Monday, June 18, 2012

Carpenter Bees in the Junque Yard

I'm mainly referencing this article, because the behaviors of the bees are spot on.

I have had a growing problem with carpenter bees chewing up my back patio overhang.  As the article suggests, it's a relatively untreated wood, and probably the only untreated wood I have on my property.

And carpenter bees think it's yummy.

The first time I saw it happen, I had NO idea what was going on.  The big fuzzy bee was making crunching noises right in front of my eyes.  Then there was a pile of wood dust on the ground below it.  Overnight, there was a hole in my wood.  I was fascinated, and yet knew it was probably very disruptive. So I started reading about it, and yup...the momma bees release a pheromone that the babies remember, and come back to in the fall.  We plugged up that hole, and kept watch over the summer. Nothing happened, and no other holes were made.

The next couple of years my porch didn't see much action, and I was relieved.  Maybe that one bee released a pheromone that said, "NOT WELCOME HERE."

But this year, the bees are coming in droves. We've got 2 new holes, and we've been doing what we can to get the bees out of them.

I am so against killing bees with the bee shortage out there. We need them to pollinate our food plants so badly that in California, there are bee keepers who keep their hives on trucks, and just driving around to various orchards so that the trees can be pollinated.


Bees are dying left and right, due to something called "Colony Collapse Disorder." Which is fancy phrase that means scientists don't know why colonies of bees are just dying. It's been having for many years now, and the closest thing that can be attributed to it is insecticides and human progression eating up the land and giving the bees no where to go.  Lately, I've seen something about mites on the bees that are also part of the problem. But I bet the mites have been around forever, and it's a smoke blowing technique to take the blame off of insecticides.

But that's me...I'm a conspiracy theory nut.


I've toyed with the idea of keeping a hive. In the city, I don't have much to fear from animals (like bears) ransacking beehives. Heck, I've never even seen a deer around the neighborhood. Not that deer are a threat to bees. But you get what I'm saying.  But I can't afford the liability of my neighbors getting stung. And really, I don't want to get stung (I do have a few girly traits that pop up here and there)

So I compromise, and try to go lots of things with pretty flowers that encourage bees to stay in the area. All my neighbors have gardens in one fashion or another. From container gardens to raised beds, to flower and rose gardens, we run the gamut here. And we all share produce and plants, which I think is pretty cool.

But I cannot have bees chewing my patio overhang until it falls down around my ears.'s a struggle. But a worthy one.

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