Rex Thrash, a hobbyist, makes traps for carpenter bees and the traps are popular items at craft shows in the spring and early summer. Inset below, bees are caught inside the plastic bottles on Thrash’s trap and are unable to escape. MESSENGER PHOTO | JAINE TREADWELL

Rex Thrash, a hobbyist, makes traps for carpenter bees and the traps are popular items at craft shows in the spring and early summer. Inset below, bees are caught inside the plastic bottles on Thrash’s trap and are unable to escape.
MESSENGER PHOTO | JAINE TREADWELL

Archived Story

DART: Thrash’s traps corral carpenter bees

Published 10:07pm Monday, May 5, 2014

If the old-timers are right about winter being over when the carpenter bees come out, then winter is over.
The carpenter bees are out in full force and keeping homeowners as busy as bees trying keep them from putting their miniature buzz saws to their “wood.”
Gary Weil, a Banks organic farmer, knows more about growing produce than he does about carpenter bees, but he does know carpenter bees are excellent pollinators and are quite harmless.
Yet homeowners often fail to see the good in carpenter bees because of their bad behavior.
Carpenter bees get their name from their woodworking skills.
Weil said carpenter bees excavate nests in wood decks, fences, porches, lawn furniture and homes.
“Carpenter bees don’t eat wood,” he said. “They excavate nest tunnels in wood for shelter and for places to rear their young. They like unpainted wood and wood that is more than two inches thick.”
Weil said the male carpenter bee hovers near the nest and will go after other insects that come nearby. The males hover near people often causing them to move away from the nest. However, the male bee has no stinger; only the female has a stinger, and she stings only if provoked.
Even so, Linda Jones said the bees hovering around the holes they have bored makes her uneasy. Like many others, she was looking for a way to get rid of the buzzing bees. That’s where Rex Thrash stepped in with his traps.
Thrash of Troy has been making carpenter bee traps for about four years. Thrash is a hobbyist and said the bee traps sell extremely well at spring and early summer crafts shows. He could have sold a truckload of the bee traps at TroyFest if he had made a truckload.
“Years ago, a friend in Ozark told me I should start making bee traps – that they would sell,” Thrash said. “I didn’t believe him but they do sell. People don’t want the carpenter bees flying around their houses and they certainly don’t want them boring holes in their houses and nesting.”
The traps are simply made out of unfinished or unpainted wood with a clear plastic bottle attached.
Thrash said the traps work because the bees enter the one-half inch hole and find their way back to the light which is visible through the clear plastic bottle.
“The bees get in the bottle and can’t get back out,” he said.
Although Thrash is not sure what to do about the eggs in the bee’s nest, someone told him to spray the hole with wasp killer, leave it a few days and plug it.
Together the bottle and the killer spray just might eliminate the bees, Thrash said.
“I’ve got two bottles and both of them have bees in the bottom,” he said. “I’d rather have bees in the bottle than boring holes in the house.

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