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How to Dispose of Carpenter Bees

Emptying your carpenter bee trap can be a difficult task when you know some of the trapped carpenter bees are alive. In the ideal scenario, your carpenter bee trap would hang all season long and be emptied in the fall when you are sure the bees have perished. However, with the effectiveness of Bee-Licious Bee Bait and proper trap placement, customers have needed to empty their traps more frequently.

Emptying a trap with live carpenter bees can be scary. While carpenter bee males have no stinger, the females do, and you can bet they won’t be in a happy mood. Below are three safe methods to dispose of your live carpenter bee trap catches.

Freeze the bees!

Carefully place your carpenter bee trap in a plastic bag and tie or zip it shut. Place the bagged carpenter bee trap in your freezer for 24 hours. After the time has elapsed, empty the trap and place it back up. This method is our favorite for two reasons: it doesn’t change the strong carpenter bee pheromone smell of your trap, and it is sure to work.

Submerge in Water

Use an old bucket or plastic container and fill it with water (and only water! Do not use any soap or chemicals. This could damage the scent and integrity of the trap). Carefully lower your trap into the water so that the bottom receptacle is completely submerged. Leave it there for an hour or so and then empty the trap.

Catch and Release

According to some experts, the best thing you can do is humanely euthanize the bees. However, if you really want to catch and release we recommend you keep the bees on your property. Depending on the size of your property this could mean releasing them close to the point of capture. Keeping the bees near for release means the bees might find their way back to where you caught them, but moving bees to other properties or areas could spread disease, spread parasites, and even hurt pollinating honey bees. Some people prefer to release the bees.

When you empty the trap, try to use the pull string provided, and wear protective gear in case the females are feeling provoked.

After you have emptied your trap, resist the urge to clean it out before you hang it back up. The smell of the dead carpenter bees attracts more carpenter bees to the trap. You don’t want to lose or change that scent. If you find that you are emptying the trap multiple times during the season, it might be time to invest in more carpenter bee traps.

If you have questions or concerns, you can email us at