How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees Fast (14 methods)

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees Fast 14 methods

Introduction

Do you have carpenter bees, and/or do you want to get rid of carpenter bees? If so, you’re not alone. Carpenter bees are a common pest in the United States.

Although they are useful pollinators, they can be a real nuisance, and they can also do damage to your home or property. This article will discuss carpenter bee removal methods and strategies to keep them away.

We’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to get rid of carpenter bee infestation.

Carpenter bee prevention methods

Prevention is always the best method for dealing with carpenter bee nests. Here are three tips and home remedies to deter carpenter bees from nesting on or around your property:

1. Seal up any pre-existing holes or divots in your wood

In the fall, use wood putty, caulking compound, plugs or cork to seal off carpenter bee holes that are no longer being used. You can use steel wool with wood putty to make it even more resilient.

This will prevent the female carpenter bee from using these existing nesting sites and make it more difficult for them to create new ones.

2. Varnish or paint any exposed, repaired or unfinished wood

Carpenter bees will favour older, softer woods that are bare or weathered.

If you varnish or paint exposed or unfinished wood (including wood you’ve just repaired), this will make it less attractive to carpenter bees and make it more difficult for them to create new nesting sites.

3. Wind chimes

Carpenter bees dislike noise and some claim that adding wind chimes near their nesting sites will discourage them from nesting and/or encourage them to leave.

We can’t say for sure whether this is true, but it’s worth a try!

Carpenter bee removal methods (without killing them)

As we’ve said, carpenter bees are important pollinators, so you may not want to kill them. If this is the case, here are four non-fatal ways to get rid of carpenter bees:

1. Carpenter bee traps

Carpenter bee traps are devices designed to lure carpenter bees in and prevent them from getting out.

You can buy carpenter bee traps, or you can make your own from a wooden box.

There are a few different designs, but they all work on the same principle: carpenter bees enter the trap through a small hole or opening, and then they get stuck.

You can make the bee traps even more enticing with some non-toxic bee trap lure.

Once they’re trapped, you can release them far away from your home or property. You should do this quickly as they will dehydrate and die.

2. Citrus spray

Carpenter bees hate the smell of citrus. You can purchase citrus spray, but it is simple to make: you simply boil citrus peels for several hours and, once cool, pour the liquid into a spray bottle. Spray this around carpenter bee nesting sites and/or anywhere else you see them.

Almond oil, peppermint, tea tree and lemon will repel carpenter bees. You can dilute almond oil with water and spray it around the carpenter bee nest entrance hole.

4. Play loud music

Carpenter bees dislike loud noise and we mentioned wind chimes under the prevention. If they are actively nesting, you might need to step it up a notch and play loud music near their nesting sites.

This won’t kill them, but it will encourage them to leave. You should speak to your neighbours first, though.

Carpenter bee removal methods (killing them)

Ok, so here we are. If you’ve tried the carpenter bee removal methods above and they haven’t worked, or if you simply don’t want them around your property, or you have a carpenter bee infestation, you want to know what kills carpenter bees.

There are a few different ways to do this, and the first couple are targetted methods, which are preferable to indiscriminate methods.

1. Vacuum carpenter bees away

If carpenter bees are nesting in an area that’s accessible, you can vacuum them away.

If you have a proper bee vacuum or a reduced suction wet/dry vac powerhead, this will not kill them. If you use your normal, powerful vacuum cleaner, it probably will.

Either way, once you have them in the vacuum, make sure to release them far away from your home or property.

2. Hit them with rackets

If you see them flying about, you can try to hit them with a tennis racket or bug zapper racket. This will probably kill them, but if they’re simply dazed, you can euthanize them quickly by stepping on them. Only the female carpenter bees have stingers, but the male carpenter bees are likely to have been bothering you, making easier targets.

3. Diatomaceous Earth 

Diatomaceous earth is a fine, powdery substance made from the fossilised remains of algae. Chicken keepers most often use it to kill mites as it is abrasive and works by puncturing the exoskeletons of insects, causing them to dehydrate and die. Sprinkling this into carpenter bee holes will have the same effect.

4. Vinegar

Vinegar will repel the adults from the active carpenter bee nests, and it will kill the larvae and eggs inside. Spray the vinegar directly into the carpenter bee holes.

