Carpenter Bees

Carpenter Bees are swarming around buildings in the area. I have had them flying around for several days now and they are continuing to do damage to the unprotected wood in sheds, barns and other buildings. Over time they can do significant damage as they bore into the bottom side of trusses, rafters, and other parts of you buildings. There is a fact sheet available from Ohio State that Dr. Susan Jones with the Department of Entomology has put together to address these problem bees. The fact sheet can be found online at or you stop by your local OSU Extension office to pick up a copy. The following is a small portion of what is listed in the factsheet: Integrated Pest Management When dealing with carpenter bees, it is preferable to locate tunnel entrances during the daytime, but treat after dark on a cool evening when carpenter bees are less active. Wear protective clothing to avoid any stings during treatment. Prevention Keep all exposed wood surfaces well painted with a polyurethane or oil-base paint to deter attack by carpenter bees. Periodically inspect painted surfaces, because the coatings will begin to deteriorate due to weathering, leaving exposed wood that the bees then can easily attack. Wood stains will not prevent damage. Consider using aluminum, asbestos, asphalt, vinyl siding, and similar non-wood materials that are not damaged by carpenter bees. Seal existing gallery entrance holes to discourage carpenter bees that are looking for potential nesting sites. Mechanical Measures A non-insecticidal management approach is to deny carpenter bees access to their galleries by sealing each entrance hole. Thoroughly plug the hole with caulking compound, wood putty, or a wooden dowel affixed with wood glue. If possible, also fill the entire gallery system with a sealant. Carpenter bee galleries are a critical resource, since the bees spend much of their time inside a gallery, and they require its protective conditions to survive the winter. Bees that are trapped inside a caulked gallery typically will not chew out due to behavioral constraints. This barrier approach has promise for reducing future carpenter bee infestations. In new nests, the single female often can be swatted and killed, or she can be captured and crushed or otherwise destroyed. Larvae and pupae can be killed by inserting a sturdy wire into the entrance hole and probing into the gallery as deeply as possible. There are a number of labeled pesticides that can be used as well. More details are in the factsheet. There are also a number of homemade plans for building Carpenter Bee Traps online if you do a simple search. Some garden centers have them for sale, too.