bee

Keeping Your Home Carpenter Bee Free

Carpenter Bees rarely cause structural damage to homes unless they have been drilling and nesting in the same wood for years at a time. More likely damage will happen when woodpeckers hear the Carpenter Bee larvae in the nests and then start to damage the wood in order to get at a tasty meal.

Treatments

Treatment as related to Carpenter Bees usually means taking control of the nesting areas by eliminating the bees or using products to repel the bees.

When to treat: (1) It is a good idea to treat in the spring, when bees are first observed, (2) again in mid-summer to kill any bees which may not have acquired a sufficient treatment when they emerged, and a third time in early fall to contact any over-wintering bees occupying the tunnels.

Carpenter Bees like many other bees are very effective pollinators. Currently, there is a global shortage of pollinators which is threatening  farmers’ livelihoods and our food supply.  Due to this concern, please consider pesticide-free alternatives when treating Carpenter Bee nests.

Pesticide Free Treatment and Prevention

Carpenter Bees emerge in early Spring from their nests and start to collect pollen.  On sunny, warm days, Carpenter Bees, both male and female, will leave the nesting holes. The females who are the active drillers will collect pollen to bring back to the nest, which will eventually feed the young.  At this time, you can safely use a coat hanger to eliminate any larvae in the nesting site by inserting the wire into the nest and breaking up any larval activity. Coat the holes in almond oil or NBS 30. Once that is done plug the holes with a small ball of aluminum foil and caulk the holes with wood caulk or fill in the hole with a wooden dowel.

To further prevent Carpenter Bee nesting, spray NBS 30 Insect Repellent, a mix of plant oils that makes wood smell unpleasant to Carpenter Bees as well as drilling wasps and ladybugs. Apply the repellent after plugging the holes in early Spring. NBS 30 can be mixed with water for a temporary (30-60 day) topical solution or mixed with wood finish (always in the last coat applied) for a longer term repellent solution.

To provide alternative nesting options for Carpenter Bees, drill 1/2″ holes in wood blocks and hang them in sheltered areas around your house and deck. The bees will often decide to nest in these blocks, rather than trying to re-drill nests in the fascia and soffits of your home.

Pesticide Treatment and Prevention

Prevention may be accomplished by an insecticide additive like Bug Juice added to standard paint or log home finishes on new structures or when maintenance coats are needed and will eliminate bees.

Treatment as it relates to elimination of Carpenter bees which have already drilled into a structure, involves steps recommended by entomologists which are effective in reducing future nesting activities.

In early Spring, obtain a pesticide, product containing carbaryl (Sevin), cyfluthrin or resmethrin. Insert this in the nesting hole. Wait for the bees to exit the hole, then plug the hole with aluminum foil and either caulk the hole with wood caulk, or use a wooden dowel. Avoid inhaling the insecticide or contaminating your clothing with the spray. Always stand upwind from the surface you’re treating.  Treated tunnels should be sealed with a small ball of aluminum foil and caulked with log caulk, wood putty or filled with a wooden dowel after 24-36 hours.

In conclusion, not everyone has the same level of issues with Carpenter Bees. Unfortunately, when even one hole is evident it should be treated with the full extent of treatment recommended for prevention. Treating one time and forgetting about it does not work! Monitor the situation from year to year in order to stay on top of the issue. An ounce of prevention………


 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Keeping Your Home Carpenter Bee Free”

    1. Hi Dick,

      Thank you for your feedback. WD-40 is a great non-pesticide option for making the Carpenter Bee hole an unfavorable environment for nesting. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

  1. Hello-I am hoping to get ahead of the carpenter bee activity this spring. I am planning to apply NBS-30 to the fascia boards but the surface was stained last year. Can you tell me what clear oil-based product I can add the NBS-30 to? And what type of sprayer would be best? I have found adding it to water is not effective. Thank you so much for your help-Beth

    1. Hi Beth,

      Thank you for your question! Since you applied stain just last year, and it can be tricky finding stains that are compatible, we would recommend mixing the NBS 30 with water. The manufacturer recommends a dilution of 1 bottle of NBS per 5 gallons of water and then applying with a pump up sprayer on a warm, dry day. This application will generally last 30-60 days, enough to get a ahead of Carpenter Bee activity.

      Happy Spring!

      Best,

      Anita Frykberg
      Customer Service
      LogFinish.com

  2. Thank you, Anita-I will try that again-but was hoping to have better luck with an oil-based application…the carpenter bees seem to have upped their game in the last year or two! Thanks again-Beth

  3. Get some brown paper bags and stuff them with newspaper. Hang them from the eves of your house. The bees think they are wasp nests and will leave the area rather than taking up residence. It works and nobody gets hurt.

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