Often confused for honey bees or bumble bees, carpenter bees are docile, beneficial pollinators who play an important role in the health of our ecosystem. These solitary creatures like to keep to themselves, and can help our gardens and backyards thrive.
However, carpenter bees can also be highly destructive. Also known as “wood bees”, these insects prefer to nest deep in soft wood, which can end up costing homeowners hundreds of dollars in structural damages.
Do you have carpenter bees? Then you’ve come to the right place. Today, we are going to talk about how to get rid of carpenter bees and go over a few tricks, treatments, and home remedies you can use to protect your home from these wood-burrowing pollinators.
How To Get Rid Of Carpenter Bees – Identifying A Carpenter Bee Problem
Carpenter bees are generally solitary insects, but they can become problematic.
Carpenter bees don’t live in large colonies like many other bee species, but they can still be very problematic. These insects like to burrow individually and prefer soft, unfinished wood as perfect nesting spots. They are quite crafty too, building long tunnels and chambers to lay their eggs. And sometimes, despite the carpenter bee’s solitary lifestyle, homeowners may find themselves in the midst of a carpenter bee infestation on their property. If this happens to you, then it’s time to look into how to get rid of carpenter bees.
It May Be Time To Research How To Get Rid Of Carpenter Bees If You Notice:
- Small, circular holes burrowed into wood
- Sawdust-like wood shavings surrounding these holes or beneath them
- Yellow staining near or around the holes caused by pollen or bee excrement
- Bee noises in the walls of your home
What Attracts Carpenter Bees?
Carpenter bees may like flowers, but they prefer to nest in soft wood like cedar and pine.
Carpenter bees like to nest in soft, unfinished wood. Most often, they can be found burrowed into woods like pine and cedar.
And while carpenter bees are beneficial pollinators who enjoy flowers, they aren’t necessarily going to be attracted to your garden. Instead, carpenter bees will typically look for safe nesting areas that are sheltered from weather and predators.
This means that home sidings, covered porches, sheds, woodpiles, eaves, pergolas, and even old abandoned carpenter bee holes will be most attractive to nesting carpenter bees.
How To Get Rid Of Carpenter Bees – Best Treatment Methods
Carpenter bees can cause serious structural damage to homes and wood.
While it is true that carpenter bees are beneficial insects, they can also be problematic due to their burrowing behaviour. Are you wondering how to get rid of carpenter bees?
Some of the best treatment methods for how to get rid of carpenter bees include:
Insecticides are an effective removal method for those looking at how to get rid of carpenter bees quickly. However, insecticides can be toxic to humans and pets.
- Natural Repellents
Natural repellents can be just as effective as insecticides for those wondering how to get rid of carpenter bees. There are a number of different repellent methods, ranging from sprays to bee hotels and sound machines.
Many homeowners looking for how to get rid of carpenter bees find that traps work well when used alongside repellents and insecticides.
- Home remedies
We love home remedies when working on how to get rid of carpenter bees. Like many insects, carpenter bees are repelled by natural oils and citrus scents, meaning you may have some great ingredients to get rid of carpenter bees already in your home.
The below video discusses four methods you can use when working on how to get rid of carpenter bees.
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How To Get Rid Of Carpenter Bees Using Insecticides
Using high quality insecticides early in the year will help repel and eliminate carpenter bees.
If you have a serious problem with carpenter bees and have found that they are nesting inside your home or causing serious structural damage, you may need to look into using insecticides.
As we mentioned above, insecticides are an effective tool for those of you looking at how to get rid of carpenter bees efficiently. That said, using insecticides can be dangerous, as most include toxic chemicals that can be harmful to humans and pets.
The below insecticides listed are specifically designed to help kill and repel carpenter bees, but all of them include active ingredients that are toxic to our pets and children and should be used with caution.
BioAdvanced Carpenter Bee Foam Spray
This foaming spray insecticide is specifically designed to help those looking for how to get rid of carpenter bees. It even comes with a unique nozzle to help reach deep holes where carpenter bees tend to burrow and make chambers to lay their eggs.
