Sunday, March 27, 2011
Carpenter bees are solitary nesters, although there may be several females nesting in the same basic area. The female chews holes into unpainted wood, sometimes into dead trees, and establishes nest compartments off of the main tunnel. She then lays an egg at the end of each nest compartment and packs nectar and pollen in over the top of the egg. After the egg hatches, the larvae eats the food then pupates, and late this summer they’ll hatch out. Now, the male carpenter bees hang around where there are females and act threatening and fly around you and buzz bomb you. Don’t worry! Males do not have stingers. Get a tennis racket and start swinging. Or buy one of the aerosol wasp and hornet killers and see how good you are at spraying them on the fly! The females are busy gather food and won’t bother you UNLESS you grab them or pick them up. The best solution is to paint the wood. If you cannot do that, then spray the entrance tunnels with sevin or permethrin. A dust works better than a liquid, but leave the tunnel unplugged. This fall you can fill the holes with wood putty and then paint over it or apply a wood stain so that the area won’t be so attractive next year.