5. Insecticide spray

Can be sprayed into carpenter bee nesting sites or where carpenter bees are active. Do not spray this around indiscriminately, as it will kill other bees such as honey bees, bumblebees and other insects that are beneficial to your garden. You can use Pyrethrin/Pyrethrum/Permethrin Spray, Cyzmic CS, Demon WP, and FenvaStar EcoCap.

Although often marked as non-toxic to humans, it is still best to wear protective clothing when dealing with pesticides.

6. Insecticidal dust

Putting insecticidal dust like Sevin and DeltaDust in deep burrows kills current bees and carpenter bee larvae. It will also prevent any carpenter bees from nesting in those areas in the future.

7. WD40 / Aerosol carburetor cleaner

WD40 or Carburettor cleaner will each kill carpenter bees on contact. Use one or the other product separately, do not mix them.

This is not a method we particularly advocate as they are flammable oils, and carpenter bees often nest around the eaves of houses.

But, if you must use one of them, apply it in a well-ventilated area, do not smoke while using it and bear in mind that the wood you’ve treated with will now have an accelerant on it.

Disclosure: Harry Rufus independently selects products to feature on this site. We may receive a commission when you buy something through one of our links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

What are carpenter bees?

Carpenter bees(Xylocopa virginica) are important pollinators in the United States, but they can be a real nuisance if they make their way into your home or onto your property.

These bees are attracted to bare, unpainted, or weathered wood, so they can often be found around homes and other buildings.

Carpenter bees are large bees that are black and yellow in color. They look similar to bumblebees, but carpenter bees have a bare, shiny abdomen.

Carpenter bee on purple flowers

Only females have a stinger, but they are not aggressive and will only sting if they feel threatened. The males are more aggressive, but it is all bark and no bite as they do not have a stinger.

What damage can carpenter bees cause to your home or property?

Carpenter bees are wood bees and get their name from the fact that they build their nests by tunnelling into wood and lay eggs. This tunnelling can cause damage to your home or any untreated wood. One tunnel is unlikely to cause any issues, but multiple tunnels can cause structural damage to your home or damage wooden structures.

Carpenter Bee Entrance Hole

If you have a carpenter bee nest, you may notice small holes in wood surfaces or sawdust around the area where they are nesting.

In addition to the physical damage they can do, carpenter bees can also be a nuisance. You might be able to hear them burrowing into the wooden structure of your home. Window sills often make attractive targets, and they can be quite active around their nests.

One entrance tunnel can lead to a nest that contains multiple carpenter bees – possibly as many as five or six female bees and their associated male.

Woodpeckers are attracted to carpenter bee infestations, and they can cause further damage to your home or property as they try to get to the bees and the bee larvae. What started as a few neat round holes can quickly become a mess of large, ragged holes.

Conclusion

We hope this carpenter bee guide has been helpful. Remember, carpenter bees are a valuable part of our ecosystem, and the issues they cause are more of a nuisance than anything else. By following the carpenter bee deterrent and removal methods above, you should be able to prevent carpenter bee infestations, or if they’re already here, to get rid of them quickly and easily.

FAQs about Carpenter Bees

How To Identify A Carpenter Bee?

The bees are black and yellow, similar in appearance to bumblebees. They have a cylindrical shape rather than being spherical like bumblebees.

They are about 0.50 inches (13 mm) long. They are not as hairy as bumblebees, and have a bald black rear end.

The easiest way to tell carpenter bees apart from other types of bee is by their behaviour. They are also attracted to wood, where they get their name. Carpenter bees are relatively docile and rarely sting humans unless they feel threatened.

Signs of Carpenter Bee Infestations

The most obvious sign of carpenter bees is the holes they drill into wood. These holes are perfectly round and about 0.25 inches (0.64 cm) in diameter.

Carpenter bees typically nest in wood that is weathered or soft. Carpenter bees love bare wood such as pine, fir, cedar, redwood and cyprus

Can carpenter bees sting?

Male carpenter bees cannot sting. Female carpenter bees have stingers but rarely sting unless provoked.

When is the best time to prevent carpenter bees?

The best time to prevent carpenter bees is during the spring when they become active. Implementing preventive measures before they establish nests can be effective. This typically involves sealing off or treating vulnerable wood surfaces to deter nesting.

What do carpenter bees hate most?

Bees dislike citrus oil, almond oil and citrus scent and will avoid treated wood. The bees also don’t like loud sounds.

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Jonathan Gaze

Content Editor

Hello there! I’m Jonathan Gaze, Content Editor for Harry Rufus.

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