Sunday, April 4, 2010

Carpenter bees!

Spring is in full force here. Azaleas blooming, hosta shoots peeking, and bees buzzing. Unfortunately, the bees are of the carpenter kind.

I learned this after two random observations: a bee staying put near my hydrangeas, even though they weren't blooming yet. And little piles of sawdust under my railing.

I was enchanted by watching the bee just hover near the bush, but then I began to suspect it was protecting something -- especially when other bees would come near. It's a hive, I thought, built under the siding that's curled away from the building, damaged from all the Southern sun.

A consultation later at work, followed by some Internet research, revealed the world of carpenter bees. They burrow into exposed wood, use the sawdust for nests, and thrive inside a round hole that they create.

I found a perfectly round hole, but I also suspect they just had an open door -- or siding -- policy. I'm sanding and prepping the siding, exposing patches of bare wood. And the railings? I don't know how they did it, but they're hollowing out the bottom of the rails.

I reluctantly bought some insecticide (I believe we use way too many toxic chemicals in this world) and shot it through any opening I can find. The bees should be gone in two days. Or onto another part of my house.

To prevent them, I'll have to paint and caulk and replace some of the siding boards. They don't like painted wood. I'm on that, as soon at the pine pollen stops dusting everything in sight.