Deck resurfacer to repel carpenter bees

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Old 04-27-18, 10:30 AM
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Deck resurfacer to repel carpenter bees

I have had recurring issues with carpenter bees at my deck and shed. I took care of them a couple years ago with insecticide dust in their holes (and plugged the holes), but they've come back to start chewing again. Right now I plan to paint and use a repellent additive in the paint, to see if that deters them. I know I could spray the wood with a residual insecticide, but I'd prefer to save that option for last.

Has anyone had any luck using a deck resurfacer, like Behr Deckover or Rustoleum Restore, to create a physical barrier to the bees? Or will they chew through that like regular wood?
 
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Old 04-27-18, 01:47 PM
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Carpenter bees are less likely to chew into painted/stained wood but it's not something that will stop them. I don't know if the thicker coating of a deck restore finish will hinder them or not. Personally I wouldn't apply that stuff to a deck! It will look nice for awhile but once it starts to fail it will take a LOT of work to make it look nice again.
 
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Old 04-27-18, 02:22 PM
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So far on the deck they've only gone after the joists. The deck surface is below eye level when you're on the ground, so the joists are really only visible if you're going under it for storage or whatnot. I'd be willing to deal with ugly there, if it kept them from chewing through.

Of course then maybe they'd just move on to the posts and chew them up instead.
 
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Old 04-27-18, 02:39 PM
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The bad thing is the bees don't just drill straight in, they turn and can hollow out multiple chambers across the board. They are less likely to eat PT wood but I have seen then do it.
 
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Old 04-27-18, 08:00 PM
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Oh yes. When I was treating them before, I sent a puff of dust in one hole, and it came out another hole about a foot away.

If the paint and repellent combo doesn't work, I guess I'll just up the ante and use the insecticide. The deck coatings are more expensive than insecticide anyway, and at least I know the insecticide will work.
 
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Old 04-27-18, 11:49 PM
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I can only say I've never seen anyone on this site (or another I frequent) be happy long-term with the 'resurfacer' products you mentioned.
 
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Old 04-28-18, 05:28 AM
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Get yourself some of this.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Enoz-16-...47-1/206742597
I mix some in a pump sprayer using hot water so it will dissolve faster and shake the poop out of it to make sure it's really mixed up.
Main ingredient is Boric Acid and will kill a wide range of insects by dehydrating them, not poisoning them.
Do not just spray it in the holes, spray down all the exposed wood.
 
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Old 04-28-18, 06:11 AM
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I've had good luck with cans of hornet spray applying a couple cans a couple times per summer.

Eventually what ever you apply gets washed off so this is pretty easy!
 
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Old 04-29-18, 03:49 PM
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Carpenter bees like the undersides of wooden members, sometimes will drill into posts if there is a railing close overhead. They like overhead environments. That's why we sometimes see them under aluminum soffits, even though they can't drill through them. They simply like that overhead environment.

The deck restorer stuff is an interesting idea since it will be out of site. Otherwise, I've not met people happy with it. It would certainly change the composition of the exposed wood to the bees.

I've known of people to successfully use window screening, metal, cut and stapled to the wood they want to protect. Not aesthetically pleasing, but that doesn't sound like a factor in your case.

I've never met anyone on the "pro" side of pest control that ever said anything good about the paint additives. It's one of those easy and maybe too good to be true ideas. If you do go ahead with the paint, make sure it's not exterior latex, as I doubt that latex would work.

Keep us posted.
 
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Old 04-29-18, 07:18 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone!

The biggest hurdle I face is that the shed that they're going after is in the middle of the wife's vegetable garden, so I have to try to avoid options that would run off, drift during application, etc. The deck, on the other hand, is fair game for pretty much anything. (Keeping the bees alive for pollination purposes would probably be appreciated, but I have to draw a line somewhere.)

The screening option is also worth considering.

Shoot, maybe I'll just get a couple gallons of epoxy and paint everything with that. If they can get through that, they can have the shed.
 
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Old 05-01-18, 02:08 PM
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So here's a follow-up question on my previous treatment. I treated the bee holes during the summer with dust, and sealed the holes with epoxy wood filler, and called it good.

