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Carpenter Bees, Log Homes and other Wooden Structures

Welcome Spring! With such a light winter in the South this year it seems that the carpenter bees are beginning to hatch a bit earlier than normal. If you live in a home (log home or otherwise) with wooden structures like porches, decks, fascia trim, etc. now is the time to begin thinking about how to protect these area of your home from this wood destroying insect.

Besides the badminton/tennis racket method which will give you a good workout while swatting at these pests, there are several other products on the market today that will help you reduce and in some cases eliminate the drilling bees. Keep in mind that since these bees are not ingesting the wood just drilling in to it - topical coats of borates will do little to deter the carpenter bee.

If you live in a log home or a wood sided home you may want to try a great "green" product called NBS-30. This liquid additive may be mixed with the finish that you are using on the exterior of your home. By mixing NBS-30 with a good penetrating product the effects of the additive will last longer as it is not only on the surface of the wood, but penetrates in to the wood as well. You can use NBS-30 as a topical treatment by mixing it with water - but it works the best with penetrating finishes. The main ingredient is citronella - the same natural ingredient that is put in candles and burned around outdoor areas where people gather. Not only does the carpenter bee not like the smell, but spiders, flies, lady bugs and most other insects don't like the smell either. I've used this product on my dream log home with great success and like the fact that I'm not using a chemical around my house.

If you don't live in a log cabin home but have wooden structures or wooden members on your log home you may want to try one of the traps that are offered. Most homeowners have seen some of the damage that carpenter bees can do to fascia boards around the perimeter of the roof structure. A clever individual came up with the idea that by drilling holes the same size as the carpenter bee in a piece of lumber, then making a channel on the back of the wood and placing a glue like substance in these channels - the lazy carpenter bee will enter the pre-drilled hole and get stuck in the glue on the back side. After initial installation, these traps can be taken down and cleaned and used year after year. These facia bee chambers are great to use in these areas since the 1" lumber is what the bees like best.

Another trap that I've used for the past two years is pretty ingenious. Although a very simple design - it works GREAT. When I first hung the carpenter bee traps at the peak and tips of my log cabin homes gable end I thought I had wasted my time and money. After less than 4 hours about 1/2 the bottle was FULL of carpenter bees! I was laughing at how simple a trap it is but what a fantastic job it was doing. I've almost eliminated the carpenter bees around my house since I've trapped so many over the past two year which means they've not been able to re-produce.

If you have a pretty severe case of carpenter bees (barns, outbuilding, sheds, etc) where you don't do a lot of upkeep or maintenance the carpenter bee kit will be a good solution as well. Although it does use a chemical dust - it is effective. You'll need to read the directions and follow them carefully to eliminate the problems but it does work well.

Using a combination of the above products will help eliminate carpenter bees around your home and keep them from coming back. After all - you spend enough time taking care of your home (both inside and out) so why not spend a little time now so you can save a LOT of time later taking care of those nasty carpenter bees.

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Comment by don sigler on March 23, 2013 at 11:33am

WE RECENTLY HAD SOME TREES REMOVED AROUND THE HOUSE 3YRS AGO.  THIS ALLOWED MORE SUN AND HIGHER TEMPS TO HIT THE ROOF. I HAD READ THAT FEMALE BEES ARE VERY PATICULAR ABOUT TEMPATURE AS IT PERTAINS TO NESTING SITES. THIS BEING SO IT WOULD EXPLAIN WHY THE DAMAGE IS LIMITED TO "HOT" AREAS IN SOFIT LOCATIONS THAT SEEM  TO BE EXPOSED TO THE SUN THE MOST. THE MALES ARE STRIPED WITH FUR AND NO STINGER. THE FEMALE BORER IS GUITE DIFFERENT,  SHE IS NEARLY TWICE THE SIZE AND FLYS SLOW. SHE IS NEAR ALL BLACK AND  DOES HAVE A STINGER. AND WILL USE WHEN THREATNED

Comment by don sigler on March 21, 2013 at 9:52am

DON PARSONS, THANKS FOR ALL THE INFO ON CARPENTER BEES YOU LEFT......DON

Comment by Donald Parsons on March 20, 2013 at 12:03pm

Don Sigler - the only "chemicals" that I have used in the past is Ortho-Klor, usually found in the big box home improvement stores (sometimes marketed under the Bayer name) or the "Viper" that is included in the carpenter bee kit linked in the blog above.  Most of the other chemicals that have been used in the past were removed from the market.  The most success I've had is with the NBS-30 since it penetrates along with the finish in to the wood.  The other products just set on the surface and wash off over a short period of time.  If you indeed have "real" damage to your log home I strongly suggest clicking on the carpenter bee kit link in the blog and reading about the bees and invest in the time/money taking care of them immediately.  The bee traps will certainly help but you need to sanitize the chambers that the carpenter bees are drilling, filling the holes properly after sanitizing the holes then applying a product that will keep them away.  A combination of these products will definitely reduce of not eliminate your bee problem.  It may take a year or two but it will work.  Best Regards - Donald

Comment by Terry & Shelley S on March 18, 2013 at 3:59pm

Donald, thanks for sharing!  I've seen these traps at local craft shows etc. and wondered if they really worked.   We'll definitely be looking into getting one or two.    Thanks again.

Comment by John Duke on March 9, 2013 at 12:34am

Thanks for the tips.

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