Carpenter bees aren’t innocent like bumblebees. These bees are known for causing severe damage to wooden structures by creating hundreds of bore holes. Carpenter bee prevention is your best bet at protecting your home from these pests.
Carpenter bee control is essential, and signs of these insects are cause for immediate action. If you allow the bee problem to go on too long, your home may incur some drastic structural damage.
Although we love bees for being beneficial pollinators to our flower beds and garden, their nesting sites are a massive cause for concern. Learning how to control carpenter bees is the first step in taking back ownership of your home and preventing them from returning.
Scroll through a few of our get-rid-of-carpenter-bees strategies and put a few into play. You’ll immediately begin to notice fewer numbers of bees hanging around your home, and you’ll finally be able to relax again.
What to Know about Carpenter Bees
There are both small and large carpenter bees, but the most common are the large kind called Xylocopa, which grow to be about 25 millimeters in length. Each bee has a black body with metallic blue highlights.
Their bodies have bands of small, yellow hairs on their legs, abdomen, and thorax, but the male carpenter bees have even more of the hairs on their head.
Female carpenter bees are the only ones with a stinger, but it is improbable that they’d sting you unless provoked. Carpenter bees are on the lookout for weathered or exposed wood that they easily tunnel into.
The most common places to find their bore holes are on eaves, decks, siding, fascia boards, and porches. The female bees go into the carpenter bee holes and lay eggs near a food ball.
She then blocks the eggs off. The mother dies, and the larvae feed on the food ball until they grow into adults. The cycle then repeats itself.
Fixing a Carpenter Bee Problem
Carpenter bee prevention starts by informing yourself about what to look for. There are some obvious signs to keep an eye on when implementing carpenter bee control, so walk around your house and the perimeter of your property and wooden structures to ensure that you don’t have a carpenter bee infestation.
If you already have these pollinators, you may wonder about getting rid of carpenter bees without harming them. Read on for more information.
Signs You Need Carpenter Bee Control
You know you need help when you notice all the damage these types of bees make around your property. Start by searching for small holes around wooden rails and posts. Carpenter bees prefer softwoods.
These woods usually include oak, cypress, redwood, fir, and pine. Wood surfaces that are unfinished or lacking varnish are easier for them to bore into and are their first targets. If there is weathered paint, that is also a welcome mat for carpenter bees.
More signs of a carpenter bee problem are if there are small piles of sawdust on the ground. Bees aren’t like termites where they eat the wood. Instead, they drill into and leave small hills of evidence behind.
There are also small stains on the wood, just below the bore holes from their feces. Woodpeckers may also show up and poke even more holes through your wood to eat the larvae.
Keep an eye peeled for all these warning signs if you’re serious about saving your home from structural damage.
Implementing Carpenter Bee Prevention
The easiest way to fix a carpenter bee problem is to walk around your house in the early spring every year and caulk or put wood putty in all the small cracks and crevices in the side of your home and sheds.
Caulking is easy to do, but be sure that you fill every entrance hole and double-check windowsills and other openings they might be hiding in.
Making Homemade Bee Deterrent
One simple way to initiate pest control and deter carpenter bees is to make a homemade spray that acts as a deterrent to carpenter bees and other insects.
Most people combine boric acid and water and spray it around the bore holes, but another spray uses more natural ingredients and works just as well, like vinegar.
Will vinegar keep bees away? Vinegar is a great ingredient to repel bees and becomes even more potent when combined with another deterrent like citrus fruits.
To deter yellow jackets and carpenter bees, grab a large stockpot and fill it with roughly one gallon of water. Cut up a few fresh lemons or other citrus fruit types into slices and put the pieces in the water. Add about one cup of distilled vinegar to the pot.
Heat the solution over high heat and let it boil for 20 minutes. Turn the burner’s heat off and remove the pot from the burner so it cools to room temperature.
Fill a large garden sprayer with the mixture and spray all infested surfaces around your home. This DIY spray is a safe pest management solution that deters insects from returning to your house. You can also use it to kill bees in the ground if you find their nests.
Using Bee Traps
There are dozens of bee traps on the market because they are great at lowering the number of bees around your house. However, the downside to these traps is that they attract all bees, not just carpenter bees.
These traps kill honey bees and bumblebees, hornets nest in attic areas, and essential pollinators. If you have a high number of carpenter bees around your house, traps are sufficient for a short-term solution.
If the bee infestation has gotten out of hand, rather than using a DIY carpenter bee trap, it’s better to use other preventative options.
Pesticides and Insecticides
Aerosol sprays that work as pesticides and insecticides are some of the most efficient products for killing carpenter bees.
Insecticides focus on killing only insects, while pesticides kill bacteria, fungi, and other pests as well. Both are great options for your situation, but try to make sure that you buy one designed for carpenter bees if possible.
There are some bees that we welcome to our homes and others that we wish never existed. Any type of infestation will be a nuisance, but prevention is always the best action to take against them.
All it takes is walking around outside for a few minutes every few weeks to ease your anxiety about a carpenter bee problem. Try to stay on the lookout for signs of damage, so you get to take care of the issue before it gets out of control.
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