Carpenter bee concerns have been reported all around The Upstate on social media.
It’s definitely that time of year, says Ben Powell of Clemson University’s Apiculture and Pollinator Program. In the spring, carpenter bees emerge to lay eggs and pollinate flowers.
They typically lay eggs in the wood of porches, decks, and barns, among other places.
Carpenter bees can be distinguished from other bees by glancing at their bottoms. Their backside is smooth, shiny, black, and hairless, unlike bumblebees, which are hairy. And, unlike honeybees, they don’t manufacture sweet goodies or travel in groups. They’re isolated, according to Powell.
“They live on their own. And they dig a tunnel in the woods to store food and rear their young,” Powell explained.
Their jaws, according to Powell, can dig tunnels in wood to lay eggs. Because of this, carpenter bees can return to the same location year after year. Plus, if a woodpecker gets involved, things may get a lot worse.
Melody Boyer was having this trouble in Starr. Carpenter bees have made her barn their home.
“It puts your wood constructions at risk.” “I also have a lot of wood constructions,” Boyer added.
Boyer sought advice on how to get rid of them on Facebook. She tried caulking the holes, but it didn’t seem to help. She couldn’t even find a ladder tall enough to reach the holes. The mason jar traps were also tested by Boyer, but there were too many bees to make a difference. She had no choice but to contact a professional.
“It had been going on for a few years, but it was growing worse every year,” Boyer says, “and the problem was becoming worse.” And it did a lot of harm to the timber.”
We tested some of Powell’s Facebook treatments to disprove or explain:
• Pouring motor oil into the hole is ineffective since the holes are just about an inch long and spin sideways. As a result, it won’t reach the larvae and may cause harm to the wood.
Carpenter bees can chew through caulk, so be careful.
• WD-40 in the hole is not suggested since it can discolor and damage the wood.
• Peppermint or peppermint essential oils – Essential oils are a natural insecticide, but they aren’t the safest option. There is no scientific evidence that it helps, although it can keep bees away. Bees, on the other hand, eat peppermint.
• Stuffing cotton into the hole – Carpenter bees may be able to dig through it, but they may become entangled. Either scenario is possible.
• Delta Dust (Deltametherin) – A bee-killing insecticide.
• Make a bogus hornets’ nest out of a brown paper bag, newspaper, or grocery bags – There’s no evidence that this genuinely works to keep bees away.
Citrus spray may irritate bees, but it will soon be absorbed by the wood.
• Vinegar spray – Bees may react negatively, but the vinegar will ultimately absorb into the wood.
• Hairspray – Although it may irritate bees and is sticky, it will gradually absorb into the wood.
• A Mason jar trap with a hole in it can catch a limited number of bees. The bees will be trapped because they will enter the hole and be unable to exit.
• Using a tennis racket or other object to swat at the bees – This may help with the males, who guard burrows. Females, on the other hand, dig the tunnels. As a result, the problem’s path is unlikely to be controlled.
• Painting your wood – To act as a deterrent, you must choose an oil-based paint. Regular paint isn’t going to cut it.
The ideal practice, according to Powell, is to use an insecticide. To kill the larvae and stop the carpenter bees from returning, put a brush or spray in the hole. Then use something like carpenter’s putty to fill the hole.
“You can actually spray a correctly labeled pesticide on the surface of the wood—pyrethroids like permethrin, bifenthrin, and cypermethrin are common examples. “You’ll see that they all have the same name,” Powell explained, “and that will stop them from digging new holes, but if there are already holes there, simply spraying the surface will not control the bees.”
Boyer has learnt a valuable lesson and is grateful she made the correct decision.
“It worked beautifully,” Boyer remarked, “but I’ll still have eggs in the wood for next season.”
Female bees, albeit uncommon, can sting, but male bees cannot. Do not attempt to capture or imprison them yourself to reduce your chances.
Please be patient, urges Powell, because these bees are pollinators. They assist in the production of fruits and vegetables. Leave them “bee” if they aren’t wrecking your home.