Greenhorn
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Carpenter bees; how do I get rid of them?

The carpenter bees are doing a number to my deck and wheelchair ramp. This has been going on for a few years. I have tried spraying the wood and the burrows with all kinds of nasty chemicals like for carpenter ants with very little effect. I've tried treating the wood and the burrows with a mixture of neem oil, insecticidal soap, and pepper wax; with virtually no effect.

So far the most effective tactic I've used is to directly spray roach killer insecticide on the adults or otherwise physically kill the adults; then spray the burrows with a residual roach spray pesticide, make a paper capsule/tube of diatomaceous earth; ram rod the capsule of diatomaceous earth into the burrows as if I'm loading flintlock guns, then using a caulking gun and liquid nail to seal the holes.

That last method was a considerable amount of work for me, though it is fairly effective; I would hope that there would be an easier and more effective way of deterring or killing these guys.

It's treated wood that supposed to deter insects; but it's not the old fashion arsenic type of treatment that seemed to be fairly effective at deterring carpenter bees, the new more politically correct treatment does not seem to deter carpenter bees.

I first tried to use pepper wax to deter and/or kill wasps and the carpenter bees; but instead of being deterred or killed they seemed more happy like they enjoyed the extra spice.

I was hoping that I could find something that's more effective then carpenter ant and roach insecticide. They don't seem to be that effective on the carpenter bees, and I don't want to get any overspray on my garden or on other pollinators.

I wish there was some sort of hormone that I could spray on some pieces of wood so that the carpenter bees would go to those sacrificial pieces of wood. If the carpenter bees wouldn't do structural damage to my deck and wheelchair ramp I wouldn't mind having them.

If anyone is thinking about building a deck or a wheelchair ramp you might want to investigate and consider Fiberglas artificial wood for decking material; as you ought to be able to avoid damage from carpenter bees.

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applestar
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Carpenter bees can be very annoying.
Here are a couple of posts/threads in which I detailed ways that may help.
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=124142&highlight=carpenter+bee#124142

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=130387#130387

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=130739#130739

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rainbowgardener
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I went looking for carpenter bee control methods and found almost nothing except poison sprays and then plug up the holes already drilled.

But I did come across one person recommending give them an alternative home/ place to drill:

I can tell you from experience that the carpenter bees at my home simply love soft redwood. Perhaps you can attach some decorative pieces of redwood or cedar at different parts of the house that the bees might find. They seem to really prefer shaded areas at my house.

You might try building a small structure like a Purple Martin bird house. Make it out of redwood, cedar, cypress, fir or pine. Create some nice roof overhangs for the bees to drill into. I know this sounds crazy, but the structure might just become a neat neighborhood conversation piece.
https://www.askthebuilder.com/B314_Carpenter_Bee_Control.shtml
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hendi_alex
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Greenhorn, I've been fighting the battle on a friend's house for two seasons now. The bees are down about 95%, but are still persistent. I think that your method is about as good as any. I combine an instant contact killer, a residual power in the holes, plugging of holes, and of course the most environmentally friendly, smashing them with a badminton racket (which is highly effective and better than a video game.) All of that is followed up with regular inspection, respray and replugging of tunnels that get re-opened. The battle is continuous during April through June when the bees are most active.

You would not believe how badly his cypress home has been damaged. The older tunnels are now chipping off at the surface and it is so bad that the entire exterior will eventually need to be replaced. Much of it already needs replacing, but so far I've just been filling with wood filler and re-staining. Had to replace the entire facia board last year and that alone was around $3000.
Last edited by hendi_alex on Sun May 09, 2010 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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rainbowgardener
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Yeah, cypress is one of those woods they really like.... The neighbor is probably doing a service for all the rest of you, attracting every carpenter bee in the area to his house...

If he does replace the exterior siding, go for vinyl siding next time. Bees won't touch it.

