If you've been following agricultural or economic news over the last few years, you may have heard that declining bee populations are worrying scientists and lawmakers. Without bees and other pollinators to fertilize plants, it becomes virtually impossible to sustain agricultural production levels, which will cause food prices to rise significantly. However, the need to protect local bee populations doesn't mean you have to simply allow destructive carpenter bees to bore holes into your siding, decking, or outdoor furniture. Read on to learn more about some ways you can humanely relocate carpenter bees -- solving your problem and ridding yourself of pests without contributing to the collapse of a bee colony.
Why are carpenter bees important?
Although the honeybee is generally the first pollinator that comes to mind, the carpenter bee is also an important part of the plant reproduction cycle. Eastern carpenter bees are the most common type of carpenter bee in the eastern U.S., and are especially skilled at pollinating open-faced flowers, like those found on most fruit trees. In fact, many orchards and vineyards will place small blocks of untreated wood around the bases of the trees to encourage carpenter bees to build nests in the area and increase fruit yields. Without carpenter bees, local fruit harvests would decline significantly, and the price of apples, cherries, peaches, and pears would skyrocket.
How can you humanely relocate carpenter bees?
Unlike honeybees, which often form large hives containing hundreds of bees, carpenter bees are relative loners. The female carpenter bee will bore a number of independent tunnels into a piece of wood, laying an egg in each partitioned area. When these eggs hatch, the larvae already has a ready-made meal awaiting (a small pollen ball left by the female bee). After this meal is finished and the larvae has begun to transition into an adult bee, it will bore its way out of the hole and join its relatives. Often, much of the harm caused by carpenter bees is due to the destruction of the wood by woodpeckers who can hear the larvae moving inside.
Most females will only lay between four to six eggs during a nesting period, so unless you have a severe infestation already, it's unlikely that your bee population will significantly increase from year to year. It's usually best to relocate carpenter bees during the spring, as this is when they are most active -- and relocating them before they've laid eggs can increase your odds of success.
If you'd like to keep the bees on your property to pollinate your summer garden, but just don't want them to bore holes into your home or outdoor furniture, you'll likely find it easy to lure them to a loose board or block of wood, which can then be carried to a location away from your home. You'll want to purchase a board of untreated, soft wood (like pine) and place it close to the area where the bees generally congregate.
After you've laid the bait, you'll want to keep an eye on any existing holes being used by these bees as nests. Once a carpenter bee has exited a hole, you can seal it closed by using wood putty. After you've filled in all visible holes, you may want to paint a sealant (or actual paint) onto the wood to discourage these bees from boring new holes. There are some special additives you can add to paint or polyurethane that will harmlessly discourage the bees from chewing this wood. Because the bees have a fresh-tasting alternative nearby, they should no longer show interest in their previous home.
If these methods don't work, or if you have a large infestation and don't won't to handle it on your own, you can contact a local pest control company that specializes in bee removal.Share
8 June 2015
How often do you double check your front door or make sure that your garage door is closed? Although installing a home security system and giving your children instructions about stranger danger might seem like second nature, some people forget that there are real safety threats sitting around their windowsills. My child was bitten by a poisonous spider a few years ago, and ever since then, I have worked to increase awareness about the importance of pest control. A little pesticide can keep dangerous bugs from seeking refuge in your home and threatening your family. My website discusses different ways to keep your kids safe.