If you are living in forested area and often find sawdust on your ground, then we can be sure that your space is infested by carpenter bees. Actually carpenter bees are pollinators. They give benefit and help crops, wild flora, and also garden by their role. The gardeners or fruit harvesters are being helped by carpenter bees. Their role is beneficial toward the environment. Carpenter bees are also benign creatures that like sylvan environment. Unlike aggressive swaps like yellow jackets, carpenter bees seldom sting. The female bees may sting, but only when they are feel in danger or trapped. While the male bees won’t sting because they don’t have stinger.
But why you need to know 10 tricks to keep away carpenter bees away from your wooden furniture? The answer is already on the question. Yes, it is closely related to wooden furniture that you have. Carpenter bees, as the name, have the behavior to drill into the wood. They can dig neatly through wood. No, it’s not for their food. They don’t eat wood. But they use the hole inside the wood as their nest. Before talking about 10 tricks to keep carpenter bees away from your wooden furniture, let’s get to know more about carpenter bees.
Carpenter Bees, the Great Digger
Carpenter bees known in Latin name as Xylocopa and Ceratina. Xylocopa refers to large carpenter bees, the most common one. While Ceratina is the small carpenter bees. The size of Ceratina is less than 8 millimeters, while the Xylocopa is about 12 until 25 millimeters long. Their color varies from black, greenish black, or purplish. There are these 2 categories of carpenter bees. They are common throughout United States, and live in solitary way. So one nest will be for one bee, not a colony. You may give an attention to this fact, because it means that the female bees may sting you when they feel in danger, but not in groups. So there is possibility that you don’t notice any carpenter bee around you.
As we mentioned above, carpenter bees have high preference toward untreated woods and weathered softwood. They build a burrow tunnels inside wood to set up a nest. The tunnels are usually around 4 to 8 inches long, with ½ inch wide suit for their body. You can easily spot their nest by holes in the wood surfaces, mostly in untreated or unpainted woods . They don’t like oil-painted or coated woods. But if you are not sure which of the holes on your wood furniture belong to the carpenter bees, spot their in and out route. Usually carpenter bees prefer hole with open downward position to the ground as their tough spot. The nest is used by the female carpenter bees to lay their eggs until hatch. Their hole is commonly very neat. They like to make a hole in the decks, siding, porches, doors, fences, wooden lawn furniture, and other wooden things around your living space. As a result? Carpenter bees may damage your garden furnishings and structural beams in your home.
Carpenter Bee’s Activities
Carpenter bees are most active during mid of March and less active during November until December. They are active foraging in daytime, looking for pollen as their primary food source . During March, they will look for a nest as the shelter for their eggs until they become larvae. Later we will also give you explanation about the life cycle of carpenter bees. Why is it important? Because by doing it, you will know the proper tricks to keep carpenter bees away from your wooden furniture.
Carpenter Bees’ Life Cycle
In middle of March, the female carpenter bees are laying eggs in the nest. After that the stage are: larval, pupal, and adult. It takes around 7 weeks from eggs to become adult bees . When they become adult, it is not like they can fly and forage as they want. But they need to stay inside the wooden shelter for several weeks, and leave the nest during April or May. At that time they will be ready to do the job as pollinator and looking for food. Within a year, the female carpenter bees can reproduce 2 generations, mostly in US. But for areas less infested by carpenter bees, they only reproduce 1 generation within a year. Remember, the female carpenter bees have gone through intensive process during labor. It took a lot of time and energy. That’s why carpenter bees prefer to inhabit existing nest instead of excavate a new one. And this is also another reason to know the 10 tricks to keep carpenter bees away from your wooden furniture.
Difference with Bumble Bees
The physical appearance of carpenter bees look very similar to bumble bee. They are fuzzy, with yellow thorax and black spot. Unlike bumble bees with no spot, they have white cream spot on the head. The other thing that distinguish carpenter bees from bumble bees is the abdomen. It’s dark, shiny, and hairless for carpenter bees. While bumble bees tend to have fuzzy abdomen.
Signs of Infestation
Is it easy to detect the sign of carpenter bees’ infestation? You can inspect it from the signs below:
- Wood openings. Regularly see your wooden furniture. If you see any wood openings, then must likely it is the nest of carpenter bees. Examine it in detail by the method we mentioned above.
- Sawdust on the ground. This is the residue of their digging activity. As they drill into the wood, the sawdust will be falling. You may notice it when you sweep your floor.
- Carpenter bees also can left pollen crumb around your furniture. As it is their primary food source, you can also detect the sign by it.
- The carpenter bees will excess feces and leave yellow stain. If you wonder the yellow stains around your living space, it might be another sign of carpenter bees infestation.
- Flying around. This one is the clearest sign of carpenter bees infestation. The male bees tend to be protective toward his territorial. So it is no surprise if they appear and fly around near you.
