KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – If you've seen carpenter bees flying around your yard this spring, you're not alone.
They are buzzing, biting wood to build their nests, damaging properties in the process.
"To begin with, they are a nuisance," said Professor Karen Vail.
And that comes from an entomologist.
Vail had no problem finding the old carpenter bee holes to show what damage they can do.
"What they do is drill through the grain, then they make a right-angle turn and their tunnels, their galleries, will go around here," he said.
Once the bees are in that hole in the wood of your house, they do not leave.
And now that?
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"They are pollinators, so it depends on whether you want to keep pollinators alive and allow your home to be damaged, or if you are very concerned about preserving your home, you may want to do something," Vail said.
Let's say you want the carpenter bees to live, but not near you.
You can wait until they fly off for the day and seal the holes with putty. If you do not want to wait for that, try some of the DIY tricks that are offered online.
"There are so many creative traps of carpenter bees out there," Vail said.
But do any of them work?
One tip suggests playing loud music near bees to scare them away.
"I do not think you're going to dissuade her with music," Vail said of the queen bee.
She said that once they find a place to start nesting, they have a hard time leaving.
Some claim that citrus essential oils or tea trees can scare away bees if they are sprayed into holes.
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"It is possible that you can kill bees in contact, but you will not kill what is developing in that gallery," said Vail.
That same concept applies to beating the bees with a tennis racket.
Maybe you will kill some of the male bees that loom, but the females are inside working.
An online gimmick said that filling holes with aluminum foil works, but Vail said that it is too thin and that bees can simply bite it.
A favorite in the Facebook rounds shows a brown plastic bag filled with other plastic bags, hanging in the corner of the house to resemble a nest of false wasps that would deter bees.
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"I do not think that without the real thing present, I do not think that also has much effect," Vail said.
Some people have had excellent results with these hacks, stating that they have not seen any carpenter bee since they tested them.
Others, not so much.
Vail said the only safe way to get rid of carpenter bees is to use insecticidal dust.
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"It will not absorb into the wood," he said. "It will fill that void, and when that new generation comes out, these new groups of bees emerge, go through that gallery and expose themselves to the insecticide and die."
Spray insecticides will only eliminate bees in the vicinity.
You can place that insecticide yourself or hire a professional to handle the pests.
Vail said that if you can, replacing the wood siding with vinyl siding in a house will keep carpenter bees away. Wood is your favorite place to nest because it is soft enough to chew.