May 2, 2012

Don't Worry, Bee Happy

Lately I've been learning everything there is to know about replacing a roof and all the things to look for when hiring a roofer.  It's been a month-long journey of meeting with various contractors and navigating the professional jargon:  drip edges, soffit ventilation, felt paper, fascias, flashing, sheathing, architectural shingles, ridge vents, etc.  But the one thing I never expected to learn about with this whole project is that our home has been under attack by Carpenter Bees.

The fascia board, which is the wooden boards nailed to the end of our roof all around our house, was riddled with all these dime-sized holes which I just attributed to the work of our neighborhood woodpecker. It was unsightly, but I never gave it much more thought other than someday thinking I'd have a carpenter replace the wood because it looked ugly.

I had this really over-priced roofer quote our roof and he happened to notice the fascia boards.  He told me I had a Carpenter Bee problem.  I was really surprised because we don't have any issues with bees in the house, but he told me that these Carpenter Bees are pretty notorious for boring holes in wood and laying their eggs.  I told him I've seen these big, fat bumble-bees buzzing around up there, but I never saw them go into the attic.  Well, it turns out they were Carpenter Bees which resemble Bumble Bees.


The female Carpenter Bee lays her eggs in the holes and the male sort of flies around the holes protecting it. These bees are harmless except that they ruin wood because of their nesting habits and like any number of pests - you don't want them in or around your house.  Mi casa is not their casa.

I ended up calling Colonial Pest Control of Worcester to come out today to get rid of our bees. The exterminator who took care of me walked around the house and confirmed that I had a whole lot of bees. His reaction was priceless when he looked up on the left side of the house and simply declared, "Holy Shit!" Apparently the Carpenter Bees have been silent tenants at Miami Street for years and it was time to evict them.

But here's the cool thing - I started asking the exterminator how he ever got into the profession in the first place because I'm fascinated that someone makes their living working in the insect industry.  He started talking about his past and mentioned how he ran a couple Abdow's Big Boys restaurants - namely the one at Lincoln Plaza.  Now it was my turn to exclaim, "Holy Shit!"  I loved that place as a kid and just couldn't believe I was talking to this guy who actually worked there back in the day.

It turned out that he actually grew up on Wayside Avenue back in the early 70's.  He was 4 years younger than me, but was an old neighborhood kid.  I threw out a couple of names and it was so amazing that he recognized every one of them.  We ended up standing there reminiscing about the infamous Great Brook Valley riot and sledding down White Ave in the Winter.  He fondly remembered our neighborhood before the new construction in the back of my house and all the unpaved roads.

I could have talked to him all day, but there were bees to murder and I was mindful that I wasn't his only customer that day.

He ended up spraying around the house and promised me that neither our Beagle Minnie nor the little birds nest up near the corner of the house would be affected by the chemicals.  

I got a six month guarantee on the bees and now I'm ready to have our roof ripped off and replaced.