It's finally fall! The air is crisp and the leaves are changing. Carpenter bee season is coming to an end, but that doesn't mean the end of carpenter bee maintenance. Fall is the absolute best time to plug any carpenter bee nests, in order to prevent young carpenter bees from emerging and continuing their wood burrowing ways.
There is a bit of a debate on how to successfully plug up a carpenter bee nest. One known method is applying wood putty at a nest's entrance hole. This method can be satisfactory when time is short and you need to keep the adult bees away from their new nest, however, this method will not prevent young bees from drilling their way out next spring.
An alternative method is to fill the nest with caulk, in order to suffocate the larva inside. While this method proves to be more effective, it has a tendency to create issues once the caulk dries. Once dry, the caulk may not completely fill the nest's interior and may create divots on the nest's exterior.
Here at Best Bee Brothers, we have found that the best method is to use both a wooden dowel and caulk. This is the most commonly used method by carpenters and repairmen.
Follow these easy steps to repair carpenter bee damage:
- Locate all of carpenter bee nests around your home.
- Check all the high and low spots of your home, including eaves and dormers on the roof.
- Look for piles of sawdust shavings and brownish stains to indicate carpenter bee activity.
- Destroy any bees or larva left in the nest.
- Rob Baugher, of Baugher Design & Remodeling, suggests using a cotton ball soaked in isopropyl alcohol and placing it as far into the tunnel as possible. The rubbing alcohol will remove the air from the tunnel and suffocate any remaining bees.
- Some people use a spray or dust pesticide. Typically the dust pesticides see better results. The use of pesticides is not necessary, it is up to your own personal preference.
- Take the properly sized dowels and apply caulk to the end.
- Place the dowel into the hole and push it as far back as possible.
- If you are having trouble getting the dowel in, try shaving the tip.
- Another method is to cut the dowel into ¾” pieces and place as many as possible into the hole. This will help with tunnels that are curvy.
- Once you have gotten as much through the tunnel as possible, cut the last dowel so that it is flush with the exterior of the nest.
- Smooth the area over with wood putty, making sure there are no divots.
- You can paint the end of it to match the surrounding exterior.
While the process can seem straightforward, be sure to not skip any steps. Also, be sure to put up your Best Bee Traps in the beginning of spring to prevent carpenter bees from nesting in the first place!