Got Carpenter Bees? Here’s How to Deal With Them

If you’ve ever noticed small holes in wood around your home, it could be a sign of a carpenter bee (Xylocopa virginica) infestation. But don’t panic! These pests can be dealt with effectively in a number of ways.

From treating the wood surfaces of your home to using natural sprays, carpenter bees are fairly easy to get rid of with simple DIY methods. And you can always call a pest control company if the infestation is beyond your control, too. 


Key Takeaways

  • Carpenter bees, like bumblebees and honeybees, are important pollinators, but that doesn’t mean you want them drilling holes in your home!
  • There are some steps you can take to get rid of carpenter bees, such as calling a pest control company and using essential oils.
  • You should only need to call a pest control company if the carpenter bee infestation is severe or if you don’t wish to take DIY measures yourself.


Call a Professional (If the problem is serious)

If you’ve noticed carpenter bee holes or carpenter bee nests in your home’s walls, railings, or other wood surfaces, you may be wondering how to deal with them. While it can be appealing to tackle the issue yourself, in many cases, the most effective route may be to call a professional if the issue becomes serious. 

But first, make sure you’re identifying the bees correctly. Carpenter bees look like regular bumblebees, but they have a shiny black abdomen and lack the yellow stripes that bumblebees have. They range from 1/2 inch to 1 inch long and are typically found near wood structures like decks, porches, window frames, eaves, and other wooden structures. 

Carpenter bees, like their “bumble cousins,” are important pollinators. However, they can also be frustrating to deal with in the home, causing extensive damage to softwoods and even occasionally stinging. 

That’s a good reason to consider calling a professional pest control company. Even though carpenter bees are important—meaning we don’t want to kill them indiscriminately—you definitely don’t want them lingering around areas of your home where they might be likely to sting people. It’s a nuisance and a liability. 

So how do you know if it’s time to pick up the phone? 

Harmless DIY treatments like treating the wood of your home and using natural sprays (which should repel the bees rather than kill them) should be your first line of defense. If DIY treatments like these don’t work, then it’s probably time to contact an exterminator or pest control company, who will be able to give more extensive treatment options tailored specifically to your situation. 

They may use products like dusts, foams, and aerosols to treat specific areas of wood that were affected by carpenter bee activity. Plus, they can offer advice on how best to prevent future infestations from occurring. 


Treat Wood

While there are a number of ways to keep these buzzing intruders at bay, one of the most effective methods is to treat the wood in your home. That’s right—treated wood can be an effective deterrent against carpenter bees! 

Carpenter bees are attracted to untreated wood because they are able to bore into it and make their homes. However, treated wood, like varnished wood, contains chemicals that repel carpenter bees, making it much harder for them to drill through or chew on. This makes treated wood an ideal choice when trying to deter carpenter bees from entering your home. 

Treating your wood is not difficult but should be done with care, as certain chemicals can be dangerous if handled improperly. You’ll want to follow the instructions on whatever product you use carefully and wear protective equipment when applying the treatment if necessary. 

Once you’ve applied the treatment, let it dry completely before using or storing any treated lumber in an enclosed space like a shed or attic. It’s also important to note that treating only part of the wood will not work; you must treat all exposed surfaces in order for this method to be effective against carpenter bees. 

In addition to treating your wood, there are other steps you can take to protect your home from carpenter bee infestations such as sealing any cracks or crevices where they might enter and removing any dead trees or branches from around your property that could attract them. 


Natural Sprays 

Carpenter bees are a nuisance, but they don’t have to be. If you want to rid your yard of these pesky creatures with natural ingredients without resorting to harsh chemicals or other more invasive methods, there are some steps that you can take. One such method is using natural sprays as a deterrent. 

One popular way of deterring carpenter bees naturally is by using essential oils mixed with vinegar. This mixture can be sprayed on any areas where carpenter bees are likely to build their nests and burrow into wood structures like decks and porches. 

Popular essential oils used in this concoction include lavender oil, cinnamon oil, and clove oil. Other good options include:

  • Citrus oil
  • Almond oil
  • Lemongrass oil
  • Peppermint oil

The scent of these oils is strong enough to deter the carpenter bee from nesting in the area but not so strong as to be offensive or toxic for humans or animals in the vicinity. Mix them up in a spray bottle with a bit of water, then apply to any unfinished wood surfaces where you’ve noticed these bees have been a problem.

Vinegar-based mixtures are also helpful because they create an acidic environment that makes it difficult for carpenter bees to build their nests and burrow into wood structures. To make a vinegar-based mixture, simply mix equal parts white vinegar and water with several drops of any of the above-mentioned essential oils. 

Be sure not to use too much essential oil as this could irritate your skin if you come into contact with it while spraying the mixture onto affected areas. 

Another option for naturally repelling carpenter bees is by using natural repellents such as garlic powder or onion powder sprinkled around entry points in wooden structures like decks and porches. 

This will create an unpleasant smell that will keep the carpenter bee away without harming humans or animals in the vicinity. Even cedar chips can help repel carpenter bees due to their strong smell which will discourage them from nesting near cedar chip-covered areas.  


Make Some Noise!

If you’re looking for a way to get rid of those pesky carpenter bees, you may want to try making some noise.

Carpenter bees are sensitive to the vibrations caused by sound waves traveling through the air. They can sense the vibrations, and they don’t like it. That’s why they fly away when faced with loud noises like music or a vacuum cleaner. 

You can also use other items such as radios and speakers that produce loud sounds. Just make sure that whatever method you choose is producing enough sound for the carpenter bees to hear it.


Bee Traps

Bee traps work by attracting carpenter bees using nectar, then trapping them in an enclosed chamber. The trap is usually made of wood, plastic, or metal and contains an entrance hole that the bees fly into. 

Once inside, the bee cannot find its way out again due to the shape of the chamber and the sticky material lining the walls. This ensures that once a bee is trapped inside, it won’t be able to escape. 

In order for bee traps to be effective at catching carpenter bees, they must be placed in areas where carpenter bees are known to nest. Carpenter bees prefer nesting in wood structures such as decks, fences, and sheds, so placing traps near these areas is likely to increase your chances of catching bees.

Finally, it’s important that you keep an eye on your bee traps and empty them regularly in order for them to remain effective at catching new bees. 

Dealing with carpenter bees doesn’t have to be a nightmare—it’s actually quite simple if you know what steps need to be taken. With just a few simple measures, you’ll be able to banish those pesky carpenter bees from your life for good!