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Canoeing and carpenter bees

carpenter beeWhile repairing and painting the front porch over the past few days I have seen several Carpenter Bees flying about. Carpenter bees look somewhat like bumble bees except they have a black shiny tail section instead of a furry one. They drill holes in bare wood; the holes are about 1/2' in diameter and look as if they were made with a drill.

This morning I put some chlordane (I have an old bottle - I think it is banned) on cotton balls and stuffed the three holes I found. All day long the bees were buzzing around trying to figure out what happened to their nests.

It was a hot day so we took out our canoe. There is a right-of-way to the Annisquam River where we keep it - it is one house down and across the road. It was a few minutes past high tide so we were able to paddle around the island that is in the river. This is a tidal river that connects Ipswich Bay to Gloucester Harbor. At high tide the water is 9-12 feet over the low tide mark here! As usual, even though we've done this for 26 years or so, the route through the reeds was not remembered very well. I chose wrong so we had to port over a small patch of reed / humocks and rsc did dip is leg into mud on the way. Coming back to the house after we we had a strong wind and the tide to fight so it was a fair bit of work.

While bringing the paddles back up to the house and passing the area of the carpenter bees nests I saw one and tried to kill one with the paddle but didn't succeed. (See, these two topics are related.)

Later when I went back to paint I saw the two bees sitting on the wood under the porch and killed them both with a piece of newspaper. I hope there were only two of them; they do pair up.

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Wow, while not particularly good for your house, it doesn't sound like they do much harm either. And they do sound like fascinatingly industrious little buggers... er, um... bugs.

Oh, they can. We had them once before, many years ago, and the way we discovered them was that I was in the enclosed part of the porch amd I heard a faint noise in the floor, which turned out to be the carpenter bees chewing. Apparently they drill these holes to get it and then eat along the grain.

EW!!! The fact that you could actually hear them chewing is more than a little disturbing. The article imples that you only get serious damage if you have multiple colonies over succesive generations. If you could hear them, you must have had a regular Big Dig going on in your porch.

Hmm... I wonder if there was a Joe Bacca bee?

the holes are about 1/2' in diamete

That should be 1/2", of course.

And here I was, ready to commend your bravery for going after an animal that can bore ½-foot holes armed only with a canoe paddle. I'm far less impressed now! ;)

I was pretty sure that the passage around the island was nearer than jwg thought it was, but only pretty sure, and he's more often right about this sort of thing than I am. And he was steering.

When we have the same discussion next year I'm going to stick to my guns.

I can recommend a really excellent Bee Guy. No more carpenter bees here, and he's kept me safe from wasps, hornets and yellowjackets for four seasons running....

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