How do you get rid of carpenter bees? – Forbes consultant


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Because of their ability to pollinate, bees are welcome guests in gardens. But finding them elsewhere can cause problems, especially when the carpenter bees are doing the buzz.

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What to do when you see a carpenter bee

Carpenter bees are so named because they drill into wood to build their nests. Although they do not feed on wood like termites, they can still cause a lot of damage, especially to cedar, pine and other softwoods.

Since carpenter bees don’t usually congregate in colonies, even a single bee can be a sign of trouble. When you see a lonely buzzer on the outside of your home, garden patio, or even a pile of firewood, it’s time to act.

Natural DIY methods to get rid of carpenter bees

Here are a few natural ways to get rid of carpenter bees by using items you likely already have at home:

1. Citrus fruit spray

While lemon, orange and other fruits from the citrus family smell fresh and clean to humans, they are appalling to many insects, including indoor bees. Grab a spray bottle, fill it with water, and squirt fresh citrus fruit or a few drops of essential oil into it.

You can also boil citrus peel in water for a more intense fragrance. Shake the mixture and spray around any holes the carpenter bees have drilled.

2. Almond oil

If you are averse to citrus fruits yourself, you can try almond oil. Refill a spray bottle with water, then add a few drops of almond essential oil. Gently spray around the holes where you suspect carpenter bees have found a home.

3. Loud music

Carpenter bees don’t like loud noises so turn up the music when you see them. The bees don’t like the vibrations of the music, so now is the time to turn up the volume on this heavy metal playlist. If your neighbors aren’t headbangers, keep calm and send them earplugs or choose something more calming like classical music.

Other ways to get rid of carpenter bees

As for many other pests, there are a number of high-performance sprays on the market that can get by with carpenter bees. These sprays are meant to kill the bees, as opposed to the gentler, natural DIY methods that simply (and hopefully) send them on their way.

If you decide to purchase a commercially available carpenter bee spray, keep in mind that these repellants are filled with chemicals that can be toxic to people and pets. If you choose this route, keep your pets and young children away from the area where you are spraying.

Other safety considerations when getting rid of carpenter bees

Bees of any species can appear aggressive even when they are not ready to sting. (Fun fact: only female carpenter bees have spines.) Therefore, it is important to exercise caution around carpenter bees.

This is especially true when using chemical or natural sprays as you have to aim carefully to get into the small holes the bees have dug in the wood. If using a spray bottle, test the sprayer before approaching the bees or their holes so that you can reach the affected area and still keep a safe distance.

Here’s how to prevent a carpenter bee from returning

As with most pest problems, it’s not just about getting rid of the carpenter bees, but making sure they don’t come back.

“The best way to prevent carpenter bees is to make sure that every wood is painted on the outside, which creates a hard barrier to keep the carpenter bee from getting on the wood,” says Dr. Nancy Troyano, Certified Entomologist and Director of Business Education and Training for Honest Pest Control.

If there is weathered or rotted wood on the outside of the building, Dr. Troyano must be removed to avoid infestation. Pressure treated wood is best for outdoors or other places exposed to moisture, such as patios or wooden pavilions or pergolas.

“Carpenter bees are not social insects like the smaller honeybees we’re familiar with, but they are beneficial insects and important pollinators,” said Tom Mascari, insect expert and entomologist at SC Johnson. He says that carpenter bees are attracted to natural or untreated wood, where they build “galleries” in the wood so they can hibernate and lay eggs. Because of this, painting, varnishing, or otherwise treating exposed wood outside of your home is important to stop them.

“In the early fall, I would also suggest plugging any existing holes in the carpenter bee with caulk or putty so they won’t be used for hibernation or revisited the next season,” Mascari told Forbes Advisor.

When is it time to hire a professional?

It is understandable that even some experienced handyman do not want to get too close to the carpenter bees. And unlike other home improvement projects that may require repetition, this is a task you want to get done right the first time. According to Bailey Carson, Angi home care expert, hiring a pest control professional is the best way to get any pest problem fixed as soon as possible.

“With the tools and chemicals available, most professionals can complete the treatment in one to six hours,” says Carson. “More severe infestations may require fumigation, and it can take up to a week, but they are safer and more effective when handled by experts.”

Carpentry bees can wreak havoc on wooden structures if left unchecked. To avoid costly damage to your home, it is important to get rid of these unwanted pests and prevent their return.

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