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Discussion Starter #1
I've been watching over the past week as carpenter bees force their way into my hive. I have the entrance reducer in, set to the larger opening, though backed off a little from the entrance. Also a cork hole in the middle box.

Today I decided to go try to do something about it. I have no idea where their colony was, but I have been seeing them crawling on the ivy in front of my girls' hive, so that's where I started. Stomped about 10 there, then covered the area in a couple hundred pounds of sand. Then I set up shop sitting on a cinderblock next to the hive entrance with my pocket knife and killed them as they crawled up the front. Probably another 20 before I had to go.

Everything I have read tells me Carpenter bees are a small colony species, but that was a higher body count than I was expecting. Last year, there were absolutely none. None that I saw anyway.

Any ideas about how to trap or kill more? Can't find the nest, unless its in the old mulch I poured the sand on. And obviously proximity to my girls would rule out pesticide.
 

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they dont nest in mulch, must be enough wood to tunnel in. if they have made tunnels in your hive, they leave a scent that will bring in more even if you kill all you have now. wood putty or "bondo" in the tunnels seems to work. good luck,mike
 

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Tunnels IN my hive? How likely is that? They would actually burrow into the wood of the hive boxes? There are trees just across the stream, that has to be the more likely source, right?
 

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Mike, correct... but it does happen sometimes. Carpenter bees are fiercely territorial though.. and more than likely that's the reason they are hanging out in front of your hives is that they see each honey bee as a potential contender for female carpenter bee attention. Usually they'll just chase the girls around and the girls for the most part just ignore them. I've never seen a carpenter bee try to gain entrance into a hive before though. I have seen bumble-bees do that though, could you be seeing bumble-bees instead of carpenter bees perhaps?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, I examined the outside and underside of the hive and didn't find any bore holes like carpenter bees make.

I'm pretty sure these are carpenter bees, but I'm certainly no expert, so I'll work on a pic for tomorrow. Its dark now, and I never saw anymore of whatever they are after my onslaught early this afternoon.

My own limited online research found the best match to be Xylocopa virginica, and it really does look exactly like what I was seeing. But more opinions would be helpful.
 

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SOunds like Bumble Bees to me. They burrow in the ground. Carpenter bees bore into wood, and leave a perfect looking 3/8th inch hole. I have found that a badminton racket does wonders for eliminating the carpenter bee population.
 

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Carpenter Bees and Bumble Bees are very similar in size and coloring. But you will notice that Carpenter Bees have somewhat smooth hairless bodies, and Bumble Bees are hairy. Pretty easy to spot once you look for it.
 

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I had one fly REALLY CLOSE(bumble bee) to my hive while doing an inspection and WHAM, the girls were after it like stink on.......I have seen them kill them on the landing boards and long before the landing boards....always bumble bees though, never carpenter bees....
 

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I have been seeing a few very large bumble type bees that have a bright orange stripe across their back, what are these? I haven't been able to get a pic.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, I botched the photo. Long story.

To get to the heart of the matter, whatever they are, I am going to reduce the entrance, and close up the cork hole. I'm certain it is encouraging robbing from whatever these things are.

Incidentally, I'm thinking about drilling a hole through the cork to act as an entrance reducer. What size do you guys recommend? 3/8"? 1/4"?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok, saw a REAL carpenter bee at work and what I am seeing is nowhere near as big as that. Drones maybe? Look so much bigger alive.
 
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