Bumblebees drilling holes in my shop frame

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by SD44, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. SD44

    SD44 New Member

    Messages:
    40
    Location:
    Mississippi
    I'm sure some of you will laugh just reading this, but I'm seriously having a problem of bumblebees boring holes in my 2X6's in my shop roof. Looks like someone took a 3/8" drillbit and drill holes in random places.

    Any of you guys have a trick to keep these big ole bees away?
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    We call them "carpenter bees". Never really had much problem around San Diego, but had a lot of them when I lived in Hawaii. Any wasp/hornet spray, or diazinon, will get them. You can usually find the holes and plug them with exterior spackle or filler.
  3. PEW

    PEW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    487
    Just used some wasp spray on a couple the other day, works fine but you have to be there when they are. They like our shed.
  4. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    Amateurs.

    For carpenter bees you need to strike at night or in the evening. That is when the females (the ones that do the drilling) will be in the holes. The males (that divebomb you when you go too near the holes) are harmless and have no sting. Leave the males alone. They will go when the females go.

    The females can sting.

    When the female bee is in the hole, blast the hole with WD-40. The female will drop out a few minutes later. Then fill the hole with filler.

    They can drill out even if you fill the holes so it is important to kill them.

    And they need to be treated otherwise they will recur year after year. The females are laying eggs in there you know.

    I staple aluminium insect wire (painted white) to my exposed wood to prevent them returning. They seem to favor some woods and not others. Regular painting of exposed wood seems to work too.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2008
  5. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    I used to have that problem with them on my porch. I wrapped the soffit in aluminum. :)

    If you're trying to fill a hole that you've sprayed WD-40 in to, its going to be tough.

    Jason
  6. SD44

    SD44 New Member

    Messages:
    40
    Location:
    Mississippi
    well the wood is not painted or treated, would simply painting the wood with barn stain or something help? I can't sit out there for hours waiting and killing all the bees one at a time.
  7. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Yes........
  8. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,653
    Location:
    .
    Why not?:D
  9. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    I remember one of those buggers (sorry, bad pun) drilling holes in to treated lumber at my folks house. My porch soffit was also painted.

    Jason
  10. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    Carpenter bees love old soft wood. I never saw them at work on painted wood. Kind of cool how the male bees just hover in place outside the nests.
  11. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    You can wait until the morning to fill the wood! It's not life or death.

    I stand by WD-40 though. Nothing works like it on female carpenter bees in the holes. They'll be out in seconds. Dead.
  12. ligeia91015

    ligeia91015 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    carpenter bees

    I, myself do not prefer the wd 40 method as it can leave a discoloration on the wood and, I've had bees that just avoided the opening until it seemed to dry. On a vertical 4x4, the wd just seemed to soak downward into the grain and disappear except for a place that paint doesn't want to adhere and the bee went sideways into the next board. The thing that makes the wd40 effective, though, is that the female drags some of it into the cells where she seals the young. Once she gets the first hole about a half inch across and a couple of inches deep, she right angles and goes as far as 3 or 4 feet into the wood. She then makes smaller burrows off that main tunnel. She lays eggs and places food in them and then seals them. If you get her before she goes too deep, you can just use any bee spray but if she's made that first couple inch hole, assume she's already started the egg laying tunnel and get something that she'll take in and poison the larvae. Here's a dust that I found but haven't had a reoccurance yet to test it on http://www.bugsaway.com/woodbee.htm

    We've had some in our home (built in 1848 with 10x10 hand adzed UNTREATED lumber that's exposed in several places along the foundation and eave areas) that we thought we'd killed only to have them start coming inside the house. We found out that we hadn't gotten all of the young and the things dug through the other side of the beam and into our dining room. Apparently, some of them also bored a new hole outside and left a nice entry tunnel for paperwasps the next year to get in and build an impressive structure in the crawlspace above our dining room. By the time we figured out where the paper wasps were coming from, the nest was almost 4 feet long. All because of one loose piece of soffit. If they weren't such a nuisance, their ingenuity and industriousness would be downright impressive.

    Good luckwith your little "pets"
  13. ligeia91015

    ligeia91015 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Oh, and by the way

    Bumblebees and carpenter bees are two different bees
    bumblebees are a community bee like honeybees. Bumblebees also have a hairy back end and pollen sacs on their back legs that you can see even when they're not full. Bumbles are also bigger. It's the fact that carpenter bees look like bumblebees that makes Mr. Carpenter bee an effective tunnel guard even though he has no stinger.
  14. parahelium

    parahelium New Member

    Messages:
    1
    WD-40 is okay, BUT..

    Personally, I like to use white lithium grease. It'll kill them on contact, and should you miss any of the ones inside, when they crawl out of the hole it'll get stuck on them and kill them too.
  15. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I personally give em a little shot of carburetor cleaner in the hole right behind them... It works much faster than WD-40... They never even fall out of the hole... They die instantly!:cool:

    That said you will find a lot of tips from a google search... http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=carpenter+bees&btnG=Google+Search

    The first result is from Mike Potter, Extension Entomologist
    University of Kentucky College of Agriculture
    http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef611.asp

    It lists methods if discouraging their nesting and some pesticides that may be applied, however, he states their use is approved in Kentucky and may not be approved in your state. There may very well be information further down the list from your state university entomologist... In any case its good information and probably better than using carburetor cleaner...

    Hint: If on the google search you click search within results and type in your home state you won't have to look at as many pages of results...
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2008
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