13 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees

Home Remedies to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees
Image Source :

Carpenter bees, also known as wood bees, are one of the largest native bees in the US. These boring bees will carve out telltale ½” round holes in unfinished, soft, damp or dry woods, and cut holes in your outdoor furnishings and decks. Unlike termites, these bees don’t eat wood but make neat boreholes in the wood to create a nesting area similar to carpenter ants. If you want to know how to get rid of carpenter bees in a non-toxic way, then read on. Our home remedies for carpenter bees that will help you kill these bees in an eco-friendly manner.


Though carpenter bees tend not to be aggressive, they can cause huge damage to your garden furnishings and structural beams in your house. Also, the male carpenter bees can get aggressive around people when they feel a quick movement, such as – waving the hand in the air, and might sting.

Home Remedies to control Carpenter Bees

1. Vacuum Cleaner

By making use of the smallest nozzle of your vacuum cleaner, you can easily get rid of carpenter bees from wood. Take a vacuum cleaner and put it over the openings or holes and vacuum up the bees.

This remedy works best when the nest is a pretty new one.

If the vacuum is not strong, you will never be able to suck them out. However, if you fix the nozzle close to the hole, and leave the vacuum running, eventually the bee will exit the nest and get sucked up.

For the best results, the finest time to perform this remedy would be in the evening hours as the bees are in their nest during these hours and will not be able to escape.

Be aware, you should use a wet vacuum to drown the bees, otherwise, you will have live angry bees to dispose of.

Vacuuming is an also an effective method to get rid of bees and yellow jackets (1).

2. Noise

It may sound strange, but it works magic. Carpenter bees can’t tolerate noise, so make a loud noise to get rid of them. Set up a boom box or sound box adjacent to their dwellings to encourage them to fly away. This remedy is both safe as well as hassle-free.

3. Petrol

Spraying diesel or petrol in the burrows will kill the bees. Being flammable, be cautious that fumes are near no source of ignition.

Wear an N-95 respirator, gloves, and goggles while squirting petrol in the burrows. If you are making use of a spray bottle, then label it and put it aside for use of petrol-only in the future.

4. Block the Holes

This remedy is particularly useful for those who abhor the after-effects that are caused by spraying the insecticides. Closing all the entries and exits to the nest is an effective step to get rid of carpenter bees.

Use steel wool for this purpose since the bees cannot burrow through steel wool. You can also make use of caulk and putty (2,). Holes should be blocked in the night as adult carpenter bees are actively foraging in daytime (4).

But it is better to block the tunnel using a dusted plug of copper gauze or steel wool because adult bees can tunnel through shallow caulk or putty.

5. Bee Sprays

This is one of the most traditional methods to eliminate carpenter bees. Use the store-bought sprays and squirt it directly into the nest when you think that the carpenter bees are inside.

Cover the hole using duct tape for 24 hours after spraying. Remove the tape and repeat the process if any other activity is noticed inside the tunnel (6).

Make sure you follow all the instructions mentioned on the product and wear the protective equipment ( gloves, goggles etc) to protect your skin  (7).

6. Vinyl Siding

Yet another effective way to keep carpenter bees away from your home is by using vinyl siding to keep your home protected.

Vinyl siding has a non-wooden surface that can’t be damaged by these insects (8, 9).

7. Boric Acid

Boric acid is poisonous to carpenter bees. Spray boric acid in the entry holes of the nest in order to kill their larvae before they hatch (10).

8. Aerosol Carburetor Cleaner

Spray aerosol carburetor cleaner on the bees or on their burrows (11, 12). It is certainly not a gentle product to be used for the extermination of carpenter bee, but it is the most effective remedy.

It is available in varied types – some types may be effective in killing them instantly inside their burrow while the others will make their homes uninhabitable (13).

Note – Keep the cleaner away from your eyes or face; read the precautions and wear protection for your own safety.

  • Alternatively, aerosol sprays can directly be sprayed in their burrows. After one or two days close the entrance hole with plastic wood or caulking compound (14, 15).

9. Badminton Rackets

During the spring season, carpenter bees fly around in search of burrows so as to lay eggs or feed their larvae. This means they become very active for 2 – 3 weeks.

Make use of tennis or badminton racket to squat them. Then just step on them (with shoes on, of course). Simple but effective

How to get rid of carpenter bees10. Citrus Spray

Squirt citrus spray on the affected area. Look for a citrus-based spray that is specifically designed for carpenter bees or you can even make it on your own.

Take any of the citrus fruit such as lemon, orange, grapefruit, or lime, and allow it to boil in a shallow pot completely filled with water.

Now, take a spray bottle and fill it with the prepared citrus solution. Spray it on the holes of the carpenter bees.

Like other insects, carpenter bees also have a natural abhorrence to citrus oil (16).

11. Almond Oil

You can also make use of almond oil or almond essence, in order to repel the carpenter bees (17).

12. Diatomaceous Earth

Wear gloves and fill the burrows made by carpenter bees with some diatomaceous earth. It is a natural insecticide and will kill the insects by dying them out.

