Hi, I have a brick patio that has mortar or leafcutter bees that I would like to either get rid of or highly discourage. They are in an area that I need to utilize and one family member is allergic to bees. What they are doing is making a hole(s) between the bricks and are seen in a small swarm. I have also seen some of these bees carrying a small piece of a plant leaf so that is why I am not sure which type they are. Does heavy rain have any benefit of getting them to leave, as I read last year that someone recommended drowning the nests? I there any pesticides that can be swept in to the spaces between the bricks rather than a spray or smoke? What if I was to put down quality landscaping paper or something to cover the patio during peak nesting season to discourage them from coming back. As you can see I am at a loss for what to do, as well as thankful that they are not aggressive, and would really like some advice on how to stop this. This patio has been around for many decades and this is the second year they have done this so I do not understand why there has been a change either. Thank you for any help you can provide.
Every home and property will eventually become a nest site for some species of pest so there is no kind of “change” needed for this to happen. If you want to call it anything, I would say “inevitability”. Fortunately the pest you currently have is easy to control and repel. But to make the best pick of which option to employ, you’ll need some basic info on whats happening and what to expect.
First, once these bees get nesting, they’ll be leaving pheromones and scents which are basically used to mark locations as “good” to the species. This means other bees within an acre or two of your property will “smell” your property as one to use and in turn, build nests. These smells won’t go away after one season; typically they last several years which is why these problems tend to persist from year to year.
Second, no act of weather will kill them. That includes freezing or drowning. And though mechanical control may deter them, nature will always win. That means they’ll just figure out a way around whatever “block” you attempt to use.
The good news is they’re easy to treat and can be handled with just a few minutes of time. The simplest method to control them would be to dust every crack or gap they’re using with DRIONE DUST. This will kill them immediately and repel them as long as the treatment is active. Since rain will destroy Drione, treatments may only last a few days or at best, a week or two. But the results will be immediate and if you’re lucky, you may not have many new nests for this year so spot treating here and there throughout the summer and fall may be all that’s required to keep them away.
Now to “up the ante” and provide a longer lasting treatment window, you can opt to use CYPERMETHRIN. Mix 1 oz per gallon of water and spray all surfaces where they’re active and it too will kill them but not as quick compared to Drione. Basically the process will take a few days but if you use enough material, the nest will die. The good thing about Cypermethrin is that it will also repel them for 4-6 weeks (even with rain) so spraying once a month should keep them away for good.
Lastly, NBS is a natural organic repellent which can be used to keep them away if you don’t care to use the Cypermethrin. Mind you it won’t affect the ones currently nesting. But if you treat the active nests with Drione and then spray with NBS once every 1-2 months (instead of using Cypermethrin), they won’t return. Basically NBS is a repellent; not a killer.
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