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How to get Rid of Carpenter Bees Naturally

About Carpenter Bees Best Bee Trap Prevent Carpenter Bees

Don’t like using pesticides or toxic chemicals to eliminate carpenter bees? Neither do we! 

That is why Best Bee Brothers specializes in natural solutions to get rid of carpenter bees and other pests. Try some of our favorite ways to repel carpenter bees naturally all year long.

Fall Prep to Deter Carpenter Bees

  • Seal up any wooden divots or pre-existing holes in your wood. Every spring when female carpenter bees start their search for new homes, they seek out imperfections in wood as ideal places to begin nests. In the fall, use wood putty or our Hand Dipped Wooden Corks, specially sized for carpenter bee holes, to cover up nest holes and crevices so that your home is less appealing to these pests in the spring.
  • Repair damage from old carpenter bee nests. Fall is the best time to treat carpenter bees’ damage. Mating season has ended, and there are fewer bees to contend with. To make prep easy, we recommend our Total Bee-Fense Kit. It includes wooden corks to cover up pre-existing holes and the Bee-Destroyer Stake to remove any debris in nest tunnels. The kit can also be used in the spring, and the citrus spray will help protect your outdoor wooden areas that aren't ideal for a nest (e.g., wooden patio furniture).  

To make prep easy, we recommend our Total Bee-Fense Kit. It includes wooden corks to cover up pre-existing holes and Bee-Destroyer Stake, to remove any larvae hibernating in nest tunnels. The kit can also be used in the spring and the citrus spray will help protect your outdoor wooden areas that aren't ideal for a nest (i.e., wooden patio furniture). 

Carpenter Bee Damage Repair

    Spring Prep - Catch the Carpenter Bees Without Chemicals!

    Summer Prep for Carpenter Bee Prevention

    Even though the initial nesting season is over, you can still prevent future carpenter bees’ occupancy during the remaining summer months. The key to carpenter bee control is treating any existing carpenter bee nests. Although mating season is generally over in the northern states1, carpenter bees continue to build their nests and produce their young throughout the summer. Any nest you see, old or new, must be treated immediately. To successfully treat a carpenter bee nest, you must force the bees out and kill the larvae.

    While we prefer not to apply any sort of pesticide to treat carpenter bee nests, you can use a natural mineral called diatomaceous earth. Carpenter bees, like any insect with an exoskeleton, will die when exposed to DE. Diatomaceous earth takes its name from the fossilized aquatic creatures it is made from, called diatoms2. This silica-based mineral, when used for pest control, comes in a powder form. When the sharp edges of the tiny particles come into contact with an insect’s exoskeleton, DE absorbs the oils and fats on their bodies, drying them out and killing them3. However, because of its silica content, the dust must be applied carefully and with proper PPE, including gloves, goggles and a respirator to avoid breathing it in. While DE is not poisonous to humans, it is very dangerous when breathed in, and should not be used anywhere pets or people might encounter it, or where it can be blown into the environment. Follow manufacturers’ instructions carefully when applying DE. 

    Once the nest no longer has any active carpenter bees, follow the fall prep steps above to plug up the nest holes and keep carpenter bees from reinhabiting the nests you’ve treated. If you leave nests untouched for an entire summer, woodpeckers will peck away at the nest searching for carpenter bee larvae, making damage go from bad to worse. 

    By the end of summer and early fall, the male carpenter bees who have yet to find a mate will become more active as they search for a home to hibernate in for winter. This final hunt for a home begins a second carpenter bee season. During this time it is highly likely many of the males will find their way to the unplugged nests for an easy and safe home. While the males don’t cause the level of damage females do, it is important to catch the males before they move into your home.  

    Tips for Year-Round Natural Carpenter Bee Removal 

    • Use citrus spray to protect wood. Citrus scent is highly repulsive to carpenter bees. You can make your own citrus spray by boiling citrus peels in water for several hours, draining the liquid and pouring it into a squirt bottle. Or you can buy some citrus spray from us! Depending on the weather, every few days during spring and summer is the best time to spray. Carpenter bees will avoid the citrus-scented wood, keeping patio and porch furniture as well as play sets protected.
    • Use almond oil to repel. When applied to wood, almond oil has similar repelling effects to citrus spray. Carpenter bees hate the scent, and it will keep them from nesting on sprayed wood. Some people have also had luck spraying new nest openings with almond oil to get existing carpenter bees to leave. Mix the almond oil with water to spray on wood, or apply the oil directly to carpenter bee nest holes1.
    Almond Oil
    • Vacuum carpenter bees away. If you have a strong enough vacuum with a small attachment, you might be able to vacuum the carpenter bees out of their nest. This works best when the nests are new and not very deep. Vacuuming will not get any larvae, so make sure to seal up the nest properly after removing the adults.
    • Play loud music! Some people have found that playing loud music next to active nests causes the carpenter bees to decamp, at least for a short while. This method can work because carpenter bees are sensitive to sound, and the vibrations from the music would be unpleasant to them. This gives you an opportunity to repair a nest before the adults return. Make sure to hang up a carpenter bee trap after sealing the nest to catch the fleeing adult carpenter bees!
    • Hit them with rackets! Because carpenter bees are so large, they make excellent targets for badminton and tennis rackets. We even have electric rackets to help pack a punch! This is certainly effective at getting rid of the carpenter bees that come too close. However, those tend to be male so, unfortunately, killing them won’t stop a nest from growing. Collect any dead bees and place them in your carpenter bee trap to make the trap more effective. Watch our video to see how it works.

    • Sprinkle diatomaceous earth in the nests to kill larvae and bees. Does diatomaceous earth kill carpenter bees? The answer is yes. You can use diatomaceous earth for bees, and you can also use diatomaceous earth for wasps. As mentioned above, this is because DE will kill any creature with an exoskeleton. If treating a wasp nest, do your research and take extra precautions before treating a nest, as wasps are extremely aggressive. Or better yet, try our Glass Wasp Trap or Wasp Deterrent Hive

    Carpenter Bee Prevention Recap

    Naturally repelling carpenter bees is not difficult when you have the right tools. Be proactive, and hang your Best Bee Traps up at the beginning of spring. Remember to take  immediate action if you see any nests or damage, and be sure to keep your traps up until fall to conquer the small second season.


    1. Susan C. Jones, “Carpenter Bees,” fact sheet HYG-2074, July 3, 2017, Ohioline, Ohio State University Extension,
    2. T. R. Bunch, C. Bond, K. Buhl and D. Stone, “Diatomaceous Earth Fact Sheet,” January 2013, National Pesticide Information Center, Oregon State University Extension,
    3.  Bunch et al., “Diatomaceous Earth Fact Sheet.”

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    Article Comments

    • Customer Support on

      @Whitney – I think this video will help answer your question:

      ~Best Bee Brothers

    • Whitney on

      This may seem obvious, but what’s the best way to empty our traps when most of the bees are alive? We have been waiting for them to die – and they aren’t! Our traps are so full that new bees are flying right back out.

    • Customer Support on

      @Elvis Hill – Simply apply a dime-sized amount of our Bee Bait to the inside of the receptacle before you hang your trap! You can find more information here: ~Customer Support

    • Elvis Hill on

      When and where do I use the Bee-licious at?

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