Now, close the holes using some putty. Diatomaceous earth is a temporary solution to get rid of carpenter bees (18, 19).

Make sure you don’t use the glove for any other purpose; either throw them away or keep them for the next time.

13. Paint

Carpenter bees don’t eat wood, they dig the tunnels for shelter. It is easy to excavate unpainted objects like doors, windows, roof eaves, shingles, railings, etc.

Therefore, all the outdoor wooden surfaces of your house should be painted to reduce bee infestation (20, 21).  Although the bees attack all wooden surfaces,  they prefer untreated wood (22, 23).

Use a good quality exterior primer and apply two coats for better protection (24). Oil-based paints can also be used to keep carpenter bees away (25).

14. Essential oils as an natural insect repellent

Use essential oils as insecticides.

Lavender, jojoba, citronella, tea tree, cedar, and neem oil can be used. Add them to alcohol and pour the mixture into a sprinkler. Spray this natural insect repellent on affected areas

All these oils have insect repellent properties (26).

15. Hardwood

Use of hardwood can also prevent from carpenter bees attack, as the structure of this wood is more dense than softwoods.

Oak, ash, cherry, maple are some of its popular types. Make use of this wood rather than softwood to make furniture (27).

16. Pyrethrum spray

Pyrethrum, also known as Tanacetum is a flower with natural insecticidal properties. You can use its spray to kill carpenter bees.

Wear gloves, protective clothing, goggles and a respirator to avoid insecticidal dust and bee sting (28).


  • Once the bees disappear, replace all the damaged wood (29, 30).
  • Keep all the wooden fixtures well maintained and painted, particularly the vulnerable areas (31, 32).
  • Keep an eye on new holes and block them as quickly as possible (33, 34).
  • Try to stop the reproduction cycle. Killing the reproducing females or adult bees is not merely enough; you also need to destroy the bee larvae in their burrows so that they don’t reproduce and start the cycle all over again.
  • You can also use pressure-treated wood for making outdoor furniture (35).


  • Avoid using banned pesticides. They are toxic to you and your children’s health. Moreover, it may cause various serious environmental problems.
  • Wear protective clothing while using any remedy or when treating carpenter bees, as they will sting you (36).


  1. I have carpenter bees due to a lot of wood on my porches.
    I have tried most of the remedies listed in this article.
    I eliminated my Carpenter Bee problem when I bought a butterfly net.
    It is very easy to catch them in the net.
    Once they are in I turn it quickly to prevent them escaping and then either spray the culprit with carpenter bee spray (it kills on contact), or I drown them.
    My problem now is simply filling the old holes.
    I keep the net handy but have not had any bees in weeks.

  2. Unfortunately, most of the bees you caught were most likely MALE carpenter bees. They hover around while the females prepare the nesting tunnels with food and lay eggs for their young. Watch in mid summer for signs of the developing young as they leave their tunnels – falling or small piles of sawdust, an occassional bee flying by, or a buzzing sound coming from inside your wood as the larvae develop. As soon as they re-appear, follow the advice above as quickly as possible. If you prefer natural “pesticides” insert diatomaceus earth into the holes and as far as possible into the tunnels. Wait a week and stuff a small wad of steel wool in each 1/2″ hole followed by caulk or glued wood plugs. Good luck!

  3. Petrol is extremely flammable, NOT INFLAMMABLE, as you state in the article- meaning whatever you put it on becomes ready to burn, and permanently infused with a very foul odor. It is gasoline, and must never be stored around the home, except in red, clearly labeled “gas cans”. It is not to be applied to homes, or anything of value. Please remove this “suggestion”.

    • It is true that ‘flammable’ and ‘inflammable’ have the same meaning of ‘highly combustible’. In English grammar, we frequently use the prefix ‘in-‘ to negate something (‘visible’ becomes ‘invisible’, ‘capacity’ becomes ‘incapacity’). However, it is an intensive here and NOT an expression of negation. INFLAMMABLE = FLAMMABLE.

  4. I tried rubbing Alcohol on cotton and put it in the holes it worked. The following year they were back. I tried most of what you have said on here but I still can’t get rid of them.

    • did you try boric acid? I think it is the best natural insecticide for carpenter bees. I would be very surprised if it didn’t work for you. Best of luck.

  5. We’ve had GREAT success with FOOD GRADE diatomaceous earth (DE). It’s perfectly natural and safe for people and animals. Since carpenter bees bore a hole into the wood and then turn 90 degrees to bore their tunnels, try to get the DE into the tunnel by using a duster with a tube that inserts into the hole. The bees will track any DE that you do get into the hole back to the hatchlings in the tunnels.

  6. Need to try this Someone told me to fill a paper bag twist the end and leave it near the holes The bags looks like a hornets nest Hornets are very aggressive to everything near nest Well I tried and bees gone

  7. I have carpenter bees that bore into the dirt around my landscaping plants (needle palms, azaleas, ginger plants, etc.). What is the best solution to kill them without harming my landscaping?

  8. Guaranteed to get rid of wood bees in 76 hours. Hang fully opened paper bags by string outside your house and the bees believe it’s a bee hive and leave.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.