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Carpenter Bees - Life Cycle & When to Treat?

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Posted by Joan Deschamps on 20:18:06 7/18/2008 from

I just bought this house last month, and just discovered Carpenter Bees last week. Hard to miss, as I had to walk under them to get to my front door; and dodge them to get into my garage! Needless to say the former owners gave me no advance warning of the treat I was in for! (But thanks to you, I'm not afraid of them!) This week I've read all the information on the UnExCo Carpenter Bee page and everything posted about CBs on this Message Board. I truly appreciate all the helpful information; but I was left wondering about the life cycle of CBs, so I continued looking. I found a couple of good sites (thank you, Google) that explain the life cycle; so now I'm back here with questions about what I’m seeing and the implications for best time to treat.

My summary of the life cycle as gleaned from the Ohio State University Extension is: males and females over winter as adults and emerge in April and early May to mate; males are not long-lived, and females die soon after creating the brood cells; the life cycle from egg to larva to pupa to adult is completed in about 7 weeks, after which new adults typically remain in their gallery for several weeks; new adults venture outside in late August to gather pollen to store in the gallery in preparation for Old Man Winter and they also spend time hanging-out inside the gallery until time to hibernate. So what am I seeing this time of year? Last year’s adults who are getting a late start on the Spring mating ritual? This year’s adults who couldn’t wait until August to taste the nectar? Am I likely to have just females and eggs in the galleries, and should I be “addling the eggs” now? Or should I wait until October when all of this year’s “new” adults are snuggled in their galleries to winter over, treat with WD40 and caulk the entrance hole before the first hard freeze? (And is caulking effective if you can’t paint the area?) Or should I be treating with WD40 periodically between now and fall, hoping to interfere with nectar gathering? Since I don’t know what part of the life cycle I’m dealing with, I’m not sure how to focus my energy. I’m concerned about finding as many entrance holes as possible, and wondering just how many times my old hip and knee joints will permit scrambling up and down a ladder at night. I will appreciate any advice you can give me! (And I do apologize if, in my CB crash-course this week, the answer to my question was right before my eyes but I missed it.)

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