When I was inspecting things today, I noticed small holes through the wood filler. Maybe 2-3 millimeters, not the full round 1/2 inch hole. You think that I wound up sealing eggs in and they were trying to chew their way out during the fall? Or is somebody trying to chew back into the existing holes?
 
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Old 05-01-18, 02:46 PM
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Dusting the holes should have killed the bees including any that hatched out. It isn't uncommon for the bees to return to the same wood to lay more eggs.
 
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Old 05-01-18, 03:24 PM
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I suspect that parasitic wasps or the equivalent may have made the smaller holes though I'm not sure. The newly hatched carpenter bees don't emerge until about September or so, depending where one lives. I can't imagine a full size carpenter bee would make a smaller hole to lay eggs, though they do re-use holes from year to year though it sounds like you did everything correctly to prevent that.
 
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Old 05-01-18, 04:15 PM
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Hmm. Well, a full-size bee certainly wasn't getting through those little holes. I'm not sure what size a juvenile carpenter bee is. I dusted and sealed up before September, so maybe it was the babies trying to get out. Guess I'll dust them and seal them again for good measure.

If I decide to go with a spray-on residual insecticide, would esfenvalerate be a reasonably safe one to use? I see mention that it's used on/around crops. I wouldn't be doing direct application to the vegetables, but there is a risk of wind drift or overspray. Either that, or a natural pyrethrin. (Am I allowed to mention brand names?)
 
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Old 05-01-18, 04:53 PM
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They emerge from the egg/larvae/pupae as adults. Here's a Penn State article that has good info. Penn State is always a good source for entomology and agriculture. So are Ohio State, U of Kentucky.

Esfenvalerate would not be my choice. If you already have it, then use it but be prepared to use it probably weekly during carpenter bee season. The residual life won't be long on unfinished wood surfaces. On non-absorbent surfaces it would be longer though.

The best choices of insecticides for carpenter bees are the wettable powders and suspensions. Both are concentrates and mixed with water. They last much longer on unfinished wood, unsealed concrete, bricks and other porous surfaces. Sevin, which comes as a wettable powder or a suspension (looks like a thin milkshake) are examples that would work on unfinished wood. Should be available in hardware stores, big box stores, feed mills. It is an agricultural use product so maybe it will be a good choice. It is a residual, so you don't want it on flowers, blooms, buds, etc. as it would kill pollinating bees. Don't use it indoors as it's not labeled for that and don't use it on any desirable darker surfaces as it will leave a milky white surface.

Besides Sevin, look for the active ingredients: Lambda Cyhalothrin; Deltamethrin; Sevin is a brand name for the active ingredient: Carbaryl. The other two active ingredients will have varioius brand names depending on where you buy it.

http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/carpenter-bees
 

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Old 05-01-18, 09:04 PM
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Thank you for the link.

The esfenvalerate I was looking at was FenvaStar EcoCap. It claims to have a residual time of 2-3 months. You find those claims to be high? I also saw Harmonix, which claims 28 day residual and is sold as a botanical (non-synthetic, I guess) pyrethrin.

Unfortunately, it appears that Sevin is reformulating from Carbaryl to Zeta-Cypermethrin. https://citybugs.tamu.edu/2018/02/14/sevin-not-sevin/ How does that stack up for this purpose? I know Zeta-Cypermethrin and Bifenthrin are in Bug-B-Gone, which the wife has used in the garden.

Most of the Lambda-Cyhalothrin products I looked at say to not use on edible crops. There's one that says "lawn and garden" and can be used on vegetables, but it's 0.5% active ingredient, vs. 9.7%, so I don't know how effective it would be as a residual on wood.

It's starting to look like I should let the bees destroy the shed and rebuild in a better location.
 
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Old 05-02-18, 10:37 AM
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The EcoCap should be good as it is a micro-encapsulated formulation. I didn't know they made one with fenvalerate. Sevin switching to cypermethrin is interesting. I did a quick search online of stores nearby such as walmart and HD, and they still have the carbaryl formulation. Every state has the power to regulate what is sold, when, etc. so that can be an issue. Cypermethrin, would be good too, especially if it is a wettable powder. Wettable powders and micro-caps will work much better on porous surfaces such as bare wood. Even then you won't get the long term residual when using it against carpenter bees. Just pay attention after treatment and re-treat, at least spot re-treat when/if you see fresh chewings that go deeper than the surface as it means the residual isn't good enough at least on that spot/area.

