Carpenter Bees: 5 Easy Steps to Get Rid of It (Quickly)
Carpenter bees are harmless unless provoked, but there are times when it’s necessary to remove them. Natural and chemical methods of removal exist, and we’re going to discuss the most common carpenter bee solutions on the market.
If you can’t live with carpenter bees buzzing around, or if they’re damaging your home, you have a lot of choices to get rid of carpenter bees.
Table of Contents
- So, How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees?
- Carpenter Bee Control Methods
- How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bee Infestations Yourself
So, How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees?
A carpenter bee killer isn’t your only solution to get rid of these bees. You can choose to repel the bees, make your property less bee-friendly, or call in professionals. The control method you use is up to you.
Carpenter Bee Control Methods
Carpenter Bee Spray
Carpenter bee insecticide is available over-the-counter, and there are many options. The top spray options are:
- Bayer Advanced Carpenter Bee Killer: This foam product from Bayer is a good choice if you hear bees in the wall of your home. What this product does is spray foam into the carpenter bee holes, killing them. Termites are also no match for this product.
- TERRO Carpenter Ant Killer Aerosol Spray: Aerosol sprays are popular because they have a long range, and the spray can be used indoors and outdoors. The spray has a residual control, too, which allows it to linger for weeks at a time. Direct contact with the spray kills the bees, but if you miss, you risk agitating the females, which may sting in retaliation.
These are the two main spray types you’ll find. Of course, you’re free to use any brand you come across.
When using the foam, the idea is that the foam will expand deep into the holes that the carpenter bee makes when making its nest. Holes, formed in homes or other structures, are where the bee will lay her eggs.
The foam will expand to make contact with the bee and her eggs to kill them.
Aerosol sprays are good for direct control. If you see carpenter bees outside your patio door, you may grab the spray and direct it at the bees to kill them. Again, direct contact is needed, so you’ll need to have good aim to hit and kill the desired bee(s).
Carpenter Bee Removal
If you don’t want to take a hands-on approach to eliminating your carpenter bee problem, there are professional exterminators that will do the job. Carpenter bee poison will be used in most cases.
A standard carpenter bee exterminator cost can cost $75 – $400 or more. Since the carpenter bee is solitary, infestations only consist of 6 – 10 bees at most. There won’t be a reason to remove large hives either.
Removal is customized to the situation, so a multi-prong approach is taken.
A combination of the following methods may be employed to remove the carpenter bee:
- Foam sprays placed in the holes of the carpenter bee (discussed previously)
- Chemical sprays to keep the bees away and kill them on contact
- Wood repair or hole plugging to stop future bees from making a nest
The main difference will be the grade of the pesticides and products used by a commercial exterminator. A professional will have access to potent chemicals that kill the bees faster and last longer.
If there are numerous nests in the wall, removal can spread into the several thousand-dollar range.
In-wall removal is the costliest of all removal methods. But since carpenter bees are solitary, this is a rare issue.
Estimates from a professional will be provided following a thorough inspection of the problem.
How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bee Infestations Yourself
If you want to get rid of carpenter bees yourself, it’s possible. You’ll need to follow the guidelines below to ensure your bee problem is a thing of the past.
Step 1: Start With Residual Liquid Treatments
Sprays will keep bees from boring into your wood. The spray, such as those listed above, should be sprayed anywhere you find boreholes. The goal is to kill any bees that either go back to bore the hole further, or come out of the hole.
Spray the most common wooden surfaces if you see carpenter bees:
- Fences posts
- Fascia boards
- Window frames
Remember, carpenter bees bore through wood to lay their eggs, so any wooden structure may be a target for the bee.
If you have the finances, new siding with sealants can be put on the structure and wouldn’t be able to be penetrated by the bees.
When spraying these treatments, it’s recommended that you spray the area twice and repeat every 3 – 4 weeks for best results. Double spraying will keep the area free of bees, and ensures that all areas are properly treated.
Rain will diminish the insecticide, so if it rains, reapply every 2 – 3 weeks for best results.
Step 2: Add Carpenter Bee Repellent to the Mix
Carpenter bee repellent is powerful, and there are liquid repellents, too. I’m going to share a recipe I learned from a friend that works well to keep carpenter bees away. Add the following in a spray bottle:
- 10 drops lavender oil
- 10 drops citronella oil
- 5 drops jojoba
- 5 drops tea tree oil
Fill the rest of the bottle with water, shake and spray any areas where bees are present. This works well to get rid of the bees, and they’ll stay away as long as the scent remains. Rain washes the mixture’s scent away, so it’s pertinent that you respray often for this method to be effective.
Once this is done, you can move on to step 3.
Step 3: Kill the Bees in the Holes
One of the most difficult things about carpenter bees is that they bore into your home, so they can be stuck in the wall. This is very difficult to access, and the female makes tunnels and uses 90 degree angles to keep her offspring safe.
So, it can be very difficult to kill the bees in the wall.
But you can use Bayer’s product above, which will do the trick. All you need to do is:
- Find the holes
- Spray the foam in the holes
And that’s it. The foam will expand into the holes, reaching the bees and killing them on contact.
You can also use the B&G Bulb Dust-R.
What this product does is provide you with a long hose-like extension that can be placed in small holes, and forces “dust” into the holes. I recommend using diatomaceous earth to fill the holes with dust.
This is a potent killer of insects, and it won’t harm humans, so it works well. You’ll need to inject the dust into all boreholes you find for the best results.
Feel free to use either method to kill the bees that bore themselves into wood, or use both methods in conjunction to ensure all bees in the wall are dead.
Step 4: Plug the Holes in the Wall
Bee holes allow eggs to hatch and leave the nest, and they also allow new bees to go into the holes and lay eggs in the future. Holes need to be filled promptly, and this requires caulk or plugs to fill the hole.
Your local hardware store will have supplies to close the bee holes.
“Plugs” can be placed in the holes to keep bees out, too. This is essential to allowing your home to be carpenter bee free.
You also have another option. There are Carpenter bee control kits that include everything you need to get started. These kits include the following items:
- Delta dust – used to fill the holes with bee-killing dust
- Insecticide – used to kill bees on contact
- Plugs – precisely sized plugs used to seal bee holes
These kits will allow you to cover all the steps we’ve discussed so far with everything included in one kit. If you’re the type of person who wants to get started with their carpenter bee removal, this kit will work wonders.
Carpenter bee butter used to be sold everywhere, too, and this is recommended if you can find it.
A lot of stores stopped stocking bee butter.
Step 5: Set Carpenter Bee Traps
The final step of the entire process is to set carpenter bee traps on your property. These traps are highly effective, and they allow you to lure bees to the trap and kill them – something that most homeowners can appreciate.
We just wrote a great article on carpenter bee traps that you can read to learn how to create a trap yourself.
Carpenter bees are harmless, but if you have numerous bees making nests in your home’s walls or siding, you need to worry about damage to your home’s structure. A quick and easy fix is to call an exterminator, but this is costly.
If you have just an hour or so, you can use the steps outlined above to rid yourself of carpenter bees.
It’s simple and easy.
But if you only see one bee outside, we urge you to remain patient. These bees are solitary, and they don’t make large hives like other bees do.
If you’re like many people that are concerned with the declining bee population, you can make a structure to attract the bees and allow them to live their lives, too.