I live in North Texas, and recently returned from a vacation in South Alabama. My brother-in-law gave me a Cedar stump with roots, that he had on a wood pile for about 40 years. The piece is beautiful, and I will be filling the holes produced by Carpenter Bees (Alabamians call them Driller Bees) with a special filler.
I am so excited about beginning this project; however, I have a problem….. the Carpenter Bees are still alive! We didn’t know this when we, fortunately, we bagged the piece of wood in huge garbage bags and put it into the trunk to bring home to Texas! I had orignally suggested putting it in bags in the back seat of the car!!!! Glad I listened to my husband when he said we should put it in the trunk.
After getting it home, we noticed a couple of the bees dead from the heat of the trunk, and shortly thereafter, the Carpenter Bees started pouring out (after spraying the entire stump with Wasp/Hornet Killer. That day, 9 came out. Days following, a few more came out (my first reaction was ‘oh my gosh, I hope none got away to breed with something here, and create a monster of some kind’).
So, now, I think they are all dead, but after reading your site, I am really afraid tht there may be eggs and in the Spring, I may have them here and that they will cross-breed with something here, and more so, will they attack me while crafting on this Cedar stump? Yikes!
What should I do?
Thanks, for any advice!
Old tree stumps can be used for so many projects in and around the home and I’m sure this one must be special. To have survived some 40 years outside is a testament to Cedar. Hopefully it’s got enough of it’s original character in tact and once the bees are gone, you’ll be able to use it either inside or outside the home without presenting undue risk or hazard to you or your family.
It sounds like you’ve already read our CARPENTER BEE CONTROL ARTICLE which explains the life cycle of this bee. As you’re learning, their egg chambers can hold several young bees which will can take up to a year to fully develop and leave. As I see it, there are surely several nests in this old stump but just how many left inside is anyone’s guess. If you wish to finish it off right away and not have to worry about emerging adults at some later date, there are two things you can do.
First, treat any holes you want to cover up with the DRIONE DUST we have listed in our article. The 1/2″ CORKS we show for sealing the holes can be pushed down just deep enough so a wood filler can be applied over the top of them allowing you to cosmetically hide any hole now visible. In theory, you should be able to treat and seal any visible hole you find. This would then allow you to stain, varnish or do whatever you had in mind with the stump and not have to worry about new exit holes being drilled from emerging young still not fully developed. As explained in several posts, you don’t want to stuff these holes with wood filler. This will essentially trap the emerging bees and they’ll be forced to drill new holes making a mess of any finishing work you do so be sure and leave the nests open filled with Drione so they’ll die as soon as they hatch. But the real key here is whether or not you can “see” all the nests. I’ve seen stumps where some holes are clearly visible but others are not that easy to find. In many cases the end result is the few that are missed will lead to more bee activity at some point in the future. Now if you were intending on using it outside, this might not be a problem. But if you want to keep the stump in the home, there is a risk of bees emerging in the future so unless you’re 100% sure you get all their nests, don’t keep it inside just yet.
Second, after treating any and all nests you can find with the Drione, storing it for at least one year would be the clincher for safe using. If you treated it good now and then stored it away in your garage sealed up tight in some plastic, any nests you missed would release their contents and the emerging bees would surely die. If the stump is tightly wrapped during this time, the emerging adults wouldn’t be able to reproduce or live long so there would be no chance of reinfestation. I’d say that by this time next July, the stump could safely be removed and used however you want.
Lastly, if you did finish it and planned on keeping it outside somewhere, be sure to use something like the CYPERMETHRIN or the INSECT REPELLENT sprayed on it to protect it from further nests being drilled. Alternatively, if you plan on keeping it inside the home for use, there shouldn’t be a problem with new bees finding it to nest.
Here are direct links to the information and products listed above:
Carpenter Bee Article: www.carpenterbees.com
Crusader Duster: www.bugspraycart.com/equipment/dusters/crusader
Give us a call if you still have questions.