Blackwelder: Carpenter bees hard to remove

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 6, 2011

SALISBURY — The unusual weather this spring has many people asking questions about lawns, gardens and insect pests.
Cooperative Extension has received many inquiries over the past few weeks that may be of interest.
Q: I have carpenter bumble bees boring into my deck. They were here last year. What can I do to control them?
A: There is really no pesticide that will give extended protection against these pests. Once these insects take up residence, they return each year to extend their family. There are two major problems in dealing with carpenter bees — an effective chemical residue that endures throughout the entire period of bee activity and the ability to apply any pesticide to all of the surfaces that need protection, particularly overhead on soffit and fascia boards. Other than swatting the bees with a badminton racket, your next best option is to apply a pesticide into active tunnels and then seal up the hole. Dust insecticides, such as Sevin Dust, can be quite effective.
Q: Our ash tree has sunken black spots all over the leaves and some are falling. Is this going to kill my tree?
A: Your tree has anthracnose. It is a common foliar disease that not only affects ash, but also maples and oaks. The disease is exacerbated by cool, humid weather. Once warm, dry weather of summer arrives, the disease will go away. Anthracnose generally does not kill these trees.
Q: There are little red bugs that look like mites all over my plants, window sills and on the deck. Are these harmful? What can I do to get rid of them?
A: The bugs are actually clover mites. Clover mites come out early in the spring and are more a nuisance than a threat to plant or man. They usually go away as it gets warmer.
Q: I found what I think is a copperhead in my yard (the snake was brought to the office). Is this a copperhead and how do I control it?
A: The best way to control snakes of all types is to keep your lawn mowed and clean up any debris where snakes and their food (mice) can hide.
The snake was identified as a black rat snake.
Darrell Blackwelder is the County Extension Director with horticulture responsibilities with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Learn more about Cooperative Extension events and activities by calling 704-216-8970 or online at