|Project by FuzzyDove||posted 03-24-2017 04:11 PM||3141 views||12 times favorited||13 comments|
With my youngest son heading to college in the Fall, we came up with a project that he could build and sell at the local farmer’s market for pocket money. My house has a lot of exposed wood and carpenter bees are a huge problem. I’ve experimented in the past with lots of different designs (see Photo 5), but my final design is optimal on so many levels. It uses the least amount of cedar possible, can be built with limited tool set up, uses no nails/screws, is small in scale, and works with any bottle that has a standard plastic soda bottle screw top (square fuji water bottles look the best). For those not familiar, carpenter bees go in the 1/2” holes that are at a 45 deg angle and protected by an overhang (they are lazy and prefer to use existing holes instead of making new ones), but once inside they only see light at the bottom bottle hole opening which they go to as an exit, only to discover that they are trapped (they can’t figure out how to get back up and out). The traps work best once the first bee is caught because the stressed bee releases pheromones that attract subsequent bees. It is important to leave the wood untreated because the bees are less attracted to treated wood – hence, cedar is a great outdoor wood choice (plus the bees like the rougher texture). With this design you only need standard cedar that can be bought in any big box hardware (I used cedar fence pickets for the roofs to further reduce costs). When installing the brass hook on top, we pre-drilled tiny holes, added a few drops of water, then dipped the brass hook screw in Gorilla glue before screwing in. That ensures a lifetime of strength for the hook because of the expanding nature of Gorilla glue where there is moisture. One key item that you will need for this design is a 30mm forstner bit to create the hole that a soda bottle cap (which has had the middle of it drilled out with a 3/4” drill bit) goes into and is also glued with expanding Gorilla glue. We also found that building a little 45 deg sled for drilling the bee holes saved a lot of time (sled works on both a 45 deg and 22.5 deg setting for the angled sides). Other design spec/details are in the picture of my pencil notes. Overall, we have about $4 in materials in each finished trap. I can say, we hung a few a couple days ago and are already catching some!
Busy as a bee,
UPDATE WITH CONSTRUCTION NOTES:
(Below is a copy/paste from an email that I sent to a fellow LumberJock who was going to build some traps. It should provide most required info)
1) When cutting the bodies, set your miter saw to the right side at 22.5deg. After the first cut (you will have a little waste with first cut because the board is presumably 90 deg to start), FLIP THE BOARD, and make a pencil mark on your saw fence to indicate where to cut to make the longest side 6.5”. Then make another mark so that the next cut is the same width as the board thickness (13/16” usually), which is one of the side wall centers. Now, Just FLIP THE BOARD and repeat the two cuts for as many traps as you are building or until you are out of board. The pencil marks and flipping make for very quick work of cutting the bodies.
2) For the angled holes, take the time to build a sled with alignment slots as shown in the pictures. One sled will allow for both drilling angles (holes are 45deg but since the L/R sides are already angled at 22.5deg, you drill those at the same to sum up to 45deg). NOTE: you can drill the front/back before or after assembly of the body (I prefer before), but do not try to drill the L/R side holes until after assembly of the body. Oh, also, I find that a 1/2” forstner bit creates a much cleaner hole (in soft cedar anyway) compared to a standard drill bit.
3) Since you are going to assemble with an air nailer, pay attention to not put any stables where the drilled holes would hit the nails.
4) I use a belt sander/jointer to even up the assembled bodies, but if you are going for volume it should be fine without if your cuts were consistent.
5) Cutting the roof stock and its angles is pretty straight forward. I cut the full length board angles on my table saw, then cut the short sides on my miter saw using pencil marks on the fence just like we did for the bodies but this time, when you make the second cut, both FLIP and SPIN 180deg the board so the drip line angle is correct.
6) I actually joint the bottom of the roofs and belt sand the top of the bodies to assume a perfect fit, but that is optional. You should build a little jig to center the roofs before air nailing on…. that would be a real time saver.
7) I did not take a picture of how I drilled the hole in the plastic bottle tops. Take the time to build a box that a soda bottle snugly fits in, then add water/expanding glue to get that bottle rock solid in the box. Now you can clamp the box in your drill press and safely bore out bottle caps. Without the box, it is a bit dangerous because there is no easy way to safely hold a round-ish soft plastic bottle in place. I’m sure there are other ways of doing it, perhaps with just the cap being clamped, but whatever works safely. I used just a full 3/4” drill bit to bore out the holes and it works great once you get it set up and centered perfectly.
8) On the hole on the bottom of the body that will receive the bottle cap, you must use a 30mm forstner bit and drill to a depth of just a tad deeper than the height of a bottle cap. You will actually be drilling into a rectangular opening, but don’t let that concern you – the 30mm diameter hole is slightly larger than the long side of the rectangular opening.
9) When gluing the bottle cap in the hole in the bottom of the body, it is critical to wet the hole with a little water and use expanding Gorilla glue.
And from the start of the write up:
Wood Stock Required: Do NOT stain or paint the wood as the bees are only attracted to unfinished wood. A softer wood is preferred by the bees as well, so a good outdoor-durable choice is cedar or cypress, but inexpensive pine is fine, it just will not hold up well in the elements. Despite the “wet dog” odor when cutting/sanding, regular cedar that is available at any big box hardware like Lowes/Home Depot, is what I use. For the box bodies, just buy one board of 1” x 6” x 8’ [nominal/actual thickness varies by store/lot but is generally either 13/16” or 7/8” thick]. In general, only the first/last cuts yield any waste, so and 8 foot long board will easily yield 7 trap bodies (8 is possible if no knots or mistakes). If you are only making one trap, the minimum length for the body stock is 13.25” long. For the trap roofs, I use the less expensive cedar fence pickets (in the garden center at Lowes instead of with the other lumber) which are size as 5/8” x 5-1/2” x 6’. Each 6’ picket will yield about 8 roof tops.