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, (that's a word in my dictionary), home pest control things that there is. 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.
Do not try to squirt them with bee/wasp poison as 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.
The only thing you really must do is to kill the eggs the female has laid and repair the holes.
You can repair the perfectly round holes the bees make in your siding or your decking by squirting some poison in the hole then filling it with a wood filler or putty (make sure you use a paintable kind if you plan on painting). The important part of that last sentence is squirting poison into the hole. Not doing so will allow the bee to hatch and they will, most likely, drill their way back out.
Contrary to popular belief there is nothing that you can put into your paint to ward the bees off for any extended period of time. Your only real defense to keep them away is two remove the wood that they are enjoying which would mean re-siding your home.
One more note. Not all carpenter bees, Xylocopa virginica, sting. It's 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).
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.