It also uses a foaming technology to help reach a number of wood-eating pests like carpenter bees, beetles, ants, and even termites.
The active ingredient is imidacloprid, which is a popular insecticide that is effective when looking at how to get rid of carpenter bees, but again it can be dangerous to people and pets, so it should be used with caution.
Spectracide Foaming Carpenter Bee Aerosol
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This is another foaming insecticide designed for those looking at how to get rid of carpenter bees. It is effective enough to treat old and new carpenter bee holes and tunnels, killing larvae and eggs before they hatch. The foam also works to spread all through the chambers to effectively reach the nests.
It kills on contact and includes a small, straw-like nozzle to help you reach hard-to-find places inside wood. This insecticide also helps control yellow jacket nests.
Cyzmic CS Controlled Release Insecticide
Last on our list of insecticides for those looking at how to get rid of carpenter bees is Cyzmic CS. This is a popular method used by a number of homeowners and professionals, and uses the active ingredient Lamda Cyhalothrin.
This insecticide also helps get rid of fleas, flies, mosquitoes, spiders, termites, wasps, and more. Because it is an insecticide, it should be used with caution in homes and gardens with children and pets.
How To Get Rid Of Carpenter Bees Using Natural Repellents And Traps
Natural repellents and traps can help reduce the number of carpenter bees on your property.
Wondering how to get rid of carpenter bees using natural repellents and traps? This is one of our favorite methods because it doesn’t require the use of any toxic chemicals.
You can use these repellents and traps all year round, although you will find they are most effective when used in the spring and summer, which is when these bees are most active.
Green Man’s Lemon Bomb
We are big fans of non-toxic sprays when it comes to how to get rid of carpenter bees naturally, which is one of the reasons we like Green Man’s Lemon Bomb spray.
Like many insects, carpenter bees are repelled by citrus scents, so this repellent works well to treat carpenter bee nests and prevent them from returning. Simply apply the spray and repeat as many times as needed.
This is a safe and effective alternative to chemicals for those wondering how to get rid of carpenter bees in homes with children and pets.
TrapStick Carpenter Bee Trap
Wondering how to get rid of carpenter bees using traps? We like this TrapStick for carpenter bees made by RESCUE. It lures carpenter bees visually, meaning you don’t need to worry about chemicals or sprays.
We also like that this carpenter bee trap is designed with other wildlife in mind, so it won’t harm birds, bats, or other flying animals. That said, it is recommended to hang with caution and avoid areas where birds are nesting, just to be safe.
Mac’s Carpenter Bee Trap
Another carpenter bee trap we like Mac’s Carpenter Bee trap. The trap works by mimicking a carpenter bee’s natural nest and lures them with pre-made holes designed to trap and control them.
This is a safe, chemical free, non-toxic way home owners can control carpenter bees without harming other wildlife or putting pets and children at risk.
Carpenter Bee Hotels
Here’s an idea we totally love: Bee hotels!
Remember, carpenter bees are highly important to our ecosystem. They are crafty little pollinators that can help our gardens grow and thrive, and they are an important food source to natural predators like birds.
So, if you aren’t looking for how to get rid of carpenter bees and would instead like to control them, why not try installing a bee hotel? This one above is designed using natural bamboo and closely mimics a carpenter bee’s natural nesting preferences.
Best of all, this allows a great place for carpenter bees to nest and helps keep them away from your property.
Natural Wood Bee Hotel
Another bee hotel we love is this adorable bee hotel made by Niteangel. This product uses all natural, unfinished wood to help lure carpenter bees, keeping them away from your property while also allowing them a safe place to nest and live without harming or killing them.
This is a completely humane, safe, chemical free way to enjoy carpenter bees and the benefits they bring to our gardens without having to deal with their problematic digging and burrowing behaviours.
