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Help! Carpenter Bees are back, not good for FLW houses

Posted: Fri May 26, 2006 3:59 pm
by Richard
Just went outside to the garage and 2 huge carpenter bees were looking for a choice spot to start their boring into the mahogany. Grabbed the nearest tennis racket and had at it with them. THIS IS A VERY BAD SIGN FOR THOSE IN ILLINOIS WITH WOODEN TRIM HOUSES. Last year was the first year in seven years that we saw these bad boys. For the uninitiated, they bore in a few inches up from an underhang and then go horizontal for about 8-12 inches and then lay there eggs. They leave a 3/8 - 1/2 inch hole. They are bigger then a bumble bee and are more black and shiny. They are a real pain. Luckily, they are not aggressive but will buzz you repeatedly.

The bug repairman claims that they have been very rare until last year. We saw them for the first time about half way through last summer. So, this is very early for their arrival. Bugman says it is just one of those things and it is their turn. Much to my dismay, he also claims that there is not much he can do in terms of a repellent.

As he has not had much experience with these critters, I was wondering if anyone out there has had any success repelling carpenter bees? I did a search last year and didn't find much except for some "super fund site" sounding chemicals.

These bees are evil.

Posted: Fri May 26, 2006 4:15 pm
by RJH

I know what you are going through. I have them on my house and they absolutely love the sweet Cypress fascia boards. This has been going on every spring since the house was built in 1952.

I talked to numerous pest control experts. Some said nothing can be done and others said they could spray a powder inside the hole to kill the larva. Upon further research, the powder cannot get through the wax barrier the bee put in place. Furthermore, if you seal the hole they just bore out a new hold to get out of the passage. Essentially, nothing at this time can be done.

I was up at the Cypress built Kentuck Knob last spring. They have a large budget and they too said the same thing. New finish (spar varnish) over the wood doesn

Carpenter Bees

Posted: Fri May 26, 2006 4:44 pm
by A Wright Homeowner
We bought our house (complete with hundreds of dormant carpenter bee larvae) in 2001.

We immediately hired a guy with a seasonal guarantee to spray for them each year. Two years ago he switched to something very effective: "Temo Ultra .06%" We have seen a significant decrease in the numbers over the last 5 years, but there are still a few diehards (about a dozen) that keep coming back.

I think the fellow we use is pretty reasonable - and I like the seasonal guarantee. If anyone needs his contact info, it is: John Sikora, Sikora Pest Services, 2728 S. Highland Ave. Bewyn,IL 60402 phone (708) 749-9817.

Posted: Fri May 26, 2006 5:01 pm
by Richard
Thanks for the response RJH. You were given the same info as I found. There has got to be some sort of repellent out there in the rain forrest... And, it is an easy application here as I have only spotted the invaders on the bottom edge of the siding.

Last year we detected about 5 holes. It is manageable but I wonder about this year with the early onset.

Replacing the siding is always an option but even 6 years ago we had to use Honduran (which is a reasonable match) because we were unable to get Phillipine in the 12-13 inch width of the board and batten siding. I am sure the supply is only getting worse. I have recently heard that the Honduran is becoming scarce as well and African, which is plentiful, is a bad match. How is the supply of Cypress? Plenty of aluminium out there though.

Posted: Fri May 26, 2006 5:06 pm
by Richard
Thanks Wright Homeowner. I will discuss Temo ultra .06% with the pest guy. Much appreciated.


Posted: Fri May 26, 2006 7:01 pm
by A Wright Homeowner
Richard - It's "Tempo Ultra" - I made a typo. Hope it helps.

Posted: Sat May 27, 2006 8:31 am
by Richard
Got it. Thanks again.

Posted: Sun May 28, 2006 12:18 pm
by Collinst3
I have been fighting them for three years now. Here is my approach:

During the winter, I cut 1/4 dowel rods, squirt some Sevin power into the holes and then tap in the dowel rod. (I learned this technique from Sara Smith's book on the Maxwell Smith House.) Then, when they appear in may, I am already armed with a 25 foot can of wasp spray and when I see one buzzing, I spray them in the air or when they land. I work out of my home, so I can watch for them. All this has kept the house to only about two this year--several were started before they were zapped by yours truly.

When we built the house, we put special insect repellent into the house stain-but it did nothing.

Posted: Sun May 28, 2006 12:45 pm
by Richard
Just got in form using the wasp spray. I nailed 3 of them. Since the outbreak last year, I am now always watching for the black furry image hovering along the edges of the house or attached to the board. Luckily you can really see them from quite a distance as the boards run up to 60 feet in several places. I have seen more in the last 3 days then all of last year. Off to get more wasp spray...

Posted: Mon May 29, 2006 6:08 am
by Collinst3
Its somehow satisfying isn't it--zapping them with the wasp spray. Its almost become a sport--I stalk around the house, listening for buzzing or the slight crunching sound and then I sneak up and attack--my wife will begin to worry if I start wearing camo clothing with specially designed spray can holsters and paint my face black . . .

Posted: Mon May 29, 2006 9:14 am
by Richard
Just finished with the "Martial Arts Weekly" web site. Ordered a ninja outfit. Thankfully, they had the larger sizes for us westerners.

By the way, last year we sprayed the holes with insecticide before I plugged them and we have yet to see the bees re emerge from the boards. Killed two more before we went out last night. I hope there is an early end to their nesting season. Drought last year - lots of rain this year. Also, the wasp spray barely reaches the second story here; it is a bit of a problem as they have an easier time escaping the stream. They are landing just inches form the light screens up there. I may have to get one of those pressurized metal cans that the pest people use. They have a pretty good range.

Posted: Mon May 29, 2006 9:12 pm
by Mobius
Man, I am SOOOOO happy I live in New Zealand, where the worst attack by insects might be mud-building wasps, and all they do is build mud-based nests ON a building, rather than eat into it.

I have seen some very old houses with Borer beetle, but the modern tanalising treatment for building timber apparently tastes horrible to Borer beetles.

Good luck to you Bee-bothered home owners!