- WOOD BEE NESTS
- CAN A WOOD BEE STING?
- HOW CAN YOU TELL A WOOD BEE FROM A BUMBLEBEE?
- WHY DO WOOD BEES COME BACK EVERY YEAR?
- WOOD BEE NESTS CAN LEAD TO OTHER DAMAGING PESTS
- WOOD BEE TREATMENTS
- WOOD BEE SPRAY
- PAINT STAIN ADDITIVE FOR LONG LASTING WOOD BEE PROTECTION
- WOOD BEE KITS
- CONTACT US
Spring has sprung! Ornamental trees are blooming, flowers are growing and insects are awakening. This is an exciting time of year. This is when Mother nature reminds us that she is omnipotent – nothing can stop her.
Its also the time when most of her “pesky” creatures get active and one of them quite active is the wood bee.
Wood bees are found throughout most all of the United States. Although we have many different species around the country, the most common is big and resembles a bumble bee. You may find it foraging around flowers, shrubs and under the eaves of buildings. This bee is unique from most because it will bore into wood to make its home. They are a destructive nuisance and can cause damage to any wood on your property. They also bother homeowners by “attacking” them though they rarely sting. To keep your building free of wood bees, it all starts by having a basic understanding of their biology and habits.
WOOD BEE NESTS ^
Wood bees typically bore holes into wood overhangs, fence posts, and trees. They will crawl between cracks of siding and roofing. When they bore in wood, the hole they drill is about 1/2″ wide. This hole will go straight an inch or two and then turn 90 degrees. The following video shows close up a female wood bee drilling a hole through a painted surface.
Once the main chamber is established, the female will then drill out small egg chambers which turn 90 degrees off the main chamber. Eggs are then laid at the end of these chambers and many times in “sub” chambers. Food is placed alongside the egg and then capped and sealed tight. It is common for an egg chamber to be two or more feet long with 10 or more sub chambers. Here is what a typical wood bee hole will look like when seen on a 2×4 piece of pine.
If you could “peer” inside a hole, the typical chamber would look like this.
Once the eggs are laid, females will forage for food, bring it home and store it throughout the nest. She’ll spend most of her time in the nest standing guard and watching for intruders. Females will routinely have more than one nest and these nests can be distributed over several acres.
Once done egg laying and gathering food, nests will seemingly go dormant but rest assured, they are still very much “alive” with developing young.
During most of the spring, male bees will be seen hovering around flowers, bushes and just outside drilled out nests waiting for any encounter they can initiate with a female. Male bees are the most common of the two seen; females tend to be quite secretive and sometimes difficult to spot but if there are males around, females are close too.
CAN A WOOD BEE STING? ^
The answer is “yes” and “no”. How can this be? Well, the female is equipped with a stinger and can will use it if provoked. But the male bees do not have one even though they are the ones naturally curious and what most people would call “aggressive”.
In fact male bees will buzz just about anything including people, pets and other animals. This buzzing scares people into thinking they are being “attacked”.
In general, if a carpenter bee is “attacking”, its probably a male. They have a distinctive yellow face, which may be seen while he is in flight, and they are attracted to any bright color like yellow, orange, red, etc.
Female bees have no interest in pursuing anything other than food. As stated above, they have a stinger but their face is black which is in contrast to the male bees.
HOW CAN YOU TELL A WOOD BEE FROM A BUMBLEBEE? ^
Wood bees are easy to mistake for a bumble bee but there are two big differences.
The first is that in general, wood bees tend to be larger. And second, wood bees have an abdomen which is shiny, metallic and black in color. Their abdomen has no body hair; bumblebees have yellow and black body hair on all body parts.
The following video shows a female wood bee up close and you can see her shiny metallic abdomen clearly which positively identifies her as a female.
WHY DO WOOD BEES COME BACK EVERY YEAR? ^
Wood bees will be an ongoing problem for any home where they nest because they use special pheromones and scent to “mark” good locations on where to roost. Additionally, offspring from one nest have a built in “gps” of sorts which programs them to return to their place of youth. For this reason nests are recycled and used over and over until its treated and sealed as explained below. And if the original nest is occupied by the original queen, her young females will simply drill new nests close by.
For this reason the pattern seems to be that a single nest one year will become two or three the next and by the third year, 10-25. And if left untreated, most any problem can lead to hundreds of holes after just 3-5 years.
WOOD BEE NESTS CAN LEAD TO OTHER DAMAGING PESTS ^
Once a home gets wood bee nests, its not long afterwards that animals like WOODPECKERS will start coming around. This happens because the developing young carpenter bees are quite loud and their sounds will attract insect eating animals like woodpeckers. In general, treating the carpenter bee problem will stop the woodpeckers so we always recommend starting there before trying to repel the woodpecker. This approach will usually work since the woodpecker is only coming around to seek food.
