Killer Bees Attack Our House!

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As spring commenced and the azaleas blossomed, my Beautiful Mystery Companion and I remarked on how the blooms attracted a bounty of bumblebees. They hovered around the blooms and then flew upward and buzzed about the balconies that jut out from our upstairs bedrooms. We both noticed a bit of sawdust on the deck below. She remarked that she had heard bees can bore holes in wood. I didn’t notice any damage so thought little about it, figuring the bees were having a bit of fun in places that did no harm.

Then one morning I heard a loud knocking at the side of the house. It stopped when I opened the side door, resumed when I came back inside. Finally, my BMC snuck outside and announced that a woodpecker was knocking holes into the side of our house. A woodpecker? Why in thunderation would a woodpecker have chosen our house to attack, seeking a repast of insects?

I went outside to investigate and found a half dozen holes in the wooden siding about a dozen feet off the ground, roughly four-to-five inches long and a half-inch or so tall. There were also a couple dozen perfectly round holes about half the size of a dime drilled into the vertical edge of the wood. I immediately thought our home was being attacked by termites, since we had a swarm in early spring. At the time, I called a pest control fellow who came out and zapped the swarm, but he said there was nothing to worry about.

Termites are bad news but certainly treatable. If you have a wood-frame house in East Texas, especially one that is surrounded by trees and other foliage as ours is, chances are strong termites will eventually show up. You just have to be diligent about making sure they don’t eat your house. So I wasn’t particularly worried about it. More money for home maintenance, that’s all. Sigh. I called the pest control fellow again, left a message that it looked like the termites were back.

He came out while I was out of town and gave the scoop to my BMC. First off, he said, termites can’t fly. Thus, if there are holes in your house a dozen feet off the ground, unless there are dirt tunnels rising from the earth to those holes, termites are not the culprits. I guess I should have known that being a licensed real estate inspector, but all I was trained to do was tell the client to call the pest control people at the first sign of trouble. No, our invaders were carpenter bees.

Carpenter bees? I asked. What the heck are carpenter bees? You sure you don’t mean carpenter ants? No, he meant carpenter bees. Those “bumblebees” my BMC and I were admiring are actually marauding, wood-destroying beasts that are not pollinating flowers or making honey, or doing whatever the heck the good bees are doing. Instead, they are drilling holes into our house at an alarming rate. Then the woodpecker comes along, sees a small hole into which bugs are now flying and decides it’s time to make that into a much larger hole so that he (or she; I have no idea of the gender) can have better access to the bugs.

It is not enough that living in East Texas means putting up with fireants, skateboard roaches, the aforementioned termites, 90 percent humidity, pine pollen and red wasps. Now I have to deal with carpenter bees eating my house? The bad thing is these pests are not easy to get rid of — unlike termites, which are relatively easy to treat. You can put poison in the holes, then putty up and repaint over the putty. But the bees keep buzzing around, looking for a spot you missed or another opportunity to bore a hole.

I went online, of course, seeking information. Some home remedies included making loud noises. So once I had pookied up the holes (that is an East Texas term for puttying up the orifices), and spied a killer bee buzzing around (that’s what I call them, since they are trying to kill my house), I started yelling really loud and waving my hands. This seemed to have no effect, though I think my neighbor might have called the police, because a squad car came through our cul-de-sac, and that rarely occurs.

At least the woodpecker has gone away, presumably back to trying to fell the pine tree nearby. I have also taken to squirting the water hose at the bees when I see them buzzing the house; that works when I’m on bee-sentry duty. Eternal vigilance is the price one must pay for home maintenance.

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  • Alan


    Gary, we had carpenter bees at our house in Longview. The only thing I found that worked against them was a well-swung tennis racket. Over the years, I must have served up tens of dozens of aces with those slow moving bees. They kept coming back and back. Good luck with them!

    • admin


      Alan, That sounds like an excellent idea. Plus I can get some exercise at the same time. Hope you're doing well.

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