Ultrasonic Pest Repeller
When looking at how to get rid of carpenter bees using natural repellents, you may want to look into using ultrasonic pest repellents, like the one above sold on Amazon. These pest repellents work to repel a number of pests like spiders, rodents, mosquitoes, mice, and bees. However, this is a repellent that is best for indoor use, as you need to plug it into an outlet.
That said, you can plug the ultrasonic pest repeller in and use it in sheds, barns, or even covered porches to help reduce and repel the number of carpenter bees who are trying to make a home out of your wood.
CBS Carpenter Bee Trap
Last, we have this carpenter bee trap by CBS. Using a similar method to a few of the other traps on this list, this trap lures carpenter bees by providing them wood that is similar to their natural nesting preferences.
Once inside the trap, they cannot leave again, thus controlling and eliminating minor carpenter bee problems. We suggest using this method along with natural repellents and home remedies to help keep a carpenter bee problem from turning into an infestation.
How To Get Rid Of Carpenter Bees Using Home Remedies
Carpenter bees don’t like the scent of vinegar and citrus, making these ingredients great home remedies to repel them.
Since carpenter bees are particularly solitary and don’t live in colonies, like many other bee species, it may be simpler to get rid of them using home methods than you may think.
Like many insects, carpenter bees don’t like strong scents like vinegar, essential oils, and citrus. You can use a number of organic, safe ingredients to make your own sprays to get rid of carpenter bees naturally. You can also use a few simple tricks to help remove them from their nests and relocate them.
First, let’s talk about a few natural carpenter bee repellent recipes you can make at home.
Carpenter bees are repelled by a few different essential oils and ingredients, including:
- Tea Tree Oil
- Jojoba Oil
- Citronella Oil
- White Vinegar
Homemade Essential Oil Spray
- Mix lavender oil, tea tree oil, jojoba oil, and citronella oil into a spray bottle and shake. Then spray generously around any area or surface you have noticed carpenter bee activity.
Homemade Garlic, White Vinegar, And Oil Spray
- Boil fresh garlic, 1 cup of white vinegar, and several drops of any essential oil of your choice. Once cooled, put into a spray bottle. Spray generously around any area you have noticed carpenter bee activity.
Homemade Citrus Spray
- Boil one pot of water and two fresh squeezed citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, limes, or grapefruit. You may also boil the peels. Once cooled, pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spray generously around any area or surface you have noticed carpenter bee activity and repeat as necessary.
Some other tips and tricks you can use when wondering how to get rid of carpenter bees with home methods are:
- Boric Acid
Boric acid is a popular pest control method you can use at home to not only control carpenter bees, but also get rid of a number of other pests. If you are looking at how to get rid of carpenter bees with boric acid, the best way is to spray the acid into any fresh entry holes you find on wood. The boric acid will then kill the carpenter bee larvae and eggs. Boric acid can be harmful to the skin, so wear protective equipment when using it and make sure you don’t use it around children or pets.
- Noise Repellents
Like many solitary creatures, carpenter bees don’t like noise. This is one reason ultrasonic noise plugins work so effectively when it comes to working on how to get rid of carpenter bees. You can also use natural noise makers like windchimes, play music, or use a noise machine.
- A Vacuum
Use a vacuum attachment on new carpenter bee holes and nests. This helps suck the bees out of their dens so you can relocate them or dispose of them. Be careful if you are relocating them, as they could be angry and female carpenter bees can sting. This method is most effective when used at night, when carpenter bees are less active and in their nests.
What Are Carpenter Bees? Facts You Should Know
Carpenter bees are a type of bee species that plays an important role in the ecosystem.
- Carpenter Bees Are Very Lage
Carpenter bees can be very large, which is why they are often mistaken for bumble bees. They can be anywhere from ½ an inch to 1 ½ inch big, however, they are easy to distinguish from “furry” bumble bees because of their smooth, shiney abdomoines.
