Carpenter bees don’t usually cause serious damage to homes unless there are a large number of them drilling tunnels over a period of several years. Favorite nesting spots include the eaves, window trim, siding, wooden shakes and decks. Nests are reused every year, and each generation adds to the length, resulting in nest tunnels that may be as long as 10 feet. When nests reach this size, considerable damage can be done. Consider a natural treatment to control such an infestation.
Paint Wood Surfaces
One way to get rid of carpenter bees without resorting to dangerous chemicals is to remove and replace the affected wood with a less attractive surface. Carpenter bees are attracted to unfinished wood or to stained, weathered wood. Nail holes or cracks in the wood are especially inviting. Paint wood surfaces to help deter bees from making new nests. Be sure to fill nail holes and cracks with caulk or putty before painting. Use pressure-treated wood and wood preserved with metallic salts. Vinyl or aluminum siding instead of wood will ensure that bees don’t nest at your house.
Diatomaceous earth is a powder made from fossilized diatom algae. The powder has microscopic sharp edges that cut through a bee’s covering. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth into nests after the bees have come out for the day. When they return, they will be covered in the powder and will die.
Another option is to use a “green” insect repellent, such as Outlast NBS 30 Additive. This repellent is derived entirely from plant oils and has a low toxicity. NBS 30 does not kill carpenter bees, but it does repel them and keeps them from burrowing into wood. The additive is mixed into paint or stain and works for two years or more.
Insert a flexible wire into the nest hole after dusk to kill the bees. The wire needs to be flexible enough to make a right angle turn because the bees don’t bore straight through when building nests. The wire also needs to be strong enough to break the wooden cells.
- Photo Credit carpenter bee image by Richard Seeney from Fotolia.com
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