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Livin' la Vida Lacy - Trouble with carpenter bees
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Under my carport is unpainted, weathered wood. Guess what this attracts? You guessed it – pesky carpenter bees. Carpenter bees resemble bumblebees, but typically have a shiny, hairless abdomen. Unlike honeybees or bumblebees, carpenter bees do not live in colonies. Instead, adults overwinter individually and tunnel into wood to lay their eggs.

So far, the evidence isn’t too noticeable other than seeing them buzz around my head as I enter my sunroom. Still, I’m not waiting until I see a ton of holes the diameter of my little finger to take action. I’ve heard from several friends that carpenter bees can cause cosmetic and structural damage. Plus, add a little moisture to those holes and you have the perfect combo for rot and decay.

Since a couple of carpenter bees have taken residence in the slits of the wood above my kitchen window, I called Grandpa over for a little DIY prevention test. He plugged up the hole with some steel wool pads. Sadly, that method didn’t work. They ate right through it!

Before I call the professionals, I’m going to try one more tactic. According to a Google search, a natural and easy way to keep carpenter bees away is to make fake hornets nests out of plastic or brown bags and hang them. Apparently, hornets eat carpenter bees.

Hey, I’m all about a chemical-free approach. I’ve even considered ordering one of those Best Bee traps specifically designed to attract and trap them. Still, I have enough stored plastic bags to make plenty of fake hornet nests so fingers crossed that works instead.

Since I’m on the topic of outdoor improvements, I’ve been brainstorming landscaping. I’ve been so hyper focused on the interior renovations that I’ve not thought much about it… until now. Something about seeing the overgrown grass and shrubs in my yard has me wondering which direction to go with the current plants, trees and bushes.

Behind our home, there’s a rose bush, a huge walnut tree that I have a love-hate relationship with, along with some irises and peonies popping up. We had a snowball that bloomed, but it has kind of flopped over now with all the storms. It’s difficult to know which to pull up and which to replant.

I may have been raised in the “Nursery Capital of the World” but that didn’t help me learn much about trees, scrubs and plants. I don’t claim to have a green thumb, but I’m willing to learn. On the plus side, I know who to go to for help. 

Before I was daydreaming about paint colors, but now I’ve moved on to trees. Do I want a graceful weeping silver birch with white bark and long, downward growing shoots or a beautiful blue atlas cedar with evergreen needles that are a light blue gray color? A few others have caught my eye such as the purple robed locust, crape myrtle and serviceberry tree.

At this point, I’m undecided. I may be giving all my nurserymen contacts a call here shortly for more insight and guidance.

Standard reporter Lacy Garrison can be reached at 473-2191.