Monday, May 31, 2010

Carpenter Bees?

Last winter when I climbed into the attic to get the Christmas tree I noticed a small group of wasps had moved in and built a nest just inside our vent. After some internet research I decided to make a wasp trap out of a 2-liter soda bottle. However, I can be slow to get around to things that aren't bugging me in the here and now, so some time went by before I thought about it again.
Then, just when the weather got warmer and I started to get worried about the wasps becoming more active, these very large bees appeared and made it their personal mission to keep wasps away from that vent. Nick thought it was so neat he took a bunch of pictures of the bees chasing the wasps around. In the picture above, the wasps is the long streak and the bee is the big dark spot. The bees sort of hovered in place and would only go after the wasps if they got too close to the house. Perfect!
Nope, not so much. Yesterday Nick pointed out a long line of noticeable holes along that long piece of wood just under the shingles and said he had seen a bird hovering there, pecking on our house. I immediately thought of beetles, or maybe termites, and jumped on the internet to do some more research. That's when I found this article about carpenter bees. They chew a hole in the wood and then dig out tunnels in which they raise their (pollen-eating) young. Of course, this isn't good for the wood, but the big damage comes when birds find their young and peck through the wood to get to them.

Well, you learn something every day.


  1. So, is it hard to get rid of carpenter bees?

  2. Oh what a bummer! I think wasps eat the bee larvae, which is why there is so much bad blood between the two. Though they really scare me, wasps are supposed to be good for keeping away other pests (they eat other bugs). Maybe you should lure the wasps back?

  3. Matty, I didn't tell this story in the post, but since you suggested bringing them back...once last January I got up and put on a pair of sweatpants, then went downstairs. Twenty minutes later I felt a sharb jab next to my knee. Since I am no stranger to knee pain, I rubbed it and continued what I was doing. Jab! Jab! Two more sharp pains. Thinking I had a needle or something in my pants, I quickly took them off. And what do you think fell out? It really, really hurt, for a long time. Bring on the wood-boring bees, I say!

  4. I don't think it is hard to get rid of them, just expensive.

  5. Also, Shaela should mention that they have been battling for weeks. I was fascinated by it! It was all-out war! I have never really seen such large insects try to kill each other like that before.