In the Atlanta area, carpenter bees are prevalent, which could mean trouble for untreated wood outside your home. Inspect any unpainted wood and you may see the telltale nesting holes from these bees. Save your wood surfaces from damage by detecting and discouraging their nests.
How to detect carpenter bees
Carpenter bees bear a resemblance to bumblebees, but the main difference between the two is that the former have jet black abdomens that are shiny and smooth while the latter are hairy all over with yellow abdominal stripes. Carpenters are about one-half to one inch in length.
You can detect the presence of the bees by inspecting for round, drill-like holes in your wood. The burrows are used by the female bees to lay eggs. Once eggs are lain, the hole is patched with wood pulp, so there may be wood shavings beneath the holes.
The bees commonly dig their tunnels in outdoor furniture, house trim, fascia and other untreated outdoor woods. They also prefer sheltered areas, such as the bottom of an outdoor deck or wood siding.
Discouraging carpenter bees
The bees come out in the warmer spring temperatures of Atlanta and throughout the Southeast; therefore, winter is the perfect time to do some preventive maintenance on your home.
The best way to control carpenter bees is to paint or stain your wood surfaces. If the holes are already present, you may decide to spray insecticide, which is best to do at night while wearing protective clothing.
Once you identify the prime nesting spots, fill any holes you find with wood putty. Paint any wood surfaces in the nesting area or contact an Atlanta painting professional to paint these surfaces. If you decide to paint by yourself, use two coats of quality outdoor paint or wood varnish.
Inspect the potential or previous nesting sites for carpenter bee damage regularly since paint and varnish can deteriorate over time, particularly in the Atlanta sunshine.