1) Animal History & General Information
a) Scientific Name: the genus Xylocopa in the subfamily Xylocopinae
b) Region of Origin: Supposedly from the oriental tropical areas in the Pacific ( East Asia)
c) General History: Carpenter bees are so named because they excavate galleries in wood to create nest sites. They do not consume wood. Rather, they feed on pollen and nectar. Carpenter bees are important pollinators of flowers and trees. Carpenter bees typically are just nuisance pests that cause cosmetic rather than structural damage to wood. Nonetheless, considerable wood damage can result from many generations of carpenter bees enlarging existing galleries in wood.
d) As Food: Not edible!
e) Controlling Spread:
- Fire Ants: The Fire Ants have eaten nearly all the Carpenter Bee Larva so there are hardly any more on the property. One of the few ‘benefits’ of fire ants!
- Blocking: Stop the carpenter bees by blocking up their holes. Use rolled up plugs of aluminum, wood putty or caulk to fill in the hole that the bees have made. This will either kill them if they are still in the hole or discourage them from coming back. You can also stain or seal the wood to deter the carpenter bees. You can also add protection such as aluminum siding to the exposed wood. Use old paint mixed with NBS additive, an organic insect repellent if you have any.
- Insecticide: Any type of insecticide you have at your home should work to kill the carpenter bees. If you do not have any insecticide at home, then use WD-40 because carpenter bees are deathly allergic to this and will die. For existing carpenter bee nests, use a dehydrating desiccant such as Diatomaceous Earth.
- Previous Nests: Carpenter bees are also known for returning to their same nest location year after year. If their previous nest is occupied, they will bore a new nest into the surrounding wood structures. When the larvae grow up into mature bees after a season, they will also return to the same nesting location. Hence, a few carpenter bees boring into your house’s siding one year can turn into many bees returning the next year, growing exponentially.
f) History of this Animal at Hedonisia: We originally allowed Carpenter bees to nest because there are so few natural bees on the island. However, now they are damaging structures and are a nuisance to guests. So we are getting rid of any that threaten people or structures. This is an excellent rainy day project!
g) Location on Property: Lono Hale, the entire toilet zone area, the tool shed and anywhere that there is dry wood!