Buzz Off…

Jul 10, 2019 | Outdoor Living

Buzz Off: Protect Your Property from Carpenter Bees

It’s that time of year when our backyards are buzzing, but we’re not talking about barbecues and parties. Carpenter bees are hovering over many homeowners’ outdoor entertaining spaces this summer. And while they don’t pose a major threat to people, they are an aggressive species that can cause a nuisance at outdoor outings. What’s worse, these bees bore into wood, causing damage to your fence and deck, siding, and other structures. Don’t wait too long to do to something if you notice this common pest hanging around your home. Here’s how to start:

Rock Out Against Bees

Carpenter bees don’t like loud sounds, so set up speakers around their nests and crank up your favorite streaming station. The noise should get them to evacuate the holes long enough that you can treat them with insecticide sprays and powders. Or, if you prefer, more natural solutions like these.  Another option is to position speakers inside the home along walls with bee activity. The constant vibrations could be enough to force them to seek a quieter location.

Dust Pests Away

Once the excitement dies down and/or your sound experiment has opened a temporary window, take this opportunity to spray a residual insecticide.  Target the space in and around visible holes, as well as other problem areas such as eaves, siding, and railings. For serious infestations, a second spraying may be necessary. Next, use a hand duster to apply insecticide dust inside the holes where the nests and eggs are. It’s best to do this in late evening when carpenter bees are less active at that time.  Plus, you’re more likely to find females inside your wood siding, decking, or other structures.   

Plug It Up

We’ve only just begun to tackle your carpenter bee problem. Once the holes have been dusted, it’s time to plug them. Wait at least two weeks after dusting to stop up the holes so bees have plenty of time to pass through the dust. Patching too quickly causes the still-healthy bees to bore new holes. Cork, caulking, and plugs are all effective methods for filling in holes around your outdoor entertaining spaces.  But wood putty is preferred since it can be painted over for a seamless finish.   

Bee Natural

As pollinators, carpenter bees are beneficial to many plants. So, some homeowners prefer not to kill the bees, but just have them removed from their decking, siding, or outbuildings. Citrus spray is an effective bee repellent and it also works on many other insects. You can make your own by filling a shallow pot with water, then adding orange, grapefruit, lemon and lime rinds before bringing the entire solution to a boil. Once the mixture cools, fill a spray bottle and apply the sweet-smelling liquid around holes and other high-activity areas. Almond oil is another natural deterrent that will force carpenter bees out of their nests.  Not only will these options allow you to save your home (and deck) from the damaging digging of carpenter bees, but also, they’ll make your outdoor entertaining areas smell great.

Stain On, Stain Off

Bees are more likely to nest in untreated wood, so make a plan to regularly paint or stain your wood siding, fence and deck.  This will help prevent future problems, while also offering protection from UV rays and weather. Speaking of stains, don’t forget to remove the dark spots around carpenter bee holes. This is waste material made by female bees during the boring process. Over time, it turns black with mold, so you should clean it as soon as the holes have been plugged.

If you follow these tips, you should be able to protect your home from common pests, like carpenter bees. At Excel Fencing & Decking, we’ve been providing Maryland homeowners with quality wood siding, decks, and fences for more than 20 years. We’ve seen firsthand the damage these wood-boring insects can do.  If you need help repairing or replacing your decking and fencing after an infestation, give us a call!

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