WOOD BEE TREATMENTS ^
Treating for wood bees involves two main steps. The most important part is to treat active nests. Once they’re rendered useless, most male bees will move away but if you have some lingering, you may want to spray them with BEE AND HORNET FREEZE. This fast acting spray can reach 15-20 feet up and usually kills them in 3-5 seconds.
DUST WOOD BEE HOLES WITH DRIONE FOR FAST LONG LASTING RESULTS ^
Unfortunately, killing the male bee will do nothing to stop the cycle or control developing bees deep inside their nests. For this treatment you’ll need DRIONE DUST. This material is light and “smokey” so when you puff some up into their nest, you’ll effectively control any active adults in just a few minutes.
All it takes is a few “puffs” per hole; usually 3-4 is plenty. Once dusted, its not uncommon to hear a lot of buzzing followed by some “dust covered” bees falling out of the treated hole.
Drione works mostly as a desiccant by cutting through insects exoskeleton and causing them to loose all their internal water. This leads to rapid dehydration and a quick kill.
Drione will also cover and coat all the chamber walls so when larvae emerge months later, they too will also die.
Lastly, Drione will absorb the pheromones and other scent left by carpenter bees which will help reduce the amount coming around. Reducing the smell can be super important to solving the problem for the long term so dust as many cracks and crevices you can find.
Drione goes a long way. When dusting up under siding, you can get 1500+ sq/ft per lb. When dusting nests and holes, expect to get 50-100 holes per lb. The other great thing about Drione is that when holes are sealed, you won’t have to retreat. But even if you’re using it up under siding, treatments will still last a good 6-9 months so for most people, one treatment in the spring will provide protection for the whole year.
When treating active nests, the best time to dust is in the morning or after dinner. And once dusted, let them sit “open” for 1-2 days. But to ensure the Drione remains active indefinitely, seal treated holes with CORKS.
To apply the Drione, you’ll need a good HAND DUSTER. These work when “squeezed” which will propel the Drione out through the extension tube and into the target site. Most holes will just take 3-4 squirts to get thoroughly dusted; the video below shows how this done using a hand duster.
HIGH REACHING DUSTERS ^
If you have a lot of holes to treat, we have several large dusters which will make the task easier to manage.
The first is the DUST-R. This device holds almost a whole pound of Drione and because of it’s unique pump handle design, requires very little effort to treat a hole. For large jobs, it’s a real help. Nests can be treated in a couple of seconds.
If the holes are out of reach, go with the LONG REACH DUST-R. This is essentially the same device as the Dust-R except it has a series of extensions that lengthen the unit to over 7 feet long. This means the average person standing on the ground can treat nests over 12 feet high without the use of a ladder.
For really high nests, the DUSTICK is quite capable for the job. This duster is over 20 feet long fully extended and can be used to access nests which are over 25 feet up with little effort. It’s also a great tool for infestations where wood bees are foraging under fascia boards, layered siding like vinyl, cedar or masonite or around vents and shutters. or siding which take forever to treat using a ladder.
The Dustick comes with 4 extensions, a pump handle and the top dust canister. To use it, simply slide the dust canister over an extension and then insert the pump handle into the base of the extension. Next, align the canister tip with the target site and pump the handle. This pump is similar to a bicycle pump and will push air through the extensions so the dust is propelled out. you can use it with one extension, two, three, four or even more if you have nests above 25 feet.
Add 4 foot extensions as needed.
The following video shows the Dustick in use:
WOOD BEE SPRAY ^
After you dust, let the that treatment sit for 1-2 days and then spray CYPERMETHRIN to stop new holes from being drilled. This product is highly repellent to most any pest including wood bees so they’ll stay away from where its applied.
Mix 1 ounce per gallon of water and expect to get 500-1000 sq/ft of coverage per mixed gallon. Treatments will lasts 2-4 weeks but if you discover bees drilling new holes or focused somewhere on the home, do not hesitate to retreat sooner as needed. Typically 1-2 treatments in the spring will keep them away but in some regions, fall treatments many be required as well.
Most any SPRAYER can be used to apply the Cypermethrin; just make sure you treat from the ground up to the gutters and fascia boards.
A good HOSE END SPRAYER can usually reach heights over 20 feet since it uses the power of your garden hose which is usually quite good.
If you need to reach up 35-40 feet or more, our NO PUMP SPRAYER will help big time. It relies on air pressure and can be pumped up to 80-90 psi safely. The small one can hold 1.5 gallons of mixture and when pressurized, will pump out the entire contents with only one time filling it with air. It’s especially helpful when you need to treat trees that are not reachable with a garden hose.
This video covers all you need to know about the sprayer:
PAINT STAIN ADDITIVE FOR LONG LASTING WOOD BEE PROTECTION ^
If you’ve had ongoing problems on your home and plan on painting or staining it in the near future, be sure to add some NBS ADDITIVE to your paint/stain the next time you finish your home. Just adding it the paint you plan on using to repair and seal the nests you treat can help as well. NBS is an organic insect repellent. Formulated to be used by adding it to any paint or stain, you don’t have to do anything odd or unusual to apply it. And treatments will last 1-2 years adding long term repellency to the exterior coating.
