Monday, March 19, 2012
Getting rid of carpenter bees
Yesterday, I was at my sister's house and the weather was perfect. It was so warm and nice and we watched as some friendly (to us), bug-eating lizards were sunning themselves. Then we were buzzed by one of the most invasive pests around -- carpenter bees.
These pests seek out wood to drill and burrow into to create a catacomb of perfectly round holes, then set up housekeeping and lay eggs that hatch young that burrow more wood. This cycle causes major damage and costly repairs. Can you tell that I despise this pest? Not only because they are pesky and destructive but also because they get so close to you and hover.
They are often confused with bumble bees but they are not the same at all. They are like the evil twin of a bumble bee. Bumble bees are very helpful because they fly around spreading pollen from flower to flower -- just the thing we need in the garden. Though bumblebees will also buzz you, they at least serve a useful purpose in nature.
To identify them, the carpenter bee has a white spot on his head while the bumble bee's head is all black. Bumble bees are more hairy while carpenter bees have a slick underbelly. Bumble bees don't drill holes in your house, either. They are too busy pollinating flowers.
I found this Wikipedia image, above of carpenter bee damage. They are very destructive insects.
My sister told me how she had read that a grandmother took care of her carpenter bee problem by putting a bounty on carpenter bees. She told the the grandkids she would pay them for every carpenter bee they would knock down with a tennis racquet. They enthusiastically took her challenge and knocked down bees by the dozens. She was happy to pay her grandchildren and the next year -- no carpenter bees.
My sister and I decided to try this and she grabbed an old badminton racquet. We started swatting and before we knew it, we had downed five of the hated insects. I really think it will work to rid us of our pests and help us take our frustrations out on something that is really causing problems. It is kind of fun.
Just don't go after your bumble bees. They are probably more aggressive than the carpenter bees and they do sting (the male carpenter bees don't sting and they are usually the ones that hover). I am thinking a badminton raquet is best, too, since they are lighter that a tennis raquet. I would hate to get tennis elbow from swatting carpenter bees!