The Cool House: carpenter bees
Showing posts with label carpenter bees. Show all posts
Showing posts with label carpenter bees. Show all posts

Monday, June 08, 2009

In the yard

The last blooms on the azaleas and rhododendrons have faded and fallen and although the peonies and the late dogwood are out there's little color in the yard by the second week in June. That means, of course, less admiring the garden and more chores.
So yes, there was a FOURTH attempt at setting the stone on the steps to the front door - this time scraping it right back to the foundation. (Probably should have done that first time). No one is allowed to look at it, much less step on it, so it could be a while before we know if we are successfully cemented in. Last time it seemed ok - until the torrential rain loosened the side mortar. I have fingers, toes and eyes crossed for this one.
There was the horrible moment when I put the gardening gear in the garage and I heard chewing coming form the overhang - which meant we hadn't killed all the bees last session. I stuck a kid's paintbrush in the poison dust and poked it into one of FOUR new holes - and touched a bee. That surprised both of us! It stopped chewing but turned it into a coughing, buzzing, shiny black mass of madness. It flew out and landed dizzily on the path whereupon I put it out of its misery. Next month there will be the ritual filling of the holes, followed by the staining of the siding, This never gets old. Not.
The Guy lovingly painted several new examples of poison ivy with the most effective of herbicides - taking great care not to drip it on the pachysandra or rhododendrons. (I'm a super swelling, steroid needing, extra-specially sensitive soul that gets a full body rash from touching the dog who brushed against it hours earlier so I leave this to the so-far immune member of the family). I feel this is going to be an on-going chore this season.
All the windows were washed - outside and in. We carried the outdoor pool furniture up from the basement, set it out and cleaned that, too. (The pool is actually colder then when we opened it, 66F. No one will be dipping in there this week).
The lilac bush at the back of the pool that was toppling over and threatening to decapitate anyone going back there was pruned back - hopefully we'll get more growth from the base and many more blossoms next Spring.
A gorgeous new yellow Hosta generously donated by the Awesome Designer was planted, but will be replanted this week in a more commodious spot. White Impatiens lovingly planted by neighbor Barbara the entrance to the cul-de-sac were rescued from under the fringes of the day lilies and given some more light at the edges of the bed.
Weeds were pulled and death was removed from the lawn, the flower beds and the pool skimmers.

Of course it wasn't all work: dinner was eaten al fresco, steak grilled by the Loyal Blog Reader for the Awesome Designer's family from New Mexico, The Guy and I. Later, specimen maple seedlings were dug and bagged ready for a trip to the southwest, where we hope they will find some hospitable soil amongst all the sand... (and fewer weeds as well).

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Check List: Monday PM

bees: hunted

weeds: pulled

beach: walked

weekend: complete

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Coming Out: the Carpenter Bee edition

Since I spotted this hole two weeks ago we've sprayed it and waited...

Day 1: Nothing to see here. Wait, what's that in the top left arc of the hole?

Day 3: That looks like a wing to me.

Day 5: And that looks like the shiny hard abdomen.

Day 7: Empty - the bee has flown, or died and dropped down inside somewhere.

Either way there's no sign of bee activity so we can caulk up the hole and maybe call an end to bee maintenance 2008.

Friday, May 30, 2008

And on the home front

We haven't been ignoring the house this week. A couple of chores were crossed off the to do list. This guy came down. We haven't had a cover on it since the cabinets went on the wall because I didn't allow for the door opening when I went for the extra long boxes.
The ceiling was primed and we had just enough left-over paint to give it the three coats it needed to make it match seamlessly. Then the new fixture went up and we can now open the cabinet door. Ta da, another problem solved.
We took part in the annual slaughter of the carpenter bees. They only seem to be over the porch this year (so far, anyway) but they've already managed to drill two new holes that will be really difficult to fill unless we get a bigger stepladder.
Things we have to do this weekend: repaint the back door, sand and paint the bottom of the garage door, sand and stain the holes the woodpecker made, stain the new frame around the kitchen door.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Carpenter bee control

carpenter bee control
Originally uploaded by modernemama
Saturday was spent cleaning up the yard.
Steve devoted the morning to scrubbing the brick patio and the afternoon to powerwashing it. Normally I hit it hard with the powerwasher but as it proved impossible to wield the high pressure hose while balancing on one foot using a cane to avoid falling over, Steven had to take over.
By late afternoon the moss was still clinging to the bricks and a green sheen was in evidence. We've tried a solution of bleach, baking soda, Dawn and hot water but nothing seems to be shifting the green stuff this year. He had to abandon that chore eventually for the more pressing bee control project.
I honestly thought that when we had the house stained and all the bee holes filled that would be the end of our carpenter bee problem. Not so. Every year they come back, find another spot and start drilling. This year they've favoured over the kitchen window and the dining room overhang. Steve got a baker's dozen this time and went off to shower the insecticide away. When he was clearing up for the night he was buzzed by a huge bee that flew into a hole he hadn't noticed, not in the redwood siding but on the underside of the new Marvin window in the boy's bath. Grr.
We'll be back tomorrow, carpenter bee, with spray, wood and paint, so you'd do well to leave now while you get the chance.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Killer bees

Actually, not killer bees, more chewing, gnawing, pesky bees. We have carpenter bees: they look like bumble bees but instead of hairy backs, they are smooth and shiny; they don't sting (often) but they like to hang out on the redwood siding and chew little holes in it. They chew a hole in, turn at right angles, tunnel down a few inches and exit through a new hole. Hooray, they don't do structural damage, boo, they leave the siding looking like swiss cheese!
We have spent the last few weekends experimenting with various insecticides in an attempt to rid ourselves of the little critters. I wouldn't bother but they make a lot of noise while chewing and this freaks me out, especially as they are by my bedroom window and they chew throughout the night. We could call in te professionals but apparently killing the buzzing ones requires time and patience and that translates to lots of money, and it is quite easy to kill them yourself. You need either powder insecticide and a baster or a spray with a long nozzle to poke into the holes. I was also told you could spray them with WD40 and that should be easy as it comes with a target nozzle but it didn't kill any bees although the ones flying around didn't squeak at all.
The powder worked well where we could get it directly into the holes,and there were a few dead bees beneath the holes the next day but some holes were too high under the eaves to reach and the gnawing continued. Then we tried a spray and had some limited success. If we got it into the hole it worked but often we couldn't be precise enough. Then the spray attachment snapped off so I drove to the hardware store to buy a spray bottle to transfer the poison. By this time I was pretty mad so I picked up three different brands of aerosol insecticide, all specifically for carpenter bees and drove home to perform a little experiment.
Brand A when sprayed directly on a bee rendered it dizzy enough to fall to the ground where I could stomp on it. Brand B seemed to have no effect on the bee except to make it shinier but Brand C had a dual use: if sprayed into the hole, it foamed up, leaving the hole covered and causing the bee inside to groan horribly; when sprayed in the direction of the bee the product caused it to instantly fall lifeless to the ground. Instant gratification and our product of choice for the future. And there will be many more opportunities to use it as they are still chewing in a couple of hard to reach places.