Q - It's spring and it seems like we have a bumper crop of carpenter bees. What is the best way to get rid of them?
Hal in Douglasville
A - Hal, this is one of the best and funnest home pest control things that there is. (yes, I wrote 'funnest') It's even more fun that pulling the wings off house flies.
The recommended instrument of destruction for these bees is a badminton racquet.
Get a badminton racquet or a whiffle ball bat and start pinging the little sons of bees into oblivion. If you are really talented you could use a bb gun.
You can try to squirt them with bee/wasp poison. It will work but you will quickly run out of the highly charged spray without much success. Unless you totally suck at badminton, your badminton racquet swing to kill ratio will be approximately 1 to 1.
You can repair the perfectly round holes the bees make in your siding or your decking by first squirting some poison in the hole to kill the eggs that the female laid in there, then filling it with a wood filler or putty (make sure you use a paintable kind if you plan on painting).
Contrary to popular belief there is nothing that you can put into your paint or stain to permanently keep the bees away long term. Contact your favorite pest management company for any short term answers.
One more note. Not all carpenter bees, Xylocopa virginica, sting - only the females (insert joke here). In fact, male carpenter bees can be captured by hand (if you really want to impress your friends) without fear of stinging (they have no stinger).
(Just so you know - the key difference is the markings on their heads. Males have small white markings, and the females have pure black heads).
To be fair, the female carpenter bee is not really interested in stinging you either. They just want to drill their holes and lay their eggs.