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In the past few weeks you may have notice what looks like giant bees buzzing around. These giant bees are called carpenter bees and while not aggressive or harmful to humans they can do quite a bit of damage to any areas of exposed wood on your home such as deck or balcony railings, soffits and window or door frames.
Carpenter bees appear in April and usually disappear by the end of May or early June. During that short amount of time the male and female mate then the female will look for wood in which she drills a perfectly round hole about ½ inch in diameter and deposits her eggs. Although the hole may look fairly shallow, it usually turns and can tunnel for several inches. Once the female deposits her eggs, she collects pollen and deposits it into the hole to feed the newly hatched eggs.
Carpenter bees are very territorial and will return to the same spot every year. If left untreated for several years the amount of carpenter bees that return each spring will continue to increase as new eggs hatch out and return to the same spot.
Many people think that by plugging up the holes the carpenter bee will die without an escape route, but in reality they will just create a new place to drill out of. When treating carpenter bees, first of all be patient. We tell our clients you really can't stop them from drilling but when the season is over around the end of May to the beginning of June, we can come out and treat the holes. Each hole must be individually treated with an insecticide dust labeled for carpenter bee use. This odorless dust gets puffed into each hole and will kill the eggs and any adults that are in the hole or which visit the holes after treatment. This will greatly reduce the population of carpenter bees next season. Once the holes have been treated, customers can use wood putty to patch up the holes and repaint if so desired. Better yet, if possible cover the exposed wood areas with easy to care for vinyl or metal.