Cheapskate carpenter follies (continued)

Some of the two-by joists from the rotten back deck at the rental house we bought were salvageable, so I put them to use rebuilding the old tractor shed here at the farm. The old shed had an asphalt shingle roof that had given way to rain rot and carpenter bees. So I tore it down and milled the good deck wood into rafters, while using a bunch of four-bys from the deck for shed posts. I bought two pieces of used billboard vinyl plastic (complete with pictures) to use as the roof; I figured it was lightweight material, so I could mill the rafters fairly thin. Probably not a good idea.

But I'm a cheapskate and a sucker for inferior materials, as long as it's lying around and I don't have to buy anything. I usually regret it, and expect to regret this design soon.

Here's the thing, though. There's another cheapskate carpenter in the neighborhood: the carpenter bee, aka bore bee. Why they're called carpenter bees I'll never know because they don't really build anything. They drill holes in shed wood or house trim to lay their eggs. And left to their own devices they will destroy a shed in a matter of years, especially when rain rot is doing its part.

I had intended to paint the rafters with used motor oil as a preservative and bore bee defense, but I didn't get around to it. Cheapskate lazy fool am I. Lo and behold, I saw my first bore bee hole today in one of my new rafters. The little pests were swarming, too, so I got the racquetball racket I use for this purpose and swatted a bunch of them.

Swatting is just a momentary pleasure, though. The invading army of bees doesn't care. Swat two, four more will show up. They chew through painted wood. There are little traps you can make (I have one), but they too are imperfect. I don't know how well the used oil will work, but looks like I'm going to have to give it a try.

I propose a new name: wrecker bees.


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