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How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees Naturally

how to get rid of carpenter bees naturally

You may have noticed large, black bees buzzing around your deck or porch this spring.

These are carpenter bees, and while they are beneficial pollinators, they can also be destructive to wood.

Female carpenter bees bore into wood to lay their eggs and create nests for their young, which can cause long-term damage to your home.

If you're dealing with a carpenter bee problem and are looking for a natural solution, there are a few things you can try.

In this guide, we'll show you what are carpenter bees and how to get rid of carpenter bees naturally.

What are Carpenter Bees?

carpenter bees

The Carpenter Bee is an amazing pollinator and plays an important role in ecosystems. It is North Americas largest bee.

It withstands wind and rain unlike other insects and is able to continue pollination when other bees are not.

It's very gentle nature is very strong, and females sting unless severe circumstances occur.

Females can appear intimidating flying at much greater speed toward anything that seems to be threatening but has absolutely no stinger in them.

Carpenter bee is usually confused with a bumblebee but the bee has a black, shiny tan abdomen (not the hairy bumblebee). It possesses also other breeding habits.

Carpenter Bees Life Cycle

carpenter bee life cycle

Carpenter bees are large, solitary bees that excavate a hole in the wood to lay their eggs. They are named for the curious nesting behavior of their females; they dig a tunnel in wood to place their eggs.

Carpenter bees have four life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Their transformation from egg to adult takes around 7 weeks in total.


All carpenter bees, just like other types of bees, start their life out as an egg. However, before the mother bee can lay these eggs, she has a lot of work to do first.

The female carpenter bee will lay her eggs in the spring after she has mated. She will excavate a tunnel in wood and then create a series of cells in which to lay her eggs.

She will provision each cell with pollen and nectar before laying an egg on it and sealing the cell shut.


The next stage in a carpenter bee's life cycle is the larval stage. Once an egg hatches, a larva emerges from it.

This larva is safe from predators deep inside the tunnel its mother dug and sealed inside its brood cell. It lives off the food that was put there with it.

This food source is called bee bread and is created from a mixture of pollen and regurgitated nectar.


The pupal phase is the transformation period from a larva into an adult bee. The young bee is in a vulnerable position during this inactive period.

However, owing to its complicated nest, it is safer than other creatures that go through metamorphosis.

The carpenter bee larva is unique in that it doesn't have to build a cocoon; instead, its transformation happens while still in the brood cell.

See Also: How to Get Rid of Ground Bees Naturally

How To Identify A Carpenter Bee

indentify carpenter bee

Carpenter bees, also called borers, belong to the genus Xylocopa of the family Apida and are a worldwide genus.

They are appropriately called for their nesting behaviors, which consist of digging into decaying wood to create tunnels to lay eggs.

Carpenters pollinate open faces or shallow flowers with short mouthparts. In many species, such as maypops (Passiflora incarnata), sea roses, or Orphium frutescens they'd be the sole pollinater.

The male is naturally gentle and doesn't have any stingers; however, he will hover near animals and those approaching nests nearby.

Signs of a Carpenter Bee Infestation

carpenter bee infestation

While these bees are important pollinators, they can also cause serious damage to your home if they decide to build their nests there.

Here are some signs that you may have a carpenter bee infestation:

  1. Seeing large bees hovering around your home: Carpenter bees are larger than most other types of bees, so they are easy to spot. If you see large bees hovering around your home, they may be carpenter bees checking out potential nesting sites.
  2. Hearing a buzzing sound coming from your walls: If you hear a buzzing noise coming from your walls, it could be carpenter bees boring holes into the wood.
  3. Finding piles of sawdust beneath holes in your wood: Carpenter bees excavate tunnels as they burrow into wood, and they will often kick out the sawdust that results from this excavation. If you find piles of sawdust beneath holes in your wood, it's a good indication that carpenter bees are present.
  4. Noticing damaged wood: Carpenter bee damage often looks like small diameter holes with perfectly round edges. The holes may be close together or clustered in one area and are usually about 1/2 inch in diameter.

If you notice any of these signs, it's important to take action immediately to prevent further damage to your home.

You should contact a professional pest control company that can assess the situation and determine the best course of treatment.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees Naturally

Carpenter bees get their name from their ability to drill holes into the wood in order to create nests.

While they don't eat the wood, their excavations can create unsightly damage and weaken the structural integrity of your home.

