If you live in Wilmington, Leland, or the Outer Banks area, you’ve probably seen large, mostly-black carpenter bees buzzing around your yard. Whether you think they’re kind of cute, or somewhat threatening, one thing’s for sure: carpenter bees can wreak havoc on your wooden fence, gate, and handrails. Here’s how to get rid of carpenter bees in your fence and make sure they don’t come back.
There are about 500 species of carpenter bee, but almost all of them can be identified by the perfectly round tunnels they leave in wooden structures, trees, and bamboo. Other indications that you have carpenter bees, besides the bees themselves, are tiny piles of sawdust on your deck or porch, and a yellow ring of pollen around the nest holes. Female carpenter bees will create one nesting hole each, so if you happen to notice several holes, it means you have multiple bee nests.
If you don’t mind using chemical insecticides, there are many products available that can kill carpenter bees, such as pyrethrum, boric acid, carbaryl (Sevin), or pretty much any spray labeled for flying insects. The best time to apply the insecticide is at night when bees are resting, or in early spring while they are still hibernating. Apply the spray, foam, or powder directly into the hole, staying alert for an angry female bee that might emerge. By the next day, you should be able to fill and paint over the tunnel.Since carpenter bees can return to the same nest year after year, it’s a good idea to plug up the holes with putty or caulking compound.
Carpenter bees typically prefer unpainted, unstained softwoods like pine, redwood, cedar, and cypress. One good way to deter them is giving your wooden fence a few thick coats of paint. Wood stain isn’t as reliable as paint, as bees will occasionally chew through it anyway, but it still provides some degree of repellency as opposed to bare wood. The only problem with these methods, however, is that the wood needs to be painted on all surfaces, as any bare side can still be chewed through. You might also consider totally replacing your wooden fence with a metal or vinyl fence. Obviously, carpenter bees aren’t interested in metal and plastic!
We don’t specialize in bees, but we do specialize in fences. If your wooden fence has become riddled with bee holes, we’re happy to repair and replace any damaged components. If you’d like to get rid of the problem permanently, we can also replace your wooden fence with a metal or vinyl alternative. Just call us today for a free fencing estimate!