The Current Buzz
If you are
like me, you have been hearing a lot of buzzing when you are outside. When I
finally find the source of the buzzing, it almost always ends up being some
sort of bee or a wasp. There are a number of different species of bees that we
are all familiar with. Two of the more common ones that can be confused easily
are carpenter bees and bumble bees.
spring and early summer you may notice large, black bees hovering around the
outside of your home. Often times, these are carpenter bees looking for a mate
and a place to construct their nests. Carpenter bees and bumble bees are
roughly the same size. However, the upper surface of carpenter bees’ abdomens
are bare, shiny, and black. Bumble bees have hairy abdomens with some yellow
markings on them.
bees will actually lay their eggs in tunnels that they drill in bare,
unpainted, or weathered softwoods. Sometimes they will attack painted or
pressure-treated wood. Bumble bees on the other hand will develop nests in the
Because of the
impact carpenter bees have on homes and other wood products that homeowners
cherish, Extension Educators are often asked how to control them. There are a
few different ways that can be achieved. The first is to paint any exposed wood
surfaces. When compared to paint, wood stains and preservatives are not as
effective in preventing carpenter bees from attacking the wood. Additionally,
to prevent some nesting from occurring, try to keep all garage and outbuildings
closed when carpenter bees are actively searching for nesting sites.
If your wood
is already being attacked by carpenter bees, then one possible control method
is using a liquid spray. Typically you would use a spray that has carbaryl,
chlorpyrifos, or a synthetic pyrethroid in it. The effectiveness of liquid
sprays runs about one to two weeks. So
it might be important to retreat several times throughout the season.
If you can
already see tunnels, then you might treat using an insecticidal dust. You would
do this by puffing the insecticidal dust into the nest opening. Do not plug the
tunnel up as soon as you treat it. Instead, leave it open for a few days. This
allows the bees to come into contact and distribute the insecticide throughout
the nest galleries. After a few days have passed, plug the hole with a piece of
wood coated with carpenter’s glue or use wood putty.
approaches can be used when dealing with bumble bees. With bumble bees, apply
the insecticidal dust in the evening or at night. You apply the dust to the
entry of the nest once you locate it. While applying the dust, please wear a
long sleeved shirt and long pants, tie your sleeves of your arms down against
your wrists, and pull your socks over your pant legs. By doing so, you will
help prevent a bumble bee from attaching you or getting stuck in your
remember when using any insecticide, you need to read and follow all label
instructions. As always, if you have any questions or would like information on
any agriculture, horticulture, or natural resource topic, then please contact
your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay Co. or 829-5020 in Owen
Co. or reach me directly at email@example.com.
is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.
opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:
June 5 - Clay County Extension Board Meeting, 7pm, Clay Co. Extension Office
June 6 – Owen County Extension Board Meeting, 6:30pm, Owen Co. Extension Office