Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Carpenter Bee Traps

For as long as I've been a homeowner, I have considered carpenter bees a nemesis.  They always seem to be hovering around, boring holes in my houses.  Carpenter bees are known to target the same nesting location year after year.  So, even though we would treat and repair carpenter bee nests in the trim work of our old house, they kept coming back.  And, while they have never bitten or stung me, they are no really welcoming.
Carpenter Bee
Earlier this spring, I noticed a few carpenter bees hanging out around my porch.  I inspected all around until I found the telltale, circular hole bored into a wooden shutter decorating a window directly above the front door.  Carpenter bees are known to overwinter in the same nest in which they were born.  And, the male bees protect the general nest area.  That explains why they were out in early spring.
Carpenter bees nesting in a shutter above our front porch.
I noticed additional bees hovering around my back deck.  Sure enough, I found a hole in the deck support.  One day, I actually saw a bee fly into a hole under a stair tread.
Carpenter bee nest in deck support

The bees bored a hole into the untreated wood of a stair tread.
Historically, we've batted at carpenter bees using fly swatters.  This spring, I decided to take more serious action.  I researched online and found a video discussing carpenter bee traps.  Wow!  

I had never heard of a carpenter bee trap before.  And, I could not believe how well it seemed to work.  I discussed the trap with my husband.  Making our own trap looked so easy (we are pretty handy after all). As inexpensive and easy as it seemed, our schedules just would not allow it to happen anytime soon.   I researched a bit more and found a trap online for a decent price.  A few clicks later, I had ordered two traps - one for the front of the house and one for the deck.  
Note:  The bee trap company offers kits for damming up the holes as well.  I may consider it in the future - we usually just use wood putty, caulk and paint.  

My order arrived within just a few days.  I hung a single-hole trap near the front door, hidden from view by a shrub.
The second trap was hung under a stair leading to the deck.  
Trap hung from stair tread.
This trap caught two bees in under a week.
Within four days, I had trapped two bees in the front of the house!   I made sure the bees had 'expired' and then dumped them out.  During that time, my husband and son killed two additional bees using the fly-swatter technique.  I like to think my method was slightly more humane ;)

This fall, we plan to patch the damage left behind and pack the traps away for next spring.  All in all, the carpenter bee trap was well worth the investment!

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