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Banner year for carpenter bees and other springtime pests

Flies, ants and bugs always return in spring. This year marks a bumper crop of carpenter bees that bore holes in homes.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The sunny days of spring in April include beautiful blooms, and all the pests and critters that bug our homes.  

Some insects are merely a nuisance, but others can do real damage.  Whatever the pest, spring is always a busy time of year for Will Bullard at Dayton's Pest Control in Knoxville.

"During spring, you typically have a lot of general pests coming out," said Bullard.  "Termites are starting to swarm. They swarm every spring. So, if you see what looks to be flying ants, they could be swarming termites.  Not to mention ants, spiders and earwigs."

Of all the seasonal pests, this year seems especially busy for a big buzzing bee that hovers around wooden surfaces.

Credit: WBIR
A carpenter bee hovers in search of a spot to bore into a wooden deck in Knoxville.

"We're having a banner year for carpenter bees. We're getting more calls than ever for those. They seem to be out in full effect," said Bullard.  "They are wood-boring bees that kind of look like bumblebees. They hover. They're not social, so you won't see a swarm of them. But they're around your decks, any soffits that are made of wood. If you see hovering bees with sawdust or entry and exit holes, you may be in need of a carpenter bee treatment."

Not all things that buzz are bad. Honeybees and other pollinators are vital for plants. But you want to seal all entry points to keep the best and worst insects out of your home.

For carpenter bees, you often see homemade do-it-yourself traps hanging outside log homes in the mountains. Bullard said the traps don't hurt anything, but you need to treat the wood with a repellent to truly protect the home.

Credit: WBIR
A homemade carpenter bee trap hanging outside a cabin near Gatlinburg.

"Those traps, they will catch some. So let's say they go into one of those carpenter bee traps, that catches that one bee.  But what about the other bee that's 10 feet down that's boring into the wood?  The traps are not going to stop your home from being damaged.  You really need to spray the surface with a pyrethrin treatment to stop them from boring into the wood."

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