In the meantime, here's some more suggestions:

There are also several stain additives that will help with Carpenter Bees. The best of the bunch seems to be NBS 30. This is an insect repellent stain and paint additive. Add just a pint to a 5 gallon pail of log home finish and apply then apply the finish to your home. NBS 30 is a citronella based product and the citronella odor will run off carpenter bees as well as lady bugs. Our field results indicate that NBS 30 should be added to log home finish each time that your home is stained but only in the final coat of stain. The citronella odor will be noticeable to you for several weeks. A single application will normally run off the Carpenter Bees for several years. NBS 30 works best in oil based products such as Woodguard and Sikkens Cetol Log and Siding
https://www.logfinish.com/store/carpenterbeesolutions.php (do look at the article, it has other info as well)

The bees won't bother painted wood. Stain doesn't work as well, but fresh stain keeps them away for awhile and adding a repellant like above to the stain would help more.

Here's an insecticide that can be added to paint or stain. I have no idea what is in it or how environmentally friendly it is or isn't:

https://www.weatherallonline.com/1053BugJuice.html
Last edited by rainbowgardener on Wed May 19, 2010 5:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Greenhorn
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Thanks for all the replies.

With the carpenter bees (at least the ones I have) seem to be unaffected by typical poison treatments unless there is direct and immediate contact. Flooding the holes with insecticide seems to have little effect. So far organic treatments have been totally ineffective or contradictory.

As far as using a piece of Cedar for sacrificial habitat; I had always thought that Cedar was an insect repellent generally.

I have a piece of red wood that perhaps I could try. It's quite old and has probably lost its flavor and the carpenter bees don't seem to be attracted to it; but the carpenter bees seemed to like wood unless it's 5-20 feet off the ground; horizontal, and on its long side. So perhaps I can make a sacrificial home for the carpenter bees so they stay away from my deck and wheelchair ramp.

Thanks for the tip on Cyprus but I don't know anywhere in my area where I can get Cyprus though I really haven't looked.

BTW I always thought bug juice was the dye used in red foods/ fruit drinks. ;)

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rainbowgardener
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I liked the idea of the citronella additive for paint/stain. We always have carpenter bees attacking our deck. This is a year we need to refinish the deck (again) anyway, so I am going to try it. Let you know later in the season how it works!
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nedwina
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Waging war over a period of time definitely reduces the following year's attack, so don't lose hope. I'm on year 3 with my war, and the numbers are definitely less this season.

The ones patroling & dive bombing are the males, they have a light splotch on their faces, and they don't have stingers, oddly enough. Killing them with nets & whatnot will help, but you need to get to the females. They drill the hole, lay the egg and then come back frequently to feed the larva. Kill them and the larva doesn't have a meal ticket.

If you can reach the holes, spraying WD40 (no, I'm not kidding) into them with the red straw will make the female bee back out and fall to the ground, unable to fly. Stomp accordingly. Do this all season long, whenever you hear munching or see the sawdust. It's surprisingly effective.

Old school was to soak cotton with kerosene and use to plug the holes.

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can't you just put a big cover on the deck chair? Make it opaque. Better yet, make it transparent! Sorta like the glass bowl on the yellow jacket nest technique. If you put a glass bowl they starve, but an opaque bowl will just make them dig another tunnel.

Maybe a clear plastic tarp, put the deck chair on there, and wrap it up and tie it at the top.

Basically a siege.


Mint oil should kill the adults.
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darrin.ryan
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carpenter bees and controls

I am in the same boat as everybody else. Looking for a safe economical way to rid these pests. I have been informed to use Boric acid (powder spray) that comes in an aerosol can. It is very effective on existing bees and larvea. Plug the holes with a treated cork. These bees don't just come back for the wood on the structure, they return instinctively to the brooding site. Like fleas you must try and break the cycle.

imafan26
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Re: Carpenter bees; how do I get rid of them?

Carpenter bees are important pollinators of crops. Carpenter bees prefer to nest in soft unpainted wood. I suggest, filling the holes with caulk and painting the wood with a couple of layers of exterior paint.

Give the bees an alternative to the wood in the garden. If you have a wild area nearby or some trees, carpenter bees like to nest in wood tunnels. get hollow bamboo pieces with about a 1 inch diameter. bundle them together and hang them in trees or put the bundle in a sheltered area. Plant nectar plants near the trees so they will forage close to home.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

LILDONSLK
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Re: Carpenter bees; how do I get rid of them?

imafan26 wrote:Carpenter bees are important pollinators of crops. Carpenter bees prefer to nest in soft unpainted wood. I suggest, filling the holes with caulk and painting the wood with a couple of layers of exterior paint.

