Keeping Your Home Carpenter Bee Free

Carpenter Bees rarely cause structural damage to homes unless they have been drilling and nesting in the same wood for years at a time. More likely damage will happen when woodpeckers hear the Carpenter Bee larvae in the nests and then start to damage the wood in order to get at a tasty meal.

Treatments

Treatment as related to Carpenter Bees usually means taking control of the nesting areas by eliminating the bees or using products to repel the bees.

When to treat: (1) It is a good idea to treat in the spring, when bees are first observed, (2) again in mid-summer to kill any bees which may not have acquired a sufficient treatment when they emerged, and a third time in early fall to contact any over-wintering bees occupying the tunnels.

Carpenter Bees like many other bees are very effective pollinators. Currently, there is a global shortage of pollinators which is threatening  farmers’ livelihoods and our food supply.  Due to this concern, please consider pesticide-free alternatives when treating Carpenter Bee nests.

Pesticide Free Treatment and Prevention

Carpenter Bees emerge in early Spring from their nests and start to collect pollen.  On sunny, warm days, Carpenter Bees, both male and female, will leave the nesting holes. The females who are the active drillers will collect pollen to bring back to the nest, which will eventually feed the young.  At this time, you can safely use a coat hanger to eliminate any larvae in the nesting site by inserting the wire into the nest and breaking up any larval activity. Coat the holes in almond oil or NBS 30. Once that is done plug the holes with a small ball of aluminum foil and caulk the holes with wood caulk or fill in the hole with a wooden dowel.

To further prevent Carpenter Bee nesting, spray NBS 30 Insect Repellent, a mix of plant oils that makes wood smell unpleasant to Carpenter Bees as well as drilling wasps and ladybugs. Apply the repellent after plugging the holes in early Spring. NBS 30 can be mixed with water for a temporary (30-60 day) topical solution or mixed with wood finish (always in the last coat applied) for a longer term repellent solution.

To provide alternative nesting options for Carpenter Bees, drill 1/2″ holes in wood blocks and hang them in sheltered areas around your house and deck. The bees will often decide to nest in these blocks, rather than trying to re-drill nests in the fascia and soffits of your home.

Pesticide Treatment and Prevention

Prevention may be accomplished by an insecticide additive like Bug Juice added to standard paint or log home finishes on new structures or when maintenance coats are needed and will eliminate bees.

Treatment as it relates to elimination of Carpenter bees which have already drilled into a structure, involves steps recommended by entomologists which are effective in reducing future nesting activities.

In early Spring, obtain a pesticide, product containing carbaryl (Sevin), cyfluthrin or resmethrin. Insert this in the nesting hole. Wait for the bees to exit the hole, then plug the hole with aluminum foil and either caulk the hole with wood caulk, or use a wooden dowel. Avoid inhaling the insecticide or contaminating your clothing with the spray. Always stand upwind from the surface you’re treating.  Treated tunnels should be sealed with a small ball of aluminum foil and caulked with log caulk, wood putty or filled with a wooden dowel after 24-36 hours.

In conclusion, not everyone has the same level of issues with Carpenter Bees. Unfortunately, when even one hole is evident it should be treated with the full extent of treatment recommended for prevention. Treating one time and forgetting about it does not work! Monitor the situation from year to year in order to stay on top of the issue. An ounce of prevention………


 

 

 

Tips for Preventing and Treating Cluster Flies

In late Fall and early Winter many homeowners notice large flies gathering in warm windows, in attics and loft spaces. These flies are called Cluster Flies. During Winter, Cluster Flies hibernate indoors where it is warm. You will often find them “clustered” in groups on the warm sides of your home. Jackie Davis from Cottage Life states, “Cluster flies don’t feed, breed, or lay eggs inside, so if you do nothing, they’ll either leave on their own, or die”. Really, they are just a nuisance, with their loud buzzing and the feeling of unease created by having creepy crawlies on your ceiling. Here are a couple ways to keep your home Cluster Fly free this Winter.

Close all cracks and crevices on your home

The first and best defense against Cluster Flies is to keep them from coming into your home. Cluster Flies are attracted to the warmth of a heated space and usually enter homes through small cracks and crevices. Make sure to seal up all these areas around your home including windows, doors, siding, utility pipes, behind chimneys and under fascia with good quality caulking. Make sure to do this well before cool temperatures arrive.

Patch or replace all window and door screens

Torn window and door screens are a easy way for Cluster Flies to enter your home. Patch or replace these before cool temperatures arrive.

Use a fly swatter or vacuum

If Cluster Flies do get into your home, and on warmer days find their way out of hibernation you will notice their sluggish buzzing around your house.  If they become bothersome, the simple use of a fly swatter can remedy the problem.

A vacuum is also an option if they are clustering in accessible windows or ceilings.

Do not use insecticides

FightBugs.com states that timing of insecticide sprays for Cluster Flies is crucial. Too early and the insecticide gets broken down by the sun and does not effect the flies, too late and the flies are already in your house. In addition, insecticides must be sprayed every year. We do not recommend spraying insecticides on the interior or exterior of your house.  The danger to you and your family far outweighs the benefits. We also do not recommend using an insecticide powder to kill flies where they cluster, this will cause the flies to die in your walls which could then attract Carpet Beetles. Carpet Beetles then feed on the dead flies and can wreak havoc on woolens, dry goods and other natural items in your home.

