How to Get Rid Of Carpenter Bees without Killing Them 

How to Get Rid Of Carpenter Bees without Killing Them

Unlike bumble/honey bees, carpenter bees do more than just carry out pollination – they bore woods and create nests. Also, female carpenter bees may sting humans if provokes. 

So, on how to get rid of carpenter bees without killing them; you can install a sacrificial piece of wood, install carpenter bee traps, use a Sweep net, adopt preventive measures like WD-40, or make some noise to scare bees away. 

Alternatively, hanging wind chime works incredibly, while painting wooden surface prevents carpenter bees from boring. Further, you can opt to wait for the bees to leave on their own, vacuum them, or use almond/citrus oil as well. 

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How to Get Rid Of Carpenter Bees without Killing Them

1. Using a Sweep net

This a device which is weaved or manufactured using a tough loose network that forms a tiny mesh, though which insects such as bees can’t pass.

  • The sweep net comes with a handle or extender, depending on the place you intend to use it.
  • Hang/pin the sweep net with an opening facing the carpenter bees’ nest/holes and create a disturbance from beneath.
  • As the bees leave to escape, they get trapped in the sweep net. Later, empty the sweep net in open fields – far away from your home or office.

In case you spot flying carpenter bees, use a sweep net with a long handle – swing/sweep the net in the air in order to capture the flying carpenter bees and dispose of them as advised previously.

NB: Sweep nets are common in the local market and relatively cheap as compared to options such as vacuuming. 

Related: Removing Get Rid of Ground Bees

2.  Installing Sacrificial Piece of Wood

A sacrificial wood is a standard lumber piece, which is highly visible and attracts carpenter bees preferentially.

The wooden size may change (varying lengths and widths) depending on the bee colony at your place  – small sizes are meant for medium colonies, while large sizes should be used to trap large bee colonies.

  • The piece of wood should be built using softwood trees such as redwood, pine, or cedar.
  • Moreover, the selected piece should also be untreated with any chemical or unvarnished/unpainted (paint /varnish prevents carpenter bees from chewing the softwood).
  • Upon preparation, hang the piece of wood in an open place/exposed (Hunker suggests so) such that the carpenter bees can locate it easily.

The idea is that the carpenter bees will chew softwood and boreholes in it as many as the population is.

Once the entire piece of wood is fully nested, remove and relocate/dispose of it far away from your house. Re-install another piece of wood until the decoy gets rid of the entire carpenter bee infestation.

3. Use Preventive Measure Like Applying WD-40

The use of preventive measures such as vinyl siding keeps off carpenter bees from your house.

  • Alternatively, you can apply a spray, like WD-40, which repels carpenter bees.
  • By avoiding the use of wooden interior lining and instead substituting it with a composite or metallic counterpart; then, you will be a notch high in carpenter bees prevention.

Furthermore, keep carpenter bee repellant plants in your house/office or plant similar species in the compound.

In whatever situation, you must incorporate a defensive approach instead of killing the entire bee colony – have hardwood furniture that can’t be chewed by carpenter bees. 

Related: Bees versus Wasps vs Hornets

4. Making Noise – Create Sound Vibrations

Loud noise scares carpenter bees away – they don’t like the disturbances and sharp pitches.

  • Using a piece of metal or wood, bang near the bees’ nest continuously – the sound vibrations will drive the bees away, one after the other.

You can opt to use an electric siren (within legal sound limit) connected and aimed at the carpenter bees’ nest/ hole – leave the device on for some time and inspect the nest later for effectiveness.

Repeat this after some time until the colony is removed.

5. Hang Wind Chime

Windchime produces a sound that scares and drives carpenter bees away. All you need is to hang a wind chime freely near bees’ nests and leave the decoy to work.

  • As the wind blows over the chime, it will cause it to vibrate, thus causing a sound that scares bees – this act makes them leave the nest completely.

In case your room has not enough wind flow, you can connect a fan near the chime to boost the air needed to cause sound vibrations.

6. Use Almond or Citrus oil

The scent generated by almond or citrus oil repels carpenter bees away upon inhaling. Dilute either almond or citrus oil in a beaker.

  • Sprinkle the liquid on the bees’ nest or pour it into holes bore on the wood. Leave the bees to escape at their own pace.

Later, inspect the nest and seal the holes with caulk or vinyl in order to attain initial aesthetic beauty.

You can mix the two solvents (almond and citrus oil) in order to boost scent concentration as well.

7. Painting Wood

Painting wooded structures is a sure way of getting rid of carpenter bees since paint forms a thin layer, which is cumbersome for bees to chew through.

  • Moreover, the scent generated by paint repels carpenter bees too.
  • When undertaking your paint works, it’s advisable to coat your wooden surface with at least two paint layers.

Alternatively, you can apply varnish, which acts equivalently like paint too.

8. Vacuum the Bees

A vacuum machine can suck carpenter bees from their nest without killing them, especially when the right suction velocity is used.

  • All you need is to connect your vacuum machine to a power source and aim the suction pipe at the bee nest.
  • Press the switch button on and start vacuuming – the vacuum machine will suck the bees into the tray. Empty the live bees in the tray far from your compound.

