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A carpenter bee sitting on a plant.

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – Carpenter bees are known as one of the most destructive spring pests there are. In their search for a place to lay their eggs, theses bees can cause severe damage to homes and buildings. Knowing how to control these pests can save you time and money.

Carpenter bee damage

Damage

Dr. Xing Ping Hu, an Alabama Extension entomologist, said damage from carpenter bees, can get extensive if they are not controlled.

“Carpenter bees bore half-inch wide burrows into dry wood, such as siding, fascia boards, porch window trim, porch ceilings and other wooden surfaces,” Hu said. “These burrows can extend up to 14 inches.”

Female carpenter bees chew round nest entrances and construct a channel or gallery to lay eggs. According to Hu, because gallery construction is a labor-intensive process, females often prefer to inhabit existing nests instead of excavating new ones.

“If you had carpenter bees last year, you will likely have them again this year,” Hu said. “Females prefer to reuse the old galleries for the next generation.”

Females have stingers, and are capable of stinging. However, they seldom do so unless something is agitating them or their burrow. Male carpenter bees tend to be territorial and can buzz around you if approached the area. These actions are just for show and intimidation because the males do not have stingers.

Control

To control carpenter bees, Hu recommended applying insecticide in the entrance of the nest.

“I recommend spraying or dusting an insecticide directly in the entrance holes of the nest” Hu said. “This application should be done late in the evening when the female bees are most likely to be inside the nest and less active to reduce the change of being stung.”

Hu also recommends after applying an insecticide, caulking and sealing the holes using Trebor plastic plugs, Super Plugs or wood patch material to stop other insects from invading the hole at a later time.

“Caulk and a plastic plug is a better choice than spray foam insulation because the bees cannot chew through hardened materials,” Hu said.

More Information

For more information on control carpenter bees or other spring time pests, visit Alabama Extension online, or contact your local Extension office.

 

Featured Image: Johnny N. Dell, Bugwood.org

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