Carpenter Bees and other downsides to spring

Carpenter Bees and other downsides to spring

Spring flowers

It’s been in the 70s and low 80’s all week, a sure sign that spring is on the way. I love spring but there a few things I’m not looking forward to. The first has got to be carpenter bees. I mentioned carpenter bees last year when I noticed how much damage they were doing to our wooden barn and wood-sided house. Upon further inspection this year, we quickly realized that carpenter bees have destroyed a significant number of important beams in the old barn in the pasture. We’re going to have to replace those this year or risk losing the barn. It’s that serious. You’ll recall that carpenter bees don’t just drill large holes in wood, they burrow up to 10 feet into the wood. We treated the burrows we could reach last year with Sevin dust and sealed up a good many of them with expanding foam. Yeah, wood filler would have been better but we had a LOT of holes. The expanding foam seemed more economical.  And easier.

Walking around outside today, I can tell you I must not have made too big an impact on the carpenter bee population because they are everywhere! I’m not sure what to do about the ones in the air besides what some call “carpenter bee tennis,” but I’m back to treating the holes I can find with Sevin dust. I’m worried about places I can’t see or easily get to like 25 feet up in the rafters of the barn, under our deck or behind the wood siding of our house. Stupid carpenter bees.

Another related downside to spring is wasps. Our barn serves as an ideal wasp nest host, with crevices all over, including lots of hidden ones. Last year there were days where we just didn’t want to hang out at the barn much due to all the aggressive wasps. I made some wasp traps with nectar attractant, the kind that is easy to get into but hard to get out of, but the wasps totally ignored it. We diligently knocked down or treated wasp nests as we found them and there were no incidents with our horses. But now I’m back on wasp patrol. Any suggestions are welcome.

Flies – they’re coming soon. I’ve seen some but when you have horses, you’ll have flies and lots of them. We were successful last year with fly parasites from Arbico Organics (there are lots of companies that sell them). Have you seen these? You subscribe to a monthly service that sends fly parasite larvae. They hatch and destroy flies in some kind of gruesome way. We were skeptical but proved last year they really do work. We wrote last May about what fly treatment methods we were trying. It’s time to think about what we’re going to use this year.

Thorns and other weeds – We’re excited about the grass growing. Our horses seem seriously tired of dry hay and I don’t blame them. But the return of grass means the weeds and thorn bushes are also returning. Time to get out into the pasture to uproot the thorn vines. We also need to stay on top of keeping the pasture trimmed/bush-hogged. Apparently, if you don’t keep your grass trimmed, the weeds choke out the good stuff.

Snakes – Mikki wrote last year about a snake that visited our barn and freaked us all out. I hate snakes! They creep me out. Yes I know, they provide the valuable service of getting rid of mice and rats but I’d still rather have barn cats.

Other than those things, we’re VERY MUCH looking forward to spring. I’ll take warm weather with these downsides any day over 20 degrees and windy.

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