There are a few things you can do to get rid of carpenter bees naturally.

Diatomaceous earth

diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth is a white powder that is made from the fossilized remains of algae. It works by puncturing the exoskeletons of insects, which causes them to dehydrate and die.

You can apply diatomaceous earth around the entrances of bee tunnels or anywhere else you've seen bee activity.

Just be sure to wear a mask when applying it as diatomaceous earth can be harmful if inhaled.

Essential Oils

Essential Oils

Certain essential oils have Insecticidal properties that can help kill carpenter bees.

Oils like citrus oil, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, and eucalyptus oil have all been shown to be effective against these pests.

You can make a spray by mixing 3-5 drops of essential oil with water in a spray bottle and spraying it around areas where carpenter bees are active.

Carpenter Bee Traps

carpenter bee traps

You can also trap carpenter bees using special traps that are designed specifically for them.

These traps usually consist of a piece of wood with several small holes drilled into it. The bees will enter the holes thinking they've found a nest only to find themselves trapped inside with no way out.

Once they're in the trap, you can then release them into an open area far away from your home.

Just be sure to check the traps regularly so that the bees don't die inside and attract other pests like yellow jackets or wasps.

Carpenter Bee Hotel

carpenter bee hotel

You can also trap carpenter bees using special traps that are designed specifically for them.

These traps usually consist of a piece of wood with several small holes drilled into it. The bees will enter the holes thinking they've found a nest only to find themselves trapped inside with no way out.

Once they're in the trap, you can then release them into an open area far away from your home.

Just be sure to check the traps regularly so that the bees don't die inside and attract other pests like yellow jackets or wasps.

Brewing garlic, oil, and vinegar


This mixture will kill the bees and deter them from returning. To make it, simply combine 1 minced garlic clove with 1 cup of water, ½ cup of vinegar, and ¼ cup of olive oil in a small spray bottle.

Then, just spray it around the area where the bees are active.

Sealing the tunnels with woven wire

This method will prevent the bees from being able to access their nests, eventually leading them to leave in search of a new nesting site.

To do this, simply stuff the tunnels with steel wool or woven wire mesh. Then, seal up the openings with construction adhesive or putty.

Play Loud Music

Believe it or not, carpenter bees are sensitive to sound vibrations. So, playing loud music near their nest can actually help get rid of them.

Read Also: How to Get Rid of Sweat Bees

How Can I Get rid of Carpenter Bees Chemically?

Alternatively removing honey bees is a good way of controlling bees by using some other method, but they must only be used in the last resort.

Use chemical products. Please wear specialized clothing and glasses to help protect yourself from possible bees and stings.

The product is available in several different forms in the insecticide nesting system such as liquid sprays, spraying foams, etc.

Sprays are often more effective for older infestations and the insecticide dust may go deeper into them.

The solution is quite simple - eliminate Carpenter Bees.

How To Get Rid Of Carpenter Bees with Wd40

If you're noticing small, round holes in your wood deck or other wooden structures, it's likely that carpenter bees have taken up residence.

One popular method is to use WD-40. The petroleum-based product can be sprayed directly onto the bee holes.

The bees will then carry the WD-40 back to their nest, where it will kill the eggs and larvae.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Keep Carpenter Bees Away?

Some non-toxic liquid-repelling bee species include water and lemon oil or almond oil. Using spray bottles you can spray around the bee holes so they don't leave nesting colonies.

Loud vibrations are believed to repel bees so play loud music near the area where infestation occurs.

What Smell Do Carpenter Bees Hate

Carpenter Bees naturally resist citrus scents. Slice and boil lemon fruit in boiling hot water for 1-2 minutes so the juice releases.

Bring a little citrus water to room temperature; put the spray in a bucket and place it into a “flow” and spray it on the nesting area.


Carpenter bees may be small, but they can cause big problems for homeowners.

If not dealt with quickly and correctly, carpenter bee infestations can cause extensive damage to your home.

Use the steps above to get rid of them naturally - and be sure to check for new nesting sites regularly so you can nip any infestations in the bud!

About The Author:

Meet Mark Calhoun, a seasoned pest control expert in the realm our pest control company. With over 10 years of dedicated experience and Managing Editor. His primary mission is to furnish you with precise and invaluable DIY insights, ensuring your home remains pest-free while aiding you in distinguishing various household pests.
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