carpenter beeCarpenter Bees can resemble Bumble Bees; large, with yellow and black patterns. They are about one inch in length and may possess some metallic reflections varying from dark blue, yellow, green or purple tints. Their abdomens are resplendent, which is different from Bumble Bees, which are more hairy. They are more commonly located in the spring hovering around roof sidings, and under decks. Sometimes carpenter bees are referred to “wood bees”, because they excavate into wood. Carpenter Bees do not devour the wood as food. Carpenter bees, as pollinators consume nectar and pollen from flowering plants. Carpenter bees bore holes into wood overhangs, fences, and trees.

They will creep in between gaps of siding and roof material. When they bore through wood, the hole they make is about 1/2″ in width. This hole will run straight about one inch or two and then become perpendicular. In the springtime, the males actively seek out the females, and be available where the females have found some unperfected wood. In nature, this is a rotten tree or branch, but advanced building techniques, (and contemporary paints and finishes) exacerbate the problem. Most of the aggregating bees you visualize in the early spring, , will be the male species. They wait for the females, (just like most males) they are very sectorial, and will attack you whenever you enter their area. Male bees are do not sting, and are merely observant. If you stay stationary for a few minutes they will forget about you and leave you alone – unless, of course, you are a female carpenter bee.

If you start after these bees early in the season, before they have completed their channels, you will be less worried with the eggs they leave behind. To help destroy the eggs, (no chemical will leach that far) you can make up a length of stiff wire and reach out each gallery. Some galleries will always be inaccessible and you probably won’t be able to assemble all the eggs anyway, but it may help.

wood eaten by carpenter beesRemember, since the bees don’t actually devour the wood, pressure treatment may not even stop these tough little critters. Another handy trick is to soak a cotton ball in acetone (nail polish remover) and plug it into the system of galleries, to help destroy the eggs.

Blocking the holes with a cork instead of using wood filler means the channels will be available for emerging bees when they hatch from their protective egg chambers. When they do finally hatch out (which will be either later this year or early next year), the bees will crawl over the Drione and die.
The problem with filling the tunnels with a sealant is that emerging young will not be able to move over the Drione. In fact they’ll be forced to drill new exit holes which will be chemical free. Many times these nests will lead into the home or some other location that’s hard to see or treat. To avoid this complication, do not seal the holes. Instead, cap them with corks and allow the tunnels to stay open and useable by bees that are not yet fully developed or active.

carpenter beeLastly, the other benefit of using corks is that they will enable you to tell which holes have been treated and which (if any) are new. Since the holes can travel through a long distance, you will require to use an applicator like a hand duster. This tool will assist you to apply the dust with enough force to access the nest where the eggs and larva will be present.

Using a special powder that is composed of fossilized diatom algae can help get rid of carpenter bees. It has minute sharp edges that normally cuts through the covering of insects. Sprinkle some of the solution into holes and nests after the bees leave them. After returning they are going to be covered with the powder and will soon die.