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Wood boring bees

Norm Grimberg  Member


My community has a timber frame pavilion that's being assaulted by wood boring bees. (big bees)

How do we get rid of these?

4/17/18       #3: Wood boring bees ...
DaveM Member

I had carpenter bees make their home(s) in the eaves of my house. I took the venerable WD40 with the red tube & squirted it in the hole(s) & then put a dab of caulk in the hole(s) about 15 minutes later after a bunch of them fell to the ground. Not saying this is the best way, but it worked & I didn't spray any poison around.

4/18/18       #5: Wood boring bees ...
Mark B Member

You'll never get rid of them. You'll only kill off the ones that are in your area until the next wave moves in.

They tend to only like soft wood so Im assuming your timberframe is a species they like. There is talk of them not liking painted/heavily sealed wood unless there is nothing else around. I would start with playing around with different sealers and treatments that will make your structure less desirable.

There are carpenter be traps (and they trap all sorts of other things too) but again, you are simply addressing the symptom and not the problem. The problem is the wood you chose is no longer a suitable species to be left exposed, unsealed, or unprotected. Carpenter bees have been on the rise for the last 15 years and will continue to be. Id be looking at addressing the structure so I didnt have to worry about ongoing mitigation.

4/18/18       #6: Wood boring bees ...
Gene Wengert-WoodDoc

Carpenter bees do not eat wood, but make holes for a nest. So, spraying wood in general will not work as they will not eat the poison.. They also come back to the same place year after year. So, you need to get them all. One treatment that works is to spray an approved contact insecticide into the hole and then plug the hole with a wooden dowel....same species if possible.

4/19/18       #7: Wood boring bees ...
Mark B Member

Genes post with regards to the bees is spot on. They dont eat the wood, they merely use it as a place to lay their eggs. The female bores in from the side of a memeber then will hook a 90 degree turn and bore a centered channel or corridor up the length of the member. The corridor can be 2 to 4 feet long and will have branching "rooms" off that corridor. She bores the main corridor and lays eggs in chambers off this main corridor. When the larvae are hatching you can often times hear many many bees in a member. The female uses sound to bore a hole up the center of the timber and can pretty much eviscerate a 2x6 internally. Often if you hear the bees inside after hatching and you pound on a member, you will watch dozens of bees fly out of that single hole.

Unfortunately, injecting powdered or liquid poison into the hole and plugging it is still merely a symptomatic resolution. If your going to take the time to plug the hole dont waste your money on the poison although your likely expediting a slow a miserable death, your just throwing your money away. The hatched bees are not going to chew their way out.

Even killing off all the bees on your property is only going to help you in the short term. Maybe not even an entire season as new bees will come in to take over the area the instant the others are dead. This is why you see the male bees defending their territory so aggressively. They fly outside the holes that their females are working in and defend the female endlessly. There are endless other bees willing to take over as soon as those that are killed off are no longer defending the area.

Coating or treating your wood is not to say your coating it with a pesticide. Your coating it with a material that may hopefully make the bees look for other sites to lay their eggs. Paint, freshly applied penetrating solvent finishes, and so on, have been successful in making the females look elsewhere to bore their nests.

Its unfortunately one of the situations where our building practices of old will have to be changed because there are, and will continue to be, more bee's than the average homeowner has time to powder and plug holes to control. The solution is to build and use materials that put the bees in the woods as they would normally be. Its no different than a wood pecker boring a hole in your fascia. Its a pretty good indicator you have bugs in your fascia the woodpecker wants to eat. Doing away with the woodpecker still leaves you with the bugs and a material that bugs like to inhabit. Shortly there will be another woodpecker right there trying to get the same bugs.

4/21/18       #8: Wood boring bees ...
M Clark

Just my 2 cents. The Wood Doc is as usual on the money. I was astounded that the little B's chewed right into treated SYP just like untreated, I assumed because they don't actually ingest the wood. A coat of paint on replacement run-in shelter members the only cure.

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