One pint is enough for a 5 gallon of paint or stain. Mix 3 oz per gallon or .75 oz per quart if you’re adding it to smaller containers.
NBS can also be sprayed on surfaces like Cypermethrin to repel bees. It won’t be as powerful as Cypermethrin but if you’re looking for an “organic” option to use as a spray, add 3 oz of NBS per gallon of water and spray the mixture over 500-1000 sq/ft of surface siding for 3-4 weeks of repellency.
WOOD BEE KITS ^
If treating for wood bees is new task for you and you’re not equipped with some of the basic tools you’ll need, we have put together several wood bee “kits” that can help.
These essentially combine several of the products listed above into one “sku”. These will help by combining the needed dust, equipment and liquid spray to treat anything from a small problem right on up to the major infestation. There are basically 4 kit types with Kit 1 good for 5-10 nests, Kit 2 good for up to 25 nests and Kit 3 good for 50-100 nests. See which kit is best for you by reviewing the included components.
Wood Bee Kit 1 is good for treating small problems and includes enough dust to treat up to 10 holes. It comes with a pump sprayer that can reach 10-15 feet, 1 oz of concentrate for 1 gallon of mixed solution, 4 oz of dust and 10 corks. It can be shipped to all states except CA, CT and NY.
We also have this kit with a slight different concentrate that can be shipped to any state so order this if the ship to address is in CA, CT or NY.
Kit 2 is a bit larger and well suited for anyone needing to treat 20-25 nests. It includes the same sprayer as kit 1 but more concentrate (4 oz), more dust (6 oz) and 25 corks. This kit can be shipped anywhere but CA, CT and NY.
We also have this kit with a slightly different concentrate we can ship to any state.
Kit 2 w/Duster is basically the same as the two kit 2’s above but these include a really nice hand duster. This device allows you to apply the dust using the included 12″ extension which is handy for nests just out of reach. This kit can be shipped to any state except CA, CT and NY.
This kit is also available with the concentrate we can ship to any state.
Kit 3 is large enough to control 50-100 nests and includes our very own Bugspray Sprayer which is more powerful compared to the unit included above. This kit also includes a full 1 lb jar of dust, a hand duster, 100 corks and 16 oz of concentrate enough to make up 16 gallons of mixed material. This kit can be shipped to all states except CT and NY.
We also offer this kit with the CB Duster with 12″ extension (not available to CT or NY).
For CT or NY, we offer these two kits with a similar concentrate we can ship to your state.
This one includes the “standard” duster and can be shipped to any state.
This one includes the CB Duster with 12″ extension and can be shipped to any state.
Lastly, our Kit 4 is basically the same as Kit 3 but instead of containing a pump sprayer or hose end sprayer, this kit includes our Trombone Sprayer. This sprayer is well suited for reaching heights of 30 feet or more. Keep in mind it is manually powered as the video here demonstrates:
If you need a portable sprayer that can reach up 30 feet or more, either of the following kits will be the one incuding the Trombone sprayer.
The first kit, kit 4A, can be shipped to every state except CT or NY.
The second version of this kit includes a concentrate we can ship to any state.
On a side note, we feel its important to point out the kits which include a concentrate we can ship to any state will work as well as any other kit that’s “restricted” to some states so you are not sacrificing performance nor will you get any less than stellar results no matter what kit you choose. Just be sure and get one large enough to handle your problem.
CONTACT US ^
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Thursday, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. On Friday, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
Email questions here: https://bugspray.com/about-us/contact-us
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This info was very helpful. Thanks!
tony nagy says
Where do you get this product and how much, plus how to apply it. The product that I was interested in is NBS additive. Something that is OK for the environment. Thank you.
Tech Support says
The link to more information how to purchase it is above but here it is again in case you missed it. Basically it’s mixed with water and sprayed out but it can also be used with exterior finishing material like paint or stain as an additive. And you can only get it online through our cart.
Here is a link to this item in our cart. Please show your support for our business by purchasing the items we recommend from the links provided. Remember, this is the only way we can stay around and keep this valuable web site up and running. Thanks for your business!
NBS Repellent: https://bugspray.com/exempt/additive/nbs-paint-additive-16-oz
Jean Rinella says
Hello, I have a wood timber frame over my hot tub with a clear poly standing seam roof; I need to have this structure stained this fall. The structure is 10 ft. square and 12 ft in height. It consists of approx. 130 l/f of 6″x8″
timbers (white pine). Please forward me with the price and amount and how to order this paint additive.
Tech Support says
This item can be ordered in our cart here:
NBS Repellent: https://bugspray.com/exempt/additive/nbs-paint-additive-16-oz
The pint will be added to 5 gallons of stain and help provide a year or more of insect repellency using essential plant oils.