10 Tricks to Keep Carpenter Bees Away from Your Furniture
So it’s time to save your expensive wooden furniture from the carpenter bees. They need to look for another place as their shelter or nest. It’s annoying when you find many holes in your wooden furniture, isn’t it? Another case found in US was that the carpenter bees also invade inside the walls. If this is what happen, there is no other way except call the exterminator to remove the carpenter bees. But before your situation becomes worse, you can consider these 10 tricks to keep carpenter bees away from your furniture:
1. Boric Acid
The acidity of boric acid can be poisonous for carpenter bees. To do this, simply mix boric acid with water. The ratio depends on your needs. After that, place the boric acid water inside a sprayer bottle. And then spray it to their nest. Mostly this method is effective to kill the larvae inside the nest before they hatch. In the next point we will explain to you why it is important to kill the larvae.
2. Amish Method
This method is so simple yet effective. All you need is a bucket, water, and soap. Search all over your garden, the proper space to hang the bucket. First of all, fill the bucket with water. Add dish soap to the water, so that the water will be slippery. After that, place the bucket and hang it near their nests. Of course carpenter bees need water for their life. Once they enter and grab the water inside your bucket, their wings will be covered with dish soap. After that, they won’t have the power to fly and trapped inside the bucket.
Who doesn’t like the most? Carpenter bees might be one of them. These largest native bees in US are very sensitive to noise and vibrations. So make sure that your living space is not their choice by installing the noise. You can simply turn on your sound box or boom box near the areas that you think where they live. By doing this regularly, you can make sure that they will look for another place to live.
4. Kill the Larvae
Not only the adult carpenter bees, it is also important to kill the larvae. There is no use if you kill the adults aggressively, but you let the eggs live in peace until they hatch and come as adult bees eventually. So what you need to ensure is stop the reproduction cycle and start menacing cycle. How to do this? First you need to purchase insecticide that is aimed to kill carpenter bees. Remember to read the label thoroughly before using it. Apply the insecticide in each nesting gallery of carpenter bees. The wood will absorb the insecticide. By doing this, the eggs and larvae will be difficult to hatch. It means the reproduction of carpenter bees has been stopped.
5. Citrus Spray
Citrus scent is the enemy of carpenter bees. You can use any kind of citrus fruits like grapefruit, lime, or orange. Citrus has the natural aversion towards insects . That’s why the citrus fruits are protected when they are planted. First of all, what you have to do is cut up and peel the fruits. And then boil the citrus rinds in hot water. After you have the extract, place it in a sprayer bottle. You can use this as your weapon to spray the burrows. Not only citrus fruit, you can also consider using almond oil and tea tree to keep carpenter bees away from your wooden furniture.
6. Aerosol Carburetor Cleaner
There are many chemical sprayer on the rack that you can purchase. But this time we recommend you to use aerosol carburetor cleaner as the strategy to keep carpenter bees away from your wooden furniture. The extension tube on the aerosol carburetor cleaner will help you to aim the nest correctly . Before doing this, make sure that you know exactly where the nest is located. After that, spray the aerosol gas inside. This will make kill inside their burrow and make their home uninhabitable. Please be careful when doing this and make sure that you have sterilize the area for your pets or kids. Breathing the aerosol may be harmful for your health.
7. Plug and Seal Up
Previously we mentioned that carpenter bees are most likely stay in their existing nest instead of looking for a new wooden area. That’s why it is important to apply this strategy to keep carpenter bees away from your wooden furniture. After doing things that can remove the bees from their nest, plug and seal it up. You can stuff tightly the hole with steel-wool. You can also use wood caulk to patch the spot. Trebor plug also can work in this method. But there is one thing that you need to be very cautious. Wait until 14 days since you attacked the nest. What for? So that there won’t be any little bees trapped inside and later be the adult bees that can drill the wood from inside.
8. Vacuum Cleaner
Use the smallest nozzle in your vacuum cleaner to keep carpenter bees away from your wooden furniture. The vacuum must be strong enough. This will work effectively if the nest is still new. Do it in the evening when the bees are done with the foraging activity and staying at their nest.
9. Diatomaceous Earth
The diatomaceous earth is as effective weapon to kill insects, including carpenter bees . Wear your glove when you are about to use diatomaceous earth. It will kill the carpenter bees and dry them out. This is fast but temporary solution because you need to reapply it once another generation forage your space. Make sure that you wash your hand thoroughly after applying this strategy to keep carpenter bees away from your living space.
10. Pyrethrum Plants
Consider to plant pyrethrum and place it near your wooden area. The tanacetum flower works as natural insecticidal properties that will protect you from carpenter bees.
Talking about infestation of carpenter bees, it is closely related to the woods. If you are planning to build any other wooden furniture, use complex structure woods rather than the soft ones, like oak, ash, cherry wood, and maple. It’s not your fault neither the bees for choosing your wooden furniture as their shelter. They need these places to lay the eggs and store the pollens. So what you need to do is think and place yourself as the carpenter bees. You won’t care of who is the owner of the furniture, the most important thing is you get wood and dig it to become your nest. That’s why during their active season in spring, bring untreated woods to forested area. By doing this, they will use that woods as their place to hatch the eggs. They won’t care about your living space and stay in that area for a while. By doing this you can keep your areas free from carpenter bees.
Most importantly, wear protection clothes when you are about to do these 10 tricks to keep carpenter bees away from your wooden furniture. Guard yourself, wear protective equipment like gloves and goggles . Keep an eye on new holes and block it immediately. Last, be careful to use pesticide as it may cause serious environment and health problems.