10 Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees do a lot of damage because they are attracted to wooden structures when seeking somewhere to build their nests. They prefer a soft wood that is not covered in bark and is not decayed.

They bore into the wood and create internal galleries which lead into their egg chambers. These chambers are then sealed with wood particles while the larvae hatch and pupate.

Holes drilled by carpenter bees will weaken any structure made from wood and make it look unsightly. If home remedies are not used to get rid of them, female bees will take pollen into the nest so that the next generation will emerge late in the summer.


Ten Killer Home Tips to Get rid of Carpenter Bees

Home remedies for getting rid of carpenter bees are far safer and more effective than the use of commercial pesticides. Each brood chamber within the nest is sealed off, so chemicals do not reach into those parts of a nest that contain the developing bees.

1. Use a Natural Homemade Repellent

Natural oils and essences can be very effective when used as a repellent and they can be some of the best home remedies for getting rid of carpenter bees. Almond essence, almond oil, tea tree oil and citrus oil all repel the bees naturally.

These and other oils can be used to make a spray which can be applied to the surface and around holes in the wood, to repel carpenter bees.


One way to make a natural repellent is to blend 0.25 fl oz oil of lavender oil and 0.5 fl oz oil of citronella with small amounts of with tea tree oil, jojoba oil and pennyroyal oil (about 0.10 fl oz of each). Dilute the mixed oils with 16 fl oz of vodka and then pour the solution into a spray bottle.

2. Make Natural Citrus Oil Spray

Citrus oil is nature’s way of keeping insects at bay. It forms naturally within the skin of citrus fruits as a natural insect repellent.

Make your own citrus oil spray by using a mix of peels from lemons, grapefruits, limes and oranges. Place the citrus peels in water and boil in a pan. When the liquid has cooled, it should be placed in a spray bottle and then sprayed directly onto wood surfaces and around any holes that have previously been used by carpenter bees.

3. Hit Bees in Flight with a Racket

Carpenter bees fly around in the spring looking for places to nest, and it is possible to swat them away from a vulnerable wood structure by using a tennis racket or a badminton racket to stun them in flight with a strong hit. When a bee falls to the ground after being hit, a firm stamp with the foot will ensure that it is dead.

There is of course a greater chance of being stung by female carpenter bees when aiming to swat them with a racket.

4. Deter Nuisance Bees with Noise

carpenter bees with noise

Image: wikihow.com

One way to keep carpenter bees away is by setting up a boombox or any type of sound system that can emit loud music. Their sensitivity to noise, or the vibrations caused by the noise, will discourage them from nesting in the area.

You should of course consider the impact which the noise could have on nearby human neighbors before trying this method.

5. Use a Can of Carburetor Cleaner

A can of carburetor cleaner spray, which is easily obtainable from any auto supply store, will quickly kill carpenter bees or deter them from making their nests in wood that has been recently sprayed.

The can has an extension tube which will direct the cleaner into bee holes in the wood so the cleaner will go deep into the galleries inside the wood. If there are any bees or larvae in the chambers, this will kill them almost instantly. If there are no bees or any larvae in the wood, then the carburetor spray will prevent them from entering through existing holes to nest.


Always read safety instructions before using a carburetor cleaner and wear protection on your face so that it does not get into the eyes or mouth.

6. Use Diesel Fuel or Petroleum as a Pesticide

Burrows made by carpenter bees in a wooden structure can be treated with diesel fuel or petroleum. This works as an effective homemade pesticide, but it is not the safest of home remedies. Fumes should not be inhaled and the liquid must not come into contact with skin. It may also cause some additional damage to the structure and it is a big fire risk.

7. Fill in Holes and Seal off Galleries

After killing off adult carpenter bees, or when the young have left the nest at the end of summer, it is important to fill in every hole they have made in the wood and to seal off their chambers. No future generation of bees will be able to breed there if internal galleries and chambers are filled with a hard substance after the bees have left.

Use a strong type of filler that the bees will not be able to bore through, such as aluminum, asphalt, fiberglass or steel wool. Wood putty or caulking can be added to patch over the holes before paint or varnish is applied to the wood surface.

8. Make Wood Less Attractive to Pests

Bees are very beneficial and are necessary for the pollination of plants, so it is better to deter the pest species from nesting in your yard rather than trying to kill them.

Carpenter bees have a preference for untreated wood, and a good way to make wood unattractive to them is by sealing all the surfaces with paint or wood varnish.

Wood stain will treat the wood and might help deter the bees, but the wood will not be sealed so they could still burrow into it.

9. Fill in Cracks and Cover Rough Ends

Hardwood is less likely to attract carpenter bees for nesting but it is a good idea to prevent them from digging into any type of wood by applying a wood filler to fill in all the cracks and dents in the surface. This should be done before applying a stain, paint or varnish.

Any log ends or rough wood surfaces at the joints and corners should be protected with metal flashing or could be covered over with fine wire mesh.

10. Replace Wood with Vinyl Siding

When the external wood on a building has become badly damaged by carpenter bees, the best option might be to replace it all with vinyl siding. This can give the appearance of painted wood, but without any risk of damage from nesting bees.

If you know any other useful tip to eliminate carpenter bees, please share in the comment section below.

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