Carpenter bees treatment is a sought after topic for many homeowners all across USA in the springtime because this is the time when carpenter bees start emerging and looking for their former locations; but if their old wood is occupied, they look for new wooden posts to drill and position the current season’s nests. When the weather is just starting to warm up, you will see the female carpenter bees rummaging for food among various flowering plants which commonly include Daffodils, Azaleas, Pansies, as well as Bradford Pears that they later store in their nests for their larva.
In deciding which carpenter bees treatment you are most likely to use, you should first determine if the bees found in your backyard or in your garden are carpenter bees or bumble bees; to do so, a good comparison should be done. These two species resemble each other but if you look at each type closely, you will be able to determine the difference in their body structure; carpenter bees have a shiny black and bare abdomen while the abdomen of bumble bees have yellow markings and are covered with hair.
Furthermore, these two bees also vary in their nesting habits because bumble bees tend to choose areas near or on the ground while carpenter bees bore in wooden areas to form tunnels. In addition, carpenter bees prefer to nest in wood which is unpainted, bare, and weathered which can be any part of your house.
Before proceeding to the common carpenter bees treatment, you should start with the preventive measures first. Since carpenter bees prefer wood which is unpainted, weathered, and bare, you can use paint as your first line of defense; paint all exposed areas of your house especially those made up of wood. Although in some cases you can opt for the aid of some wood preservatives and stains formulated as carpenter bee repellant, paint is actually considered to be more reliable.
But if the aforementioned technique is too late for you to use, you can already opt for chemical carpenter bees treatment. The common choices are synthetic pyrethroid, carbaryl, or chlorpyrifos which are applied via spraying techniques; these chemicals can also be used for preventive purposes, but application should be done every two weeks because that is the duration covered by the effectiveness of the formulations. Insecticidal dusts as well as aerosol sprays can also be used. But before settling for the chemical options, take note that you should be sure that it is allowed in your country or in the state where you are residing.
Carpenter bees treatment is not difficult. It is hard to reach them as they nest in high up and out of reach places. The female bee uses her own entrance to reach her own gallery. Some female bees may use the same entrance hole. To make the treatment effective, each hole should be identified, and treated, preferably with the bee inside. After a few days, you will notice if your treatment has been successful and the hole is inactive. You can caulk the hole, and paint the area. You may have to repeat treatment over a few years to find all the active areas. Bees may look for new areas as well. Carpenter bees seem to prefer southern or easterly aspects, but will take advantage of any unfinished, wood surfaces.
Carpenter bees do not cause serious structural damage to wood, unless large numbers of bees have been tunneling over the years. Their fecal matter beneath the wood may stain the wood surfaces. Woodpeckers are attracted to the damaged infested wood in search of larvae. Thin wood such as siding may be severely damaged. Wood decaying fungi, and other insects such as carpenter ants may attack the wood surfaces with holes.
When treating carpenter bee tunnels, insecticides should be injected directly into the galleries. Care should be taken as these chemicals can be harmful.
It is nearly impossible to stop carpenter bee damage. Firstly, protective insecticide sprays are effective only for a short period even if they are repeated every few weeks. Carpenter bees are active over several weeks, and as they do not eat the wood, they are rarely exposed to high doses of pesticides. Secondly, any exposed wood in the house is a choice for the carpenter bees, and it is not possible or practical to treat all areas with pesticides.
Insecticidal spray or dust to the entrance of the tunnel can reduce future nesting activity. Products containing carbaryl (Sevin), cyfluthrin or resmethrin are some of the chemicals that are suitable. Liquid formulations containing permethrin and cyfluthrin and dusts containing boric acid are used against carpenter bees. It does not lose its effectiveness, unless it is wet. Desiccant dusts are low in toxicity to humans and animals. However, these chemicals should not be inhaled as they may cause serious lung irritation. Protective clothing should be worn including masks to prevent inhaling the chemicals. Always stand upwind when using chemicals to avoid contact.
Treated tunnels, after twenty four to thirty six hours, should be sealed off with a small ball of aluminum ball or aluminum foil and caulked. Insecticide treatment kills both adult bees as well as any offspring who would attempt to emerge later. If untreated tunnels were merely plugged with wire mesh or similar material, it will trap and kill some bees, but some bees will still escape tunneling from elsewhere.
If you get to the bees before they have completed their galleries, you need not worry about the eggs that would hatch later. Chemicals cannot reach the eggs and a practical way to destroy the eggs is to use a stiff wire. All eggs cannot be destroyed even by this method.