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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Beware of springtime visitors

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It is that time of year again.

The time when you hear buzzing noises coming from various locations around your house, yard, garden and everywhere else that bees of all sizes and kinds can get to.

There are a number of different varieties of bees that we are all familiar with. Two of the more common ones that can be confused easily are carpenter bees and bumble bees.

In late spring and early summer, you may notice large, black bees hovering around the outside of your home. Often times, these are carpenter bees looking for a mate and a place to construct their nests. Carpenter bees and bumble bees are roughly the same size. However, the upper surface of carpenter bees' abdomens are bare, shiny and black. Bumble bees have hairy abdomens with some yellow markings on them.

Carpenter bees will actually lay their eggs in tunnels that they drill in bare, unpainted, or weathered softwoods. Sometimes, they will attack painted or pressure-treated wood. Bumble bees, on the other hand, will develop nests in the ground.

Because of carpenter bees impact on homes and other wood products that homeowners cherish, Extension Educators are often asked how to control them. There are a few different ways that can be achieved. The first is to paint any exposed wood surfaces. When compared to paint, wood stains and preservatives are not as effective in preventing carpenter bees from attacking the wood. Additionally, to prevent some nesting from occurring, try to keep all garage and outbuildings closed when carpenter bees are actively searching for nesting sites.

If your wood is already being attacked by carpenter bees, then one possible control method is using a liquid spray. Typically, you would use a spray that has carbaryl, chlorpyrifos, or a synthetic pyrethroid in it. The effectiveness of liquid sprays runs about one to two weeks. So it might be important to retreat several times throughout the season.

If you can already see tunnels, then you might treat using an insecticidal dust. You would do this by puffing the insecticidal dust into the nest opening. One important thing to note when dealing with a tunnel, do not plug the hole up as soon as you treat it.

Instead, leave it open for a few days. This allows the bees to come into contact and distribute the insecticide throughout the nest galleries. After a few days have passed, plug the hole with a piece of wood coated with carpenter's glue or use wood putty.

Similar approaches can be used when dealing with bumble bees. With bumble bees, apply the insecticidal dust in the evening or at night. You apply the dust to the entry of the nest once you locate it. While applying the dust, please wear a long sleeved shirt and long pants, tie your sleeves of your arms down against your wrists and pull your socks over your pant legs. By doing so, you will prevent a bumble bee from attacking you or getting stuck in your clothing.

Bees can be bothersome creatures, but at the same time, interesting. No matter how interesting they can be, let's hope that they are not the only thing buzzing around the Community Farmers' Market of Owen County on opening day May 1, from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. During that day, come visit the farmers' market that is located at the courthouse square in Spencer. While there, stop and check out the Purdue Extension Booth that will be present to help answer questions about horticulture. Additionally, a few of the recent graduates of the 2010 Clay-Owen Master Gardener Class will be on hand to tell you about master gardeners and Purdue Extension. We hope you will be able to attend this event and help support the local farmers who will be there.

As always, Purdue Extension is available to offer a variety of opportunities and knowledge to farmers, homeowners and business people alike concerning agriculture, horticulture or natural resources. Contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay County or 812-829-5020 in Owen County or reach me directly via e-mail at smith535@purdue.edu.

Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

* Saturday -- 2010 Youth Dairy Conference, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Beck Center, West Lafayette. Cost is $15,

* April 26 -- Pond workshop, Greencastle, 3:30-7 p.m.,

* May 1 -- Opening Day of Community Farmers' Market, Owen County, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Courthouse in Spencer,

* May 1 -- Courthouse Centennial Celebration, 1 p.m., Courthouse in Spencer,

* May 13 -- Poultry Program, 6:30 p.m., Owen County Extension Office, and

* May 14 -- Area Share-the-Fun Contest, Edgewood High School.