- Carpenter Bees Can Live For Up To A Year
Carpenter bees have a relatively long lifespan when it comes to many insects. In fact, they can live as long as one year. They are seasonal insects who are most active in the spring and summer and spend winters hibernating in their nests. Female carpenter bees die after laying eggs and male carpenter bees die shortly after mating.
- Female Carpenter Bees Lay Between 6 to 10 Eggs
Female carpenter bees are hard working mothers. They burrow deep into wood and make safe, protected chambers where they can safely lay their eggs. They will also leave behind tiny balls of pollen so that when their larvae hatch, they have plenty to eat.
- Only Female Carpenter Bees Can Sting
Like wasps and many other bee species, only the female carpenter bee can sting. Male carpenter bees may not be able to sting, but they are protective and will chase and divebomb predators to keep their territory safe.
Are Carpenter Bees Dangerous To People And Pets?
Carpenter bees are docile and don’t sting unless provoked. That said, they can cause allergic reactions to those who are sensitive.
For the most part, carpenter bees are not dangerous. In fact, they are generally docile when left alone, even though male carpenter bees can be territorial and “dive bomb” predators if they see them as a potential threat. This can be unnerving, especially considering these bees can grow to be quite large.
Female carpenter bees can sting, as we mentioned above, and their sting can be painful and similar to that of a bee sting, releasing venom that can lead to serious allergic reactions or anaphylactic shock in people and pets who are sensitive.
All that said, the main reason most people end up looking into how to get rid of carpenter bees is because they can cause serious structural damage.
When Should You Call A Professional?
A very large carpenter bee infestation may require professional help. You can choose to relocate them or use insecticides to get rid of them.
If you have a carpenter bee infestation and would prefer to relocate them as opposed to kill them, you may need to do so using a professional.
Many people find the value in these large insects, especially considering they are such beneficial pollinators and are, for the most part, harmless to people and pets.
You can try to relocate carpenter bees yourself, but keep in mind that females can sting if they feel threatened or provoked. If you have any sensitivity or allergy to bee stings, we highly recommend calling a professional who can help you safely handle your carpenter bee problem.
Tips On Preventing Future Carpenter Bee Problems
To help prevent a carpenter bee problem, remove loose wood and wood piles from around the home.
Once you have figured out how to get rid of carpenter bees, your next move should be to take some preventative steps to keep them from coming back.
There are plenty of effective methods you can use to keep carpenter bees from wreaking havoc on your home.
Some of these methods include the following:
- Landscape And Remove Wood Piles
Carpenter bees are attracted to wood and debris. Clear your backyard and remove any potential sheltered spots, rotted wood, or other debris to help keep carpenter bees away.
- Hang “Bee Hotels” Away From your Property
A great way to keep carpenter bees from destroying your property is to provide them with a space they would rather be. Giving carpenter bees “bee hotels” far away from your property can help you safely keep bees at bay and also keep your garden thriving.
- Spray Repellents In Early Spring And Throughout Summer
You can use natural sprays like citrus sprays and natural oils on surfaces you usually see carpenter bee activity before carpenter bees are active. This means you should break out your spray around early spring and use it repeatedly throughout spring and summer.
- Introduce Natural Predators
Invite birds into your yard and garden by putting up bird feeders and birdbaths. This will help deter and reduce the number of carpenter bees around your property.
- Seal Old Carpenter Bee Holes
Once you’ve figured out how to get rid of carpenter bees, it’s very important to seal up old carpenter bee holes. Leaving abandoned holes untreated or unsealed is just like leaving an invitation for the next generation of carpenter bees.
- Seal and Polish Unfinished Wood With Polyurethane
Carpenter bees are most attracted to unfinished wood. You can seal unfinished wood surfaces with polyurethane to help keep carpenter bees at bay. While this is not a full proof method, it does help deter these insects.
What do you think about carpenter bees? Would you consider a bee hotel or using relocation methods to get rid of them? We would love to hear from you. Drop us your opinion in the comments below.
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.