Saturday, May 7, 2016

Carpenter Bees And The Damage They Cause

Termites and carpenter ants are the most destructive insects of wood in structures found in the United States. Yet another insect that must be addressed are Carpenter Bees. Although not as destructive as termites, or carpenter ants, carpenter bees can do their fair share of damage to the exterior of structures. During the summer months, Home Inspectors and Pest Control Professionals (PCP) will be attentive to the damage that results from an infestation of carpenter bees.

                                                                    Characteristics of Carpenter Bees

                                                                                   Carpenter Bee
Carpenter bees Closely resemble bumble bees in that they both have a stocky or robust build. The major difference in their physical characteristic is that the top surface of the abdomen of the carpenter bee is bare black and shiny, whereas the bumble bee has many body hairs and appears fuzzy. Carpenter bees have a dense area of hairs on the hind legs, bumble bees however have dense yellow hairs on the abdomen and large pollen baskets on the hind legs.

                                                                           Structural Damage

                                                                               Carpenter Bee Damage
Carpenter bees do not eat wood, but the females bore circular holes, about 1/2 inch wide at a right angle for about an inch deep into the wood they infest. They begin to excavate galleries in the direction of the wood grain for about 4-6 inches and this is where they make their nest. They can nest in all species of dried seasoned wood, but they prefer softwood like cedar, redwood, cypress, pine, and fir. They will bore in wooden members on houses such as eves constructed with pine and on decks, fences and dead tree limbs.  It's these areas that home inspectors and pest control professionals will take a closer look to determine if any activity exist. Carpenter bees are known to return to the same wood year after year to drill nests and lay eggs. If left untreated the wooden members can weaken resulting in costly repairs.

How can you determine if carpenter bees are nesting in structural wood on your property? If you see a number of bees hovering around the eves for an example, they're protecting the entrance to a gallery and will chase away any intruders, including humans. The males do not sting, however who wants to wait around to determine males from females? If you suspect you have carpenter bees, call a pest control operator. Many have found closing the holes with corks helpful. Painting the wood will not protect it from carpenter bees, but it is helpful since they prefer bare, exposed wood. Some pest control professionals as a last resort use a pesticide in the form of dust that's applied inside the galleries that acts as a residual and is effective in the control of carpenter bees.

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Thursday, September 17, 2020

Yellowjackets - How To Reduce An Infestation

Yellowjackets are very aggressive insects that, when threated, has the ability to inflict very painful stings to its victim multiple times. Its best to stay clear away from them, but just as important, property owners and managers must prevent an infestation.
Yellowjackets resemble Honey Bees because of their similar size and color, however unlike honey bees, yellowjackets are hairless.
There are about 16 species in North America, but three species - the eastern yellowjacket, the southern yellowjacket and the German yellowjacket are the main causes for concern to humans. Depending on the species, the adult workers are about 3/8-5/8" long, but the queens are about 25% larger.

What You Need To Know -  Yellowjackets are seen during the summer months but can be much more visible and in greater numbers in the late summer and early fall season. There are many things that will attract these pests onto properties such as:

1. Overgrown vegetation - if grass, shrubs and bushes are overgrown this will become an ideal area for them to build their nests, either in the dirt or on the shrubs and bushes. This becomes a real problem when people or pets come near the area. It too presents a stinging problem when someone attempts to do any landscaping in the area. So it's important to keep landscapes in good condition.

2. Building Maintenance - building maintenance is very important, since these insects like to nest in open wall voids, such as loose siding, gaps in outside molding, unrepaired or loose brick work, loose facia boards, openings in PVC fences etc. The point is keeping the outside building in good repair will help keep yellowjackets and other stinging insects from nesting on the structure.

3, Garbage - during the late summer into early fall, yellowjackets change their diets to sugar and fatty foods. Keep in mind however that they are opportunistic and will eat whatever is available such as ripe fruit, meat, sweets and garbage. This makes them especially a problem with outdoor eating. They are also found around garbage dumpsters and trash compactors at commercial properties. 

Keeping the inside of garbage cans clean, as well as the lids fully closed will help keep them away, Garbage dumpsters and trash compactors should be cleaned regularly- including scummy build up. In addition to this, keeping the garbage area clean from food scrapes, and liquid spills will help prevent and infestation.


4. Perfumes and Colognes -  yellowjackets are attracted to the scent of perfume and colognes. So  during the warm months be aware that perfumes and colognes can result in yellowjackets flying around and following you when outside. When you start to swat at them is when they often go into attack mode.

Taking practical steps can help avoid an infestation and attacks from yellowjackets.

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