Carpenter bees and Navajo rugs

July 23, 2014
I didn't frame this photo well.  Should have chosen a better background.  But, using a popular phrase of the day, it is what it is. So, what you're looking at is two boards facing each other with a carpenter bee entrance hole right on the seam of the two boards. Behind them is the trunk of a bald cypress tree.  The edge of the board on the left has also been torn up by rot and carpenter bee activity.  At the bottom of this blog you will see a photo of the two boards taken apart at the seam making the burrowings and birthing chambers of the bees very evident. BY DENNIS FORNEY

Many people have told me this is a bad year for carpenter bees.  About the size of a jelly bean with lots of buzz, these creatures make neat work as they bore into untreated wood and start each year's new family.  I can add to the testimony.  They have been making Swiss cheese of some of my deck boards and other woody areas on my wooden house. I've tried a variety of sprays including WD40 which has been mentioned as effective in lots of ways: relieving arthritis, loosening rusted parts, lubricating here and there, and sprayed on squid to make an effective fishing bait.  The carpenter bees didn't seem to mind the WD40.  Maybe they thought I was making it easier for them to core their tunnels or soother their weary joints at the end of a tough wood-boring session.

Last week Jim and Neil and Tommy came by to address some rot and bee problems at the house.  When Tommy pulled one board off, he found a carpenter bee temple with eight bees in place.  Apparently carpenter bees are normally non-confrontational and Tommy was in luck these days.  But they left the boards for me to look at.  Fascinating.

The interesting thing is that these bees bored right on the seam where two boards joined, so we could get a look at their interior handiwork as if looking at two mirrored halves.

It all puts me in the mind of Navajo rugs with their distinctive patterns and angles.  I wonder sometimes where they get their ideas for the designs but nature provides lots of choices: the wings of butterflies, the feathers of hawks and eagles, the grain inside trees.

The natural world is unbelievable at times.