits” that can help.
These essentially combine several of the products listed above into one “sku”. These will help by combining the needed dust, equipment and liquid spray to treat anything from a small problem right on up to the major infestation. There are basically 4 kit types with Kit 1 good for 5-10 nests, Kit 2 good for up to 25 nests and Kit 3 good for 50-100 nests. See which kit is best for you by reviewing the included components.
Wood Bee Kit 1 is good for treating small problems and includes enough dust to treat up to 10 holes. It comes with a pump sprayer that can reach 10-15 feet, 1 oz of concentrate for 1 gallon of mixed solution, 4 oz of dust and 10 corks. It can be shipped to all states except CA, CT and NY.
We also have this kit with a slight different concentrate that can be shipped to any state so order this if the ship to address is in CA, CT or NY.
Kit 2 is a bit larger and well suited for anyone needing to treat 20-25 nests. It includes the same sprayer as kit 1 but more concentrate (4 oz), more dust (6 oz) and 25 corks. This kit can be shipped anywhere but CA, CT and NY.
We also have this kit with a slightly different concentrate we can ship to any state.
Kit 2 w/Duster is basically the same as the two kit 2’s above but these include a really nice hand duster. This device allows you to apply the dust using the included 12″ extension which is handy for nests just out of reach. This kit can be shipped to any state except CA, CT and NY.
This kit is also available with the concentrate we can ship to any state.
Kit 3 is large enough to control 50-100 nests and includes our very own Bugspray Sprayer which is more powerful compared to the unit included above. This kit also includes a full 1 lb jar of dust, a hand duster, 100 corks and 16 oz of concentrate enough to make up 16 gallons of mixed material. This kit can be shipped to all states except CT and NY.
We also offer this kit with the CB Duster with 12″ extension (not available to CT or NY).
For CT or NY, we offer these two kits with a similar concentrate we can ship to your state.
This one includes the “standard” duster and can be shipped to any state.
This one includes the CB Duster with 12″ extension and can be shipped to any state.
Lastly, our Kit 4 is basically the same as Kit 3 but instead of containing a pump sprayer or hose end sprayer, this kit includes our Trombone Sprayer. This sprayer is well suited for reaching heights of 30 feet or more. Keep in mind it is manually powered as the video here demonstrates:
If you need a portable sprayer that can reach up 30 feet or more, either of the following kits will be the one incuding the Trombone sprayer.
The first kit, kit 4A, can be shipped to every state except CT or NY.
The second version of this kit includes a concentrate we can ship to any state.
On a side note, we feel its important to point out the kits which include a concentrate we can ship to any state will work as well as any other kit that’s “restricted” to some states so you are not sacrificing performance nor will you get any less than stellar results no matter what kit you choose. Just be sure and get one large enough to handle your problem.
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
Email questions here: www.bugspray.com/about-us/contact-us
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CARPENTER BEE PRODUCTS
Here are direct links to all the products listed in our article:
Long Reach Dust R: http://www.bugspraycart.com/equipment/dusters/bg-long-reach-dust-r
Dustick Deluxe: http://www.bugspraycart.com/equipment/dusters/dustick-deluxe-kit
Insect Repellent: http://www.bugspraycart.com/exempt/additive/nbs-paint-additive-16-oz