Practicing preventative tactics is really the best way to deal with Cluster Flies, if they can’t get in, they can’t bother you.  It may take several years of regularly sealing cracks to eliminate Cluster Flies, but in the end your work will pay off.

Reference sites:

http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/cluster-flies

http://www.orkin.com/flies/cluster-flies/

http://cottagelife.com/environment/how-to-get-rid-of-cluster-flies

http://www.fightbugs.com/get-rid-cluster-flies/

Tips for Preventing and Treating Ladybug Infestations

In the Fall, many homeowners experience an overwhelming onset of Ladybugs in their homes. Ladybugs are particularly attracted to homes in wooded areas, homes with natural wood siding that is warmed by the sun, homes with lots of cracks and crevices and are often attracted to light colored areas on homes.  It is thought that the reason they gravitate towards lighter colored surfaces is that those areas mimic their native habitat where they hibernate in sun-warmed limestone cliffs.  There are many options for helping to prevent and treat ladybug issues, check out our recommendations below.

Prevention

Seal all Cracks, Gaps and Crevices

  • Ladybugs enter homes through small cracks and crevices all over the house. Be sure to seal up all cracks around windows, doors, pipes, clap boards and other utility lines that enter the house before the Fall season approaches.
  • Replace mortar and weatherstripping around basement foundation and windows.
  • Repair or replace broken screens on windows and doors.

Spray a Repellent

  • Ladybugs do not like citronella or the smell of mint.
  • Combine peppermint essential oil with water and spray around the areas Ladybugs gather.
  • For exterior areas where they may be entering, spray plant oil based repellent like NBS 30 around entry points to help discourage them.

Set Up a Ladybug House

  • Provide the Ladybugs with another location to over winter that is safe and warm but outside your home by providing them with a Ladybug House.

Plant Mums

  • Mums are a late blooming Fall flower that repel ladybugs. Plant mums around your house, on decks and in window boxes.

Use Diatomaceous Earth

  • Diatomaceous earth is a soft, crumbly, porous sedimentary deposit formed from the fossil remains of single celled algae. Spreading food grade diatomaceous earth around your house, awnings, window seals, etc will often keep Ladybugs away. The substance gets stuck to the Ladybug’s legs, making it unpleasant for them to walk through.

Treatment of Existing Infestations

Ladybugs  are harmless, though they can be a nuisance and often make people uncomfortable. Ladybugs do not eat household items and do not lay eggs while hibernating in the home. Ladybugs will however excrete a stinky yellow substance, (which is actually their blood) when they sense danger, this substance has been known to stain light color objects.  That being said, here are some methods to deal with an existing infestation:

Make an In-Home Repellent Spray

  • Ladybugs don’t like the smell of camphor menthol, citrus or clove scents. Use a couple drops of one of these essential oils mixed with water in a spray bottle and spray in areas where the ladybugs are congregating. Often, they will leave the premises.

Vacuum with Hose Attachment or Shop Vac

  • Ladybugs will often survive vacuuming. To do this humanely as possible, place an old sock on the end of the vacuum nozzle with a rubber band. The suction will pull the ladybugs into the sock and then you can easily transport them outside away from your home.

Caution: Use of topical insecticides or bug bombs on the exterior or interior of your home exposes children, pets and yourself to potentially harmful substances. For everyone’s safety, it is best to stick with sustainable methods of dealing with ladybugs.

Often several seasons of treatment may be necessary to rid your home of Ladybugs but your efforts will usually pay off over time.

Do you have a successful way of preventing Ladybugs? Share your story in the comments section below.

Reference Sites:

http://www.ladybuglady.com/infestation.htm

http://www.todayshomeowner.com/how-to-deal-with-ladybug-infestation/

http://household-tips.thefuntimesguide.com/2010/08/ladybug_infestation.php

http://www.orkin.com/other/beetles/ladybugs-asian-lady-beetles/

 

Product Spotlight: Keep Your Home Insect Free, Naturally!

NBS30

Do you have Carpenter Bees or boring wasps that are drilling holes in your wood?  Ladybugs in the eaves and nooks of your roof and attic? Silverfish coming from your basement? It’s never too early to start thinking about protecting your home from the pesky insects that come out around March or April.   Treat all of these and many more with Outlast™NBS 30, an all-natural, plant oil-based insect repellent.

The benefits of NBS 30 include:

  • Mixes easily with both oil and water-based paints and stains          
  • Can be mixed easily with water for spray application
  • Repels crawling and nesting insects
  • Discourages Carpenter Ants and Bees
  • Reduces Ladybug Infestations
  • All Natural Ingredients
  • 100% Botanical
  • Safe for Pets and People
  • Will Not Harm Plants
  • Extremely Low Toxicity 

 NBS 30 additive is designed for use in exterior oil or water-based coatings where it encapsulates the NBS 30 to provide a “time release” insect repellent.  NBS 30 will deter and inhibit insects from burrowing through or crawling on exterior coatings, and can be used in residential settings as well as dairy facilities, restaurants, parks, playgrounds, agricultural settings, schools, zoos, etc.  NBS 30 is effective in controlling crawling and nesting activity on painted or stained surfaces to which it has been added.  Ants, cockroaches, beetles, mites, spiders, fleas, ticks, silverfish, dirt daubers, bees and wasps are deterred from crawling on, nesting on or burrowing through coatings treated with NBS 30 Additive.

For more information on NBS 30 click here.