The Carpenter bee – Xylocopa violecea are natural professional woodcutters that are prevalent throughout North America in the United States. Although there are many species of the Carpenter bee, one of the most common is big and resembles the familiar bumblebee. In order to keep Carpenter Bees away, it’s important to understand how they operate. The carpenter bee is a pollinator, that forages around flowers and shrubs, under the eaves of buildings, and makes a loud buzzing sound. This bee though it looks like a bumble bee, can be quite destructive because it will bore into wood to make a nice home for itself, causing damage to the wood on your property. They appear aggressive, harassing or attacking people, however, they rarely sting unless they are female.
Carpenter bees burrow in your property most often through cracks in your walls, however, they do bore holes into any suitable wood for nesting by drilling holes which are approximately on average ½” wide. They will drill chambers from there which become their nest. The female bee will sting when defending her nest. Carpenter bees can be difficult to eradicate because the bees will often return to the wood location where they were born.
Focusing on prevention is the first step in eradicating these pesky bees. Carpenter bees generally prefer untreated or soft wood, so treating the wood outside your house may be a good idea. Painting the wood is also a good way to prevent carpenter bees as they like woods that are unfinished or weathered. Painting those untreated surfaces and filling in any areas that have holes or cracks with caulk is a good step to deter carpenter bees, and will keep them from making their homes in the wood.
Next, you may want to consider treating the wood with sprays that are designed to repel the carpenter bees. There are many different brands and types of sprays which effectively repel carpenter bees. Outlast NBS 30 Additive is an effective low toxic option which is formulated to help deter Carpenter bees from borrowing into your wood. It is also understood that Carpenter bees don’t like citronella. You can also make your own repellent with citronella oil, and lavender oil, jojoba oil, and tea tree oils. Spraying that mixture on the areas of the house or garden that needs repelling.
If you are wondering what sprays kill carpenter bees, there are plenty of options, and many wasp or hornet sprays will work against Carpenter bees also. You can spray these directly on the bee. Or these sprays can be sprayed into the holes where their nests are. You will want to seal the holes immediately with caulk if you are spraying the nests, and nighttime would likely be the best time for this option. W.J. Arnold. © 2016
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