Carpenter bees prefer to attack wood which is bare, weathered and unpainted. Therefore, the best way to deter the bees is to paint all exposed wood surfaces, especially those which have a history of being attacked. Wood stains and preservatives are less reliable than painting, but will provide some degree of repellancy versus bare wood. To further discourage nesting, garages and outbuildings should be kept closed when carpenter bees are actively searching for nesting sites. |
These bees nest inside of the wood. There is one generation of these insects annually with most of the activity in the Spring. These bees are known to return to previously used galleries from year to year, although other bees can make new galleries as well. Although carpenter bees are less aggressive than wasps, female bees provisioning their nests will sting. Treatment is best performed at night when the bees are less active, or while wearing protective clothing.
The most effective type of pesticide application for existing, active Carpenter Bee galleries is dust. Unlike liquid products which are absorbed into the porous wood, surface, dust remains on top of the wood and available for the insect to contact. Another big advantage of dust is that the application is targeted for this pest within the gallery with little impact on non target organisms such as people, pets and other animals and insects.
For overall control around a structure, commercial applicators are best equipped to apply insecticides as liquids in a wettable powder formulation (a powder that suspends in water) that will repel and kill carpenter bees.Targeting those areas where insects return year after year may be a good control strategy.
Finally, exclusion can be used after there is clear evidence that galleries are not longer in use. Because of the nature of carpenter bees, it is best to seal inactive openings toward the later part of the spring season sometime in late May or early June because carpenter bees may deposit eggs within the galleries as summer approaches. Sealing the holes late may result in new openings appearing as the young hatch out later in the year or next year after over-wintering within the wood.
Exclusion includes sealing the holes with wood putty or caulking and then painting or applying a polyurethane coating to the wood. Note that the coatings are merely deterrents so that one cannot be certain that bees will not attack the wood again. Where possible, wrapping wood with aluminum flashing is the best deterrent of all. Plastic siding may be used to cover wood siding to prevent infestation by carpenter bees. Wood-like plastic boards may also be used in place of structural wood such as fascia to discourage damage from carpenter bees.
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