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Best Spring Prep to Avoid Carpenter Bees

Spring has arrived! Warm weather, sunshine, and the sound (or buzzing!) of nature all around.  It’s time to take action to keep the carpenter bees away from your home. If you were dealing with Carpenter Bees last season or a home that has never dealt with carpenter bees in the past, below you will find easy steps to a carpenter bee and stress free summer.

Checklist for a home that had carpenter bees last season:

  1. Take a survey of your home and see if you have any old carpenter bee nests.  Look for a ½” diameter hole in exposed wooden areas of your home such as porch railings, fences, and eaves. Since carpenter bees find those areas attractive for their nests, you will want to fill in the holes to be flushed with your existing exterior.  You also want to fill in any divots that are around that size - even if they weren’t carpenter bee nests before.  Check out our Repairing Carpenter Bee Holes article for a step by step guide.  
  2. Paint, Primer and Stain - Carpenter bees prefer untreated wood.  Now this doesn’t mean they won’t start nesting in wood that has been treated, but putting on a coat of paint or staining your wood can help deter the desirability of your home as a nesting area. Remember to do this after all your holes are flush with the exterior!
  3. Hang up carpenter bee traps. Each trap has a 15’ working radius.  Measure out how much exposed wood you have and consider which places you’ve seen carpenter bees in before.  Check out our Trap placement page for more information as well.
    Place Your Traps at all House Peaks
  4. Place a dead carpenter in the bottom of the trap to get a jumpstart.  Dead carpenter bees release a pheromone that is highly attractive to other carpenter bees. In fact, no other “bee bait” is quite as effective as the scent of a fallen comrade. From a biological standpoint, this pheromone informs the carpenter bee that this could be an attractive place to nest, even though in reality it is the exact opposite!  
  5. Sit back and relax -- you’ve done it!  You’ve taken the best steps in protecting your home from carpenter bees.  Empty the bottom receptacles on traps when they are full, but be sure to leave a bee or two in there when you put it back up to keep the pheromone smell strong.

Checklist for a home that has not had carpenter bees:

This checklist is much simpler than a home that has already hosted carpenter bees, and hopefully you can keep it that way by following these steps.

  1. Assess your exposed wood, look for any divots or areas that could be seen as potential nests.  Keep a special eye out in areas that are well sheltered, like under an overhang or in the corner of a house.  These areas will be most alluring to nesting carpenter bees.  If not already, seal up any cracks or holes in your wood siding with putty to make those areas flush.  
  2. Stain, paint, or treat your wood.  This is a big task, but hopefully it’s something that you already have done just to preserve your wood.  By no means does this step guarantee that carpenter bees will not find your wood an ideal location for a nest, but it does help considerably.
  3. Put up carpenter bee traps.  As mentioned before, carpenter bees will be scouting out areas that are well sheltered.  Think about the dormers, eaves, corners and porches of your home.  These can all be excellent choices for a carpenter bee.  Carpenter bees also generally prefer the sunny side of houses. This doesn’t guarantee they will not nest in a spot that gets mostly shade but it is a typical trend.  You can view our Trap Placement guide.

That’s it! Just repeat the process every Spring and hopefully you can keep your home carpenter bee free!

Bonus Tip: Do you have wooden furniture to protect that isn’t quite in the reach of a trap?  Try using a citrus extract spray on the furniture. Carpenter bees hate the smell of citrus.  You can easily make this yourself by boiling citrus fruit peels in a shallow pot of water.  Re-apply this spray at least twice a week (more if it is rainy) to keep the furniture safe.

Trap Your Carpenter Bees with NO Chemicals


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