Thursday, May 12, 2011

Pests, where do you draw the line? – Carpenter Bees

If the ants weren’t aggravating enough, we’ve got another annoyance on our hands.   As the weather warms up, the urge to get up, get out, and enjoy my backyard grows.  One small issue – or not so small as these are the BIGGEST bees I’ve ever seen.
From what I’ve read, they aren’t anything more than a pest.  The females rarely sting and the males can’t.  Sure, they will eat the wood of things, but they don’t eat enough or quickly enough for there to be real structural damage.  
My husband however,  is NOT a fan of bees.  If one of these guys comes too close or he sees too many of them, he will retreat back inside and I’m left to grab dinner off the grill.  I grew up with apple trees in the back yard and no discernable fear of bees. I will grant, however, that my husband has the right be unnerved.  These  guys are scary.    They are large and the males are territorial, and will buzz around you in strafing runs, hovering a few feet away from you buzzing angrily.   One is bad enough, but I’ve had days where I’ve been out there where there are 2 or 3 around the deck at a time. 

I’m stubborn.  It’s my deck, my home, and they are NOT conscientious tenants.  It had gotten bad enough that I felt in danger of being pushed off my own turf and surrendering the deck to them.  Wait. . what? Surrender.  Never.   
Monday I had a lack of patience and implemented a fix.  As I didn’t have any putty at the time, I used what I did have.  I grabbed the cement mix and started plugging holes.  Once they are plugged in they aren’t supposed to be able to get out!  Wonderful right?
Well I did this right as I got home from work on Monday night.  It was still sunny—what I ended up doing was locking them out of their homes. They were not happy.    Robyn was over that night, we armed ourselves with  spray bottles and a broom.  The bees were going down.
I know the bees just wanted to get home, I know they technically weren’t harming us.  This was an ingrained, instinctual battle for territory.  It was an epic battle, they fought valiantly, we got about 5 of them through the hour or so that came after.   This however wasn’t enough.  I work from home some days, and went to enjoy the deck only to have 3 of these resilient fellows buzzing around throughout the day. 
While out last night I picked up some outdoor putty.  I waited for it to be dark and went and plugged the new holes and the ones I’d missed the day before.  

I don’t think this is over, and I don’t know who will break first.  Will they be trapped inside and will I have gotten them all?  Or will I break and go nope, no more environmentalist give me the Raid and/or call the exterminator.

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