The Lambda products are still my choice for carpenter bees. You're allowed to treat near crops, just not on the crops. I suspect you will be using a compressed air sprayer which will have much more control than a power sprayer.

Harmonix is new to me but it would be far down on my list for carpenter bees. For this one to work, you'd have to be ready to treat weekly which isn't a big deal as carpenter bee activity only lasts for a month or two. Also time your treatment when they are in the holes, such as morning, evening as long as you can still see.

What about wrapping screen around the bottom edge of the shed to keep them off the joists? Maybe they are in the soffit, too.
 
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Old 05-02-18, 01:04 PM
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I actually found some Carbaryl Sevin concentrate at the local big box retailer today. The inside display had the Carbaryl formula, and the garden center display had the new Cypermethrin.

The shed is, quite frankly, a royal PITA. It's built onto a slope, so it would actually be easier and use less material to screen the underside of the joists individually than to wrap around the bottom of the shed. It has a gambrel roof with open soffits. I've only found evidence of the bees on the underside, except for a couple through-and-through holes in the T1-11 siding.

How much of a residual effect will the Carbaryl Sevin have? Am I better off returning it and just going straight to the Lambda products? Here's what my thoughts are right now: Dust the holes, epoxy them shut in a few days, then paint with oil-based paint and repellent (because I already have it). Monitor and spray areas of new activity with either Sevin or Lambda. How does that sound?
 
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Old 05-03-18, 05:35 AM
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Stay with the carbaryl. That would be a high choice for me too. The reason that pro's don't use it for carpenter bees is that there are no other commercial uses for it whereas Lambda and the others have multi-uses for us. The carbaryl dust, when inside the holes either as a dust or water based spray, should have a residual life of a year or more, easily. You can also make a paste out of the carbaryl dust using minimal water as a patch/plug and push it in with a tool or something prior to epoxy. Might be easier than working with the raw dust but will give same results/residual.

I like your plan; I would suggest/remind that it would be good to kill the bees that are building and nesting in the holes now, as they will be the most determined to re-infest. That is best done right before dark or very early in am, depending on your preference. Any spray, including aerosols sprayed into holes would kill the bees. You'll hear them buzzing when hit. Then go with your plan the next day or so.

I think I'm picturing your shed a little better. Does sound like some complications compared to more convention sheds.
 
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Old 05-03-18, 05:40 AM
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I normally dust the holes with sevin dust as it's cheap and effective. I assume once their body gets coated with the dust they don't live long and the dust is still in the hole when the eggs hatch.
 
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Old 05-04-18, 08:59 AM
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I actually used a different dust (had it left over from the last time), but it has knocked them down effectively.

Thank you all for your help! I'll revisit if I have any further issues.

And yes, the shed is certainly not "conventional." The Catch-22 is, if it were built normally, I wouldn't have noticed the bee damage. But if it were built normally, it also wouldn't be a problem if it fell over where it was. On a slope, I have nightmares of a cartwheeling shed.
 
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Old 05-04-18, 09:17 AM
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If you have so many check this link https://www.myfrugalhome.com/how-to-...nter-bee-trap/about how to build a carpenter bee trap and stop them before they get started.
 
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Old 05-07-18, 02:23 PM
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I tried a trap in the past, and unfortunately I found it to be not very effective.

It also seems my old dust wasn't as effective as I thought. Maybe it degraded from being stored in the shed? Or maybe I just got a new set of bees who moved into the area, since new holes showed up.

Anyway, a follow-up question on residuals: I have a can of foaming carpenter bee killer that contains Lambda and Prallethrin. Is all Lambda considered "residual?" With Esfenvalerate, you said it isn't a good residual unless it's an encapsulated version. Is Lambda the same way?
 
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Old 05-08-18, 06:09 AM
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Lambda is a micro-cap always. Good product for spiders too. Iím sure that new bees are moving in right now as this is their active time of year. Breeding and egg laying and nest building are powerful forces. Itís all they do this time of year.
 
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Old 05-08-18, 07:32 AM
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Thanks. The science and technology in all these different products is quite interesting.

I guess there may actually have been a decrease in activity for a few days, before more riff-raff moved into the neighborhood.
 
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