We’ve all seen carpenter bees. In fact, you can’t miss them as, apart from the bumblebee queens, they are the largest native bees in the US. However, when you see those telltale ½” round holes in unfinished, soft, damp or dry woods, or perhaps holes in your outdoor furnishings and decks, then the chances are that your property has been infested. Similar to carpenter ants, these bees don’t eat wood but make neat boreholes in the wood to create a nesting area. 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 do away 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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
Make sure you don’t use the glove for any other purpose; either throw them away or keep them for the next time.
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.
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).
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).