Carpenter Bees Infestation:

8 Ways to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees

While the bumblebee is infamous for its hostile nature and sting, carpenter bees are sedated by nature. Carpenter bees are similar regarding body shape and color to bumble bees.

In contrast to the male carpenter bee, which does not possess the ability to sting, the female can and will sting if provoked.

Preferring to make their homes in sylvan settings they set up their nests by burrowing into the wood and making tunnels there.

These bees are beneficial as they help in pollination of crops, plants and other flora. Therefore, let’s see how we can rid our homes and gardens of carpenter bees and keep them away.

Recognizing Carpenter Bees from Bumblebees

The bumblebee and carpenter bee differ in color. The Bumblebee has black and yellow strips, and the carpenter bee is black all over without hair.

While the female carpenter bee can sting, the male does not. Bees do not usually attack unless they are provoked. The reality is that they do not pose much of threat to your health.

Signs of Carpenter Bees Infestation

  • Visible Holes in Wood

Carpenter bees drill holes in wood to build their nests. It is usually only about half-inch. If you are looking around and notice small holes in the wood around your home or property, you might have carpenter bees.

If you’re starting to notice a lot of sawdust around, this is another indicator of carpenter bees. If you don’t address the problem, it could become worse. When they continue making holes in the wood, it damages your property.

  • You Hear Buzzing Noises

Buzzing sounds can come from any type of bee. In the case of the carpenter bee, these are the ones that you likely hear inside your home.

The bumblebee isn’t usually found indoors. Unlike the bumblebee, the carpenter bee will come indoors during the colder months and leave once it starts to get warm outside again.

a carpenter bee in its burrow

Carpenter bee in its burrow

Extermination of Carpenter Bees

  • Pesticides: Powdered products such as boric acid and carbaryl dust have proven the most effective form of pesticides for targeting and destroying nests.
  • Petrol Spray: If you’re a DIY kind of person then merely spray petrol or diesel on the burrows. You can be sure that the carpenter bees will be exterminated instantly. However, be careful since both petrol and diesel are highly flammable, and avoid inhaling the fumes.  Also, wear protective gear like goggles, gloves, and respirator to avoid exposure of skin, eyes, and lungs.
  • You could also use an aerosol carburetor cleaner to spray the carpenter bees in their burrows. It’s a not so gentle an option, but very effective for exterminating them in their nest. Easily available at the auto supply or discount stores. These cleaners come with an extension tube from the can making the burrows uninhabitable. Here again, as with the use of petrol and diesel, you must be very careful and use adequate protection for face and lungs.
  • Noise: Carpenter bees are very sensitive to sounds and vibrations of all kinds. Fixing a boom-box or a sound-box in the vicinity of their burrows can disperse them. With this method, you are free from any undesirable side-effects too.
  • Swat them out: Carpenter bees are particularly active and appear in large numbers during the spring season when they lay eggs. During this time they look for places to nest, lay eggs and also deposit food (pollen) for their larva. You could always use a racquet to swat the bees while they hover around looking for potential nesting locations.


If you are looking around and notice small holes in the wood around your home or property, you might have carpenter bees. 


Prevention of Carpenter Bees

  • Steel-Wool: Use steel-wool to stuff the burrows. Once you seal the burrow openings, it’s impossible for them to get in or out of their nests. After the bees inside the burrows die, you could seal the openings with wood putty, and paint it with wood color to cover it up.
  • Be Creative: Discourage a bee infestation with a bit of creativity. By painting or staining wooden surfaces you can create a treated wood surface finish which the bees are not attracted to. According to professional exterminators, this method is highly effective in discouraging them from targeting wooden surfaces in the household.
  • Natural Sprays: Use natural sprays like citrus or tea tree oil on the affected areas. You can prepare non-synthetic concoctions at home. Cut the rinds of citrus fruit (like lemon, grapefruit, orange, tangerines, etc.), boil them in water, and use the extract as a spray. Since these bees are naturally averse to citrus extracts, they’ll avoid such spots. Similarly, you could use almond extracts like the oil or essence to similar effect.

The key is to break the reproduction cycle. Merely destroying the adult bees will not resolve the infestation problem. For complete freedom, it’s important to target the larva. That will put a stop to the reproduction cycle, and prevent future carpenter bees from being born.

As always, and with any severe pest infestation, if DIY methods are not successful, it’s advisable to contact a professional pest control exterminator.***

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