Case Studies

Pests We Treat Case Studies: Carpenter Bees Like Bocce-Ball in Jackson, NJ

Tuesday, May 21st, 2019 by Tom Hayes


Recently, I went on a call for one of our new commercial clients, a community clubhouse in Jackson, NJ. The property manager contacted Cowleys because carpenter bees were seen flying around the bocce-ball courts. Carpenter bees are wood-boring insects that are often mistaken for bumble bees, but, unlike bumblebees, are shiny black in color and have a hairless abdomen. The bees that are seen flying around are the males of the species. 

The males act as sentries, protecting the female from any predators and other male bees while she is in the nest chamber laying her eggs. The female is the one that actually creates the egg chamber by chewing through the wood making a hole just large enough for the bee's bodies to fit. After making the hole the bee angles off an excavating a chamber in which to lay her eggs. Here the larvae will grow until they emerge in the fall as adult bees, finding a place to overwinter. Although the male carpenter bee does not sting, it can become quite a nuisance pest, flying around the area trying to protect the nest. It does not stray too far from the nest, so we know where the areas that need to be treated. 

When I arrived on site, the first thing I noticed were bees flying around one of the bocce-ball courts. The second thing I observed was the construction of the court itself. The borders of the court had boards surrounding the court at a 45-degree angle. The top finished boards were painted which the bees prefer not to bore into, instead preferring unfinished wood, which I discovered under the painted boards during my inspection. 



My challenge was to treat the underside of the boards without getting any product on the court itself. I decided to use a one-gallon air spray tank using a coarse fan spray to treat the underside of the boards with a liquid direct contact solution to keep the bees from constructing their nests. The solution directly targets the carpenter bees and eliminates any returning bees as well as any newly-hatched carpenter bees leaving the gallery. I scheduled a follow-up inspection with the property manager to re-inspect and apply any additional treatments as needed.