Messages Archive

Re: Life Cycle bee questions/observations

John K Jordan
You might have opened the wood just as the batch of new carpenter bees were about to exit. I once ran into dozens behind a board in the barn where the females must have laid their eggs in sawdust and old hay accumulated in a hollow.

I understand carpenter bees will try to come back to the area where they hatched so you can look for them next year. They will reuse the same holes for years, tunneling more and more until the wood is mostly hollow. You can discourage them by waiting until they have exited the holes then stuff them with steel wool and caulk over them. (The caulk won't stop the bees but the still wool will.) You will have to watch for them next year.

They are so destructive to the house and barn I personally get rid of that generation permanently and see almost none the next few years. However, I've heard several stories recently of people hanging a stuffed paper bag near where they nest. This evidently resembles a hornet's nest which keeps the carpenter bees away.

We are fortunate to have a large population of the non-destructive bumble bees and honey bees for pollination. I keep beehives primarily for that.


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