Monday, May 21, 2012

That Smell

With the recent painting renewal it also became time to deal with an issue that, over the past couple of years, has become a serious problem.  Carpenter bees have been eating select parts of my house, or trying to anyway.  Now really, they were only going after the few pieces of wood on the house that are pressure treated.  I don't understand that at all.  You would think they would avoid the chemically treated wood and go for the natural stuff but I guess these bees aren't interested in the 'green' movement.  When they first started coming around I didn't do much because it really hurts my soul to kill these creatures and they were just chewing on some boards that are probably going to be replaced anyway when I put up the real porch columns.  However, one thing I learned is that the offspring of these little piggies return each spring, somehow, to exactly the spot where they were hatched, even using the same holes sometimes.  Well, after enough generations these holes fill up faster and it's time for expansion!  Time to move to the suburbs!  When I noticed they were now crawling up under my roofing trim and flashing to get to the tops of my rafters, I said 'No more'.  I know you are a great pollinator.  I know you are a vital part of the ecosystem.  But I cannot let you eat my house.  I really, really, really hated it but we did kill a number of them to get them out of the rafters.  I do not want to continue such a thing though; neither the killing or the eating, so I did a little Google-fu and found this stuff.

It is an all- natural carpenter bee repellent that you mix in paint or just water and apply to whatever you don't want them to eat.  I was a little skeptical but willing to try.  It is also supposed to be time released so it lasts for several years.  Today I mixed it in the paint that I use on the rafters and some other trim and got to work.  Let me first just say that the odor is.....STRONG.  I would use caution if you have a bad problem with strong odors.  Secondly, nothing came near me the whole day I was painting.  No bees, skeeters, bugs, Jack, gnats, nada.  Even the dreaded deer fly stayed away if I had that bucket near me.  One dirt dobber buzzed around my head a couple of times and then flew off screaming.  Finally, towards the end of the day a lone carpenter bee appeared after I had put the paint up to do some caulking.  I got the paint back out and eased over to the rafters he was scrutinizing.  I gently brushed on some paint in his general direction.  He eased on down the other way about 8 feet.  I followed.  Little more paint near him.  He quickly buzzed off and went up to check out the eaves.  I followed.  A few more slaps of paint and he said the heck with it, I'm leaving.  Now, I don't know that it was the smell but whenever I came near him with that paint he left and I was being real quiet about it to try not to spook him.

It says that it will also repel other bugs; ants, spiders and such so I think I'll mix some in some water and spray my foundation and bottom run of siding.  I don't have any problem with bugs coming in the house now but it never hurts to do a little preventative work.  I wonder if it would repel chickens??

Oh, one note: I realize the bees are not actually ingesting my house.  They are chewing it up and spitting it out.  Same thing.  Same problem.


Ed said...

Google-fu... I like that term!

Lisa in Bammer said...

Thanks for the info! These things love my house and carport and I had no idea how to get rid of them. I wasn't too worried about the house because a lot of that wood is to be replaced during the remodel. Now I know what to spray it with once it is replaced!

tammy (grendel fan) said...

I am having the same problem and would like to know how this stuff last over time. So if you could update as some later date as if the stuff is holding up. Would greating appreciate. Also what was the approx. cost and coverage?
Have a severe problem with them and was like you, hated to kill the critters. I wonder where i can get the stuff?

Anonymous said...


This new treated wood using copper compounds is a joke! The bees eat it like candy. The lawyers were successful in getting the arsenic based treatment replaced with something that doesn't work AND attacks fasteners. I've been told that a badminton racket works great on those boring bees, I prefer to use a strip of wood! There are plenty of bees out there and plenty of dead trees, leave my house alone!

Take care,


edifice rex said...

Hey Ed! yeah! I must admit I stole it from karl though!

Hey Lisa! you're welcome! yeah, I think on new wood it would work very well.

Hey Tammy! I will certainly let ya'll know how it lasts. I'm very interested in that myself.

Hey Barry! If I'm not mistaken, because I started this house so long ago, some of my PT stuff is the old, good coating and they still eat it! Well, I still hate to kill them. :) I did in anger once and just about cried!

Pablo said...

Does it stain or leave a color behind? Can you paint (or apply stain) over it? Does the smell go away (or do you just get used to it)?

I've had some carpenter bees show an interest in my cabin. I had to kill one recently and spent the afternoon apologizing for it.

edifice rex said...

Hey Pablo! well, you mix it directly in the paint or stain so it does not leave a film or such and this can be painted over etc. You can mix it with water and spray it over paint or stain but I don't know if this leaves a sheen or what because I didn't do it that way. I will try a small bit and see what happens.
The smell diminishes. It's not near as strong once it dries.

Floridacracker said...

Very useful info! Thanks Annie.

Annie Mouse said...

maybe this isn't the time or place to say that i actually put up blocks of wood for these little critters to nest in?

I also have let the Rose of Sharon run wild in the back yard, cause not only humming birds and butterflies like them, but so do honey and bumble bees. Not many of the bees around here. so I encourage them, And keep the epi pen handy.

edifice rex said...

Hey annie! Oh I do too! I've put up several blocks of wood (away from the house) just for the bees to try to encourage them elsewhere, but they don't go for it. I plant large patches of flowers just for the bees and butterflies too and they love the garden.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Annie, if this product works on all types of bugs, it's one I would try because we gets lots of skeeters. There are some carpenter bees, but we haven't seen them nesting or maybe don't know they are since this is an old house. Good info and nice to find something that's natural and works too!