With my own eyes I saw the carpenter bee wiggle into a hole in the wall right beside the recycle bin. Carpenter bees are pollinators, but they can quickly make Swiss cheese out of a wall.
Not wanting or having any pesticides readily available, I ripped off a two-inch piece of duct tape and taped it over the bee’s hole. I watched to see if he would slip out or bore a hole through the tape. The tape remained undisturbed.
Carpenter bees congregate around the well house, buzzing and looking, but I haven’t seen any land. Last year Sam filled the bee holes with putty, and when the putty dried I painted them with brown paint so they’d look like knotholes rather than blotches of white putty.
Then Sam sprayed carpenter bee poison over all the wood. So far it looks like the poison discouraged the carpenter bees because, while they hover, they don’t bore holes in the well house, and that’s good enough.
We have to keep an eye out because there’s always something going on at the well house — a snake, a mouse, a squirrel, something or another. Sam’s tried time and again to seal it up tight, but no matter what some critter will find its way in. Like the time Sam was adding some extra insulation and looked up to see the biggest wasp nest you’ve ever seen right over his head. He backed out quickly, hitting his head on the door frame. He returned armed with some heavy-duty wasp spray.
The next day Sam pulled the nest down to discover a beautiful paper-like substance that was striated with stunning colors from cream to taupe. Researching wasp nests, we figured it was either a hornets’ nest or a “paper wasp” nest.
It was noted that in the late 1600s and early 1700s, due to the proliferation of newspapers which were made of linen and cotton rag material, there was a rag shortage. Eventually “rag wars” broke out and some countries made it illegal to take rags out of the country, which led to “rag smuggling.”
Increased demand for fiber that could be made into paper sent inventors, scientists, universities and laboratories into a frenzy looking for a rag substitute.
Rene’ Antoine Reaumur, French scientist and entomologist, noticed wasps made paper by chewing the fiber of trees, which eventually led to the making of paper from wood fiber, like the newspaper you are holding and very much like the paper wasp nest Sam found hanging over his head.
Meanwhile, back at the recycle bin I found a carpenter bee entering another opening a couple of feet from the first hole still covered by the duct tape. Only then did it occur to me that if the bee could bore himself into the wood siding then he could bore himself out of the wood siding.
Like Yogi Berra once said, “You can observe a lot by watching.”