Give the bees an alternative to the wood in the garden. If you have a wild area nearby or some trees, carpenter bees like to nest in wood tunnels. get hollow bamboo pieces with about a 1 inch diameter. bundle them together and hang them in trees or put the bundle in a sheltered area. Plant nectar plants near the trees so they will forage close to home.


I put a used cigarette butt in the whole they dug in the window sill of my garage window. It really seems funny I have a solid river rock garage but they love the window wood trim only of this building!?
:D

GeeGee Cana
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Re: Carpenter bees; how do I get rid of them?

I have been battling with Carpenter bees for years, trying everything from wasp sprays to fresh paint, finally replacing the support columns on my porch. Today I am excited to share what I believe is a good remedy...Kilz. Yep, Kilz spray from the hardward store! I had bought all the standard insecticides along with the Kilz. I must say, I picked the can up, and put it down several times before deciding that it was worth a try. Finally, one Saturday morning, before the bees arrived, I sprayed some insecticide in the holes, plugged them with wood filler, and sprayed the columns with Kilz, (white to match the color). I applied two coats, and it has been over 2 weeks, and I have seen NO bees. I was told that they came, stayed a few minutes and left. I just had to share my relief with you. So far, so good. If they come back I will update you. Now if I can only combat the pesky gnats.....

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Re: Carpenter bees; how do I get rid of them? Hornets

The subject is, Carpenter bees; how do I get rid of them? One answer, Hornets, if you are so lucky. I grew up learning to dread hornets but they have never attacked me even when I have mowed near their nests. Yellow jackets have attacked me for just walking near their nest so it is important to consider the 2 species as separate. Our most recent hornet nest is just on the other side of a sidewalk frequented by our family, children, dogs and visitors. The hornets fly around us as though we were trees. The population of carpenter bees has dropped off significantly since the hornets have settled in.
We use pesticides when a situation warrants immediate attention, but our bet is on birds, bats and other creatures such as hornets to manage pests.

BeeKeepersRUS
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Re: Carpenter bees; how do I get rid of them?

Hi,

Appreciate this posting maybe too late but have you or anyone tried using natural non-toxic solutions like tea tree oil or orange oil spraying methods? I had a similar issue last year with an infestation of Carpenter bees in one of our outdoor shacks. I didn't want to use harsh chemicals to kill off such a beautiful bee, despite being a pest for us :twisted:

I did a bit of digging around the 'inter-web' :lol: and found me this little website that describes different methods (chemical & non-chemical) to get rid of the carpenter bee. Hope it helps :)

Here's the site: https://www.howtogetridofcarpenterbees.com/ :D

jr3261
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Re: Carpenter bees; how do I get rid of them?

i am in the processing of restaining with a water born semi-transparent stain. I am adding 2 oz of cayenne pepper to 5 gallons of stain. It absolutely works with insects, so I thought that I would give it a try with the Carpenter Bees. Wish me luck. I still have the badminton racquet if this fails!

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rainbowgardener
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I have the answer! :-)

So glad someone brought this up again. The carpenter bees were really working on our deck earlier this season also. It is a carport under it. Every day there would be piles of sawdust on the car.

So I looked around and found this stuff: Citri-Fresh Bee Stop

https://www.amazon.com/Bee-Stop-1-Gallon/dp/B00F761PTW

It is an all natural organic repellent made with citrus and tea tree oils. AND it works! It took about three applications a week or two apart, when the bees started coming back. Since then we have not seen a single one. And it doesn't kill the bees, just protects your deck from them.

I suppose you could do a DIY version, but this was easy. Just pour it into a spray bottle and spray. The only thing is the one gallon seems like a life time supply. I wouldn't be surprised if it needs to be reapplied next year, but being natural oils, I don't know if it would keep like that. Oh well, if I had to spend $30 every year to protect the deck, that isn't terrible.
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