Wood bees may not habitually sting humans, but that doesn't mean you should just ignore them when you see them flying around your fence, deck, or other wooden structure. These bees burrow into wooden structures, building nests and tunnels that weaken the wood and cause premature structural damage. If you have some of these big, fuzzy bees in your wooden structures, here's how to get rid of them -- and keep them from coming back.
Apply insecticide spray on the nest openings.
Pay close attention during the daytime, taking note of where the bees are entering the wood. Then, when night falls, apply insecticide to the holes in the wood where you've seen the bees entering. It's important to do this at night because this is when the bees are less active. (Though they don't often sting, they may if provoked.) If you're struggling to see what you're doing, use a red light to illuminate your work area; the bees won't be able to see the light, but you will.
An insecticide spray from your local home improvement store will work just fine for this purpose. Choose one that specifically states that it will kill wood bees or carpenter bees, as those made to kill wasps and other types of bees may not be effective. Use the straw-like applicator attachment, and apply the spray directly inside the hole of the wood, allowing some of it to dribble out around the opening. Treat each hole in the wooden structure.
Plug the holes.
Do not do this immediately. Some bees may not have been in the nest when you treated it with insecticides. You need to wait about a week to ensure that they all return to the nest and brush against the insecticide spray on their way inside. Then, stuff some wadded up steel wool into the opening before filling it with wood putty. The steel wool is impossible for the bees to dig through if they happen to return and try to re-dig their tunnels. Let the wood putty dry, and then paint over the area.
Keep the wood painted.
Wood bees will not usually tunnel into painted wood, so if your fence or deck is not painted, applying a coat of paint is a good protective measure to keep the bees from coming back. Then, make sure you keep the paint in good shape. When an area begins to peel, repaint it before the bees have a chance to find that paintless section.
If you're having trouble eradicating wood bees from your home, talk to a residential pest management company or click to read more.