Carpenter bees can be a nuisance

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 17, 2018

Insects and animals that pollinate the world’s plants are  a vital part of the ecosystem.

Without them, flowering plants would cease to be, leaving our planet devoid of so many tasty food items. But there is a pollinator that can damage the property we try so hard to maintain, carpenter bees.

These bumblebee impersonators can be distinguished by their shiny abdomens and nesting habits. They typically burrow long tunnels in dead or decaying wood in rural areas. But when those rural areas become scarce, or their populations increase, they find other sources for nesting.

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That can include picnic tables, benches, awnings or anything else made of lumber.

My first encounter with these insects occurred a few years ago while walking around the home.  While cleaning off the back porch, I noticed a pile of what appeared to be wood shavings near the back door. While I contemplated why anyone would want to drill a hole in my door, the first clue of the true culprit occurred. I could hear a noise coming from inside the wooden door. When I leaned in closer to inspect further, it happened. A pair of small legs could be seen pushing out another load of wooden particles. With the true invader identified I quickly set out for the wasp spray to evict my newest unwanted guest.

A short burst of insect killing spray into the hole caused the would be resident to back out quickly, falling to the ground. My second interaction with these pests occurred a short time later, this time on the front porch. Based on evidence collected in the first encounter, the sight of shavings under a wooden bench was a telltale sign that I would need the wasp spray again.

Carpenter bees may be great pollinators, but they should probably find a new place to nest other than the wood that makes up a home.