NB: Avoid using too much suction pressure as it may kill live bees, especially baby bees. 

Related: Carpenter Bee versus Bumblebee

Are Carpenter Bees Dangerous?

Carpenter bees, just like other bees, are dangerous due to some of the following reasons:

a. They Destroy Properties

Carpenter bees bore and chew wooden structures as they create their nest – this act weakens the entire structure, which eventually caves in.

Materials that are chewed by carpenter bees are usually challenging to repair and hence end up being disposed of.

b. Sting and Harm People/Animals

When disturbed, carpenter bees sting and instill pain in both animals and human beings.

  • Usually, bees would attract the assailant as a group and sting severally – the stings cause swellings that may lead to death if not attended to immediately.
  • Unlike male carpenter bees, female carpenter bees are more violent when they sense danger lurking.

You should therefore be careful when getting rid of the carpenter bee colony in your place – wear protective gear.

c. Psychological Problems

The mention or presence of carpenter bees infestation causes fears to many people as they generate a certain degree of phobia (melissophobia/apiphobia – fear of bees).

  • Normally, the situation is worse for those individuals that have ever been attacked by carpenter bees in the past.
  • Animal pets such as dogs and cats fear carpenter bees (apiphobia) in the vicinity – this could affect their normal psychological life.

Pets that have ever been attacked by carpenter bees bark loudly when they spot any carpenter bee in the vicinity.

What Attracts Carpenter Bees into Your Place?

Unlike bumblebees, carpenter bees are attracted into your place by either of the following things:

a. Untreated wood

Carpenter bees fly around searching for wood/location to create their nest – untreated wood is a possible item bees would stop infesting.

  • Carpenter bees would chew woods to create channels (their hideouts) or bore sizable holes.
  • In addition, carpenter bees love an untreated stack of firewood, old fences, sheds, and decks among other structures.

Treating your wooden structures will go a long way in eliminating carpenter bees.

b. Old carpenter bees nests

If your place has an old carpenter bee’s nest, chances are that a new bee colony may come and settle there.

  • The scent left in the old bee nest attracts passing bees, which end up colonizing and expanding the new nest.

It’s always recommended that you destroy old carpenter bees’ nests as soon as they leave – you can throw the log/wood far away or seal holes with caulk.

c. Flowers

Carpenter bees eat nectar and pollen (just like bumblebees) – they are therefore attracted by nectar-producing flowers in your place.

  • Flowers such as hibiscus, morning glory, sunflower, lavender, and banana flowers often attract carpenter bees in large numbers.

Since bees are a critical part of plant pollination, you need to uptake measures that will prevent them from creating a nest in the vicinity – you can grow repellant plants amongst flowers.

c. Untreated plank ends

Often, carpenter bees boreholes at the end of the untreated plank and create a nest or tunnel inside.

For plank ends, it’s advisable to treat them and terminate with metal flashing such as aluminum.

d. Unpainted wood

Paint or varnish prevents carpenter bees from chewing or boring through woods – the scent and tough coat layer keep them off.

  • Unpainted wood is highly attacked by carpenter bees, especially those woods that are left in the open fields.

It’s recommended that you coat wooden structures (which are made using softwood) with varnish or paint since they are more prone to carpenter bees infestation. 

Related: Do Ants Kill Bed Bugs??

What is the Importance of Carpenter Bee?

Carpenter bees play a great role in every day to day life which includes:

a. Pollination

Pollination is the transfer of pollen grains from the anther to the stigma of the same flower or from the anther of one flower to the stigma of another flower.

  • Usually, carpenter bees step on pollen grains as they search for nectar in flowers. On the other hand, wings also rub against pollen grains and act as carriers.

Later, the pollen grains are rubbed against stigma as the bees get into the nectary gland to sip nectar.

Through this action, the flowers get pollinated. Carpenter bees help in both self-pollination and cross-pollination.

b. Source of food – Honey

Carpenter bees produce honey as they excrete – this is food to both human beings and other animals.

  • If well taken care of, carpenter bees could produce more honey, which can be of commercial value.
  • In this regard, you can cut softwood logs and lay them off in open fields (far away from human habitation) in order to attract carpenter bees there.

Alternatively, you can build carpenter beehives and hang them in strategic points.

c. Animal Feeds

Animals such as birds like woodpeckers feed on carpenter bees – these are their main source of food.

  • Also, badgers kill and eat carpenter bees just like mantises do.

As a direct source of food to other animals in the ecosystem, carpenter bees provide continuity in the food chain – support life longevity. 

Related: Spray for Yellow Jackets


In summary, on how to get rid of carpenter bees without killing them, you can use a sweep net, install a sacrificial piece of wood, adopt preventive measures, or wait for bees to leave on their own.

  • Making noise and hanging chime will scare carpenter bees completely while painting wooden surfaces prevents them from boring through.
  • More so, you can spray almond/citrus oil, knock off the bees from their nest, or vacuum the nest and release bees into open fields (far away from your home).

Proper protection gear should be worn when getting rid of bees – for personal safety. Furthermore, if you are new to the task, it’s recommended that you contract a bee professional to help you out.