Home Automation Gone Wrong But Fun Nonetheless

Okay so sometimes home automation takes a turn south... Some might interpret my latest project as just wrong but I had to share. I have a huge problem at my home with carpenter bees. They are eating me out of house and home, literally! I posted a post on Nextdoor.com about my intentions to remedy the problem, only to be attacked by the bee lovers chastising me about what I was going to do the these cute little fuzzy things... enter plan "B", home automation. There is a banister rail on my back porch that they LOVE. Apparently they return each season to the same spot and the soft cedar railing must be heaven. When they tunnel inside the wood they vibrate and buzz... One afternoon I laid my hand on the rail and you could feel them vibrating inside. I taped a SmartThings multi sensor that detects vibration pretty good to test it. To my surprise, it detected the vibration almost continuously. Ahh haa! now the wheels started turning. I had a Zooz Z-Wave relay sitting in the surplus box. I took a small motor and rigged up an uneven balance weight on the shaft. I made a bracket to fasten it and the battery case to the bottom of the railing. I then hooked up the Zooz relay and created a simple rule that when the SmartThings sensor detected vibration to turn the motor on for a few minutes. It vibrated the rail more that I expected but it did the trick. The bees inside clearly didn't like the vibration and all came out of the holes. Then the motor stopped until they returned.... It does my heart great good to come out and see them swarming and mad as hell and me knowing that they will have no peace....


Creative and hilarious.
Good job.

(no bees were actually harmed in this experiment)

1 Like

I don't believe they are actually bees. I think carpenter "bees" are actually some form of beetle.

Further research indicates I am wrong - they are indeed bees. That research also yielded that one of their natural predators are woodpeckers. I'm not sure which is worse!

In any event, I love the idea. I, too, have them chewing up my house. Pressure treated? Yum! Cedar? Delish! I have found they don't go for PVC or cementitious (J. Hardy and the like).

1 Like

We totally need a video of this in action!


Wow. That is so cool it almost (almost) makes me wish I had Carpenter Bees. Alas, my biggest problem is Rats in the yard. My Rat killing options are limited because of dogs and grandkids in the yard. I think it might be cool to be notified via HE if one of my rat traps is triggered, but I am not sure how to do that.

1 Like

Nope they are bees. I am told good pollinators but they are a nuisance. The females have a white dot on their head and are more aggressive. carpenter bees

1 Like


I'll have to sneak out and try to get one.

OK. I had to look it up...
Uncredited source as follows:
"Carpenter bees are species in the genus Xylocopa of the subfamily Xylocopinae. The genus includes some 500 bees in 31 subgenera. The common name "carpenter bee" derives from their nesting behavior; nearly all species burrow into hard plant material such as dead wood..."
who knew?
(follow-up). I see you looked as well. :+1:

1 Like

Yes I actually bought traps and they did some good but it was hit or miss. My grandson and I stood in the back yard with boat paddles swatting them like miniature baseballs but I noticed that the neighbor was giving me funny looks. I am sure that she couldn't see the bees only a deranged man and his grandson swatting boat paddles around like a mad man.

1 Like

They do love cedar. I had tons of them, too. When I changed the exterior to Hardy Plank shakes and Azek pvc board for the soffit, I found bore tunnels running 9-10 feet long in the cedar crown molding

That solved the bee problem but along the riverfront great masses of spiders and their webs remained --in fact, they increased. I've had excellent results using Cutter's concentrate in the pressure washer injection tank and fogging the entire exterior. Lasted 2 seasons. You might try it when the bee watchers aren't looking. Test for color-fastness, though. as I've not tried it on cedar.

Cutter® Backyard™ Bug Control Spray Concentrate | Cutter

1 Like

DISCLAIMER: For all you bee lovers, go to next post...

Now you need to automate some sort of automatic wasp spray can to shoot while the bees are coming out or if are even more radical, maybe a flamethrower :thinking: But don't let the flames get to close to that wood, you might get rid of more than the just the bees.


Maybe we can get the Hubitat guys to talk to Elon about an API for the Not-A-Flamethrower.