How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are a common nuisance for homeowners, as they can cause significant damage to wooden structures. These bees may resemble bumblebees, but their behavior and nesting habits are quite different. If you’re dealing with a carpenter bee infestation, it’s important to take prompt action to protect your property. In this article, we will explore effective methods to get rid of carpenter bees and prevent future infestations.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are large insects that belong to the Xylocopa genus. They are solitary bees that prefer nesting in untreated wood, such as decks, eaves, fences, and wooden furniture. Unlike honeybees, carpenter bees do not live in colonies but rather create individual nests. Female carpenter bees can excavate perfectly round holes, while male carpenter bees are more aggressive but lack stingers.

Identifying Carpenter Bees

Before attempting to eliminate carpenter bees, it’s crucial to correctly identify them. Carpenter bees are often mistaken for bumblebees due to their similar appearance. However, carpenter bees have shiny abdomens and lack the dense hair covering that bumblebees possess. Furthermore, female carpenter bees have stingers but rarely use them unless provoked.

Why You Should Get Rid of Carpenter Bees

While carpenter bees are generally harmless, their nesting habits can cause significant damage to wooden structures. Over time, their tunnels and galleries can weaken the integrity of the wood, leading to costly repairs. Additionally, other wood-boring insects may exploit the existing holes, exacerbating the damage. Taking proactive measures to eliminate carpenter bees is essential to prevent further structural deterioration.

Preventive Measures

To avoid carpenter bee infestations, there are several preventive measures you can take:

  • Protecting wooden structures: Seal and protect wooden surfaces with paint, stain, or varnish to deter carpenter bees from burrowing into the wood.
  • Painting or staining: Apply multiple coats of paint or stain to create a barrier that makes the wood less appealing for nesting.
  • Filling existing holes: Fill any existing carpenter bee holes with wood putty or a suitable filler to prevent reinfestation.

Natural Remedies for Carpenter Bees

If you prefer using natural remedies, there are several options to repel or eliminate carpenter bees:

  • Using citrus sprays: Carpenter bees dislike the smell of citrus. Mix lemon or orange essential oil with water and spray it on wooden surfaces to deter them.
  • Applying almond oil or citrus oil: These oils can be applied to wooden surfaces as a natural deterrent for carpenter bees.
  • Hanging a fake nest: Carpenter bees are territorial and will avoid areas where other bees have already established nests. Hang a fake nest made of paper or plastic near the infested areas to discourage them from nesting there.

Chemical Treatments for Carpenter Bees

If the infestation is severe or natural remedies aren’t effective, you may consider using chemical treatments:

  • Insecticidal dusts: These dusts can be applied directly into the carpenter bee holes, effectively eliminating the bees within.
  • Liquid insecticides: Apply liquid insecticides to wooden surfaces where carpenter bees are active. This will help kill the bees and discourage future nesting.
  • Foams and sprays: Foams and sprays designed specifically for carpenter bees can be applied to existing holes or sprayed onto surfaces as a preventive measure.

Calling Professional Help

If your carpenter bee infestation persists or the damage is extensive, it’s advisable to seek professional pest control assistance. Pest control experts have the knowledge, experience, and appropriate tools to effectively eliminate carpenter bees and protect your property from further damage.


Carpenter bees can wreak havoc on wooden structures, making it necessary to take action to eliminate them. By correctly identifying carpenter bees, implementing preventive measures, and using natural or chemical remedies, you can successfully get rid of these pests and safeguard your property. If you’re unsure about the best course of action, don’t hesitate to seek professional help to ensure thorough eradication and long-term protection.


Q1: Are carpenter bees dangerous? A1: Carpenter bees are generally not aggressive unless threatened. Female carpenter bees have stingers but rarely use them on humans.

Q2: Can carpenter bees cause structural damage? A2: Yes, carpenter bees can cause structural damage over time by excavating tunnels and galleries within wooden structures.

Q3: How can I prevent carpenter bee infestations? A3: Applying protective coatings, such as paint or stain, to wooden surfaces and filling existing holes can help prevent carpenter bee infestations.

Q4: Can I use natural remedies to get rid of carpenter bees? A4: Yes, natural remedies like citrus sprays, almond oil, and hanging fake nests can be effective in repelling carpenter bees.

Q5: When should I call a professional for carpenter bee removal? A5: If the infestation is severe, the damage is extensive, or previous methods have been ineffective, it’s advisable to seek professional pest control assistance.

Sharing Is Caring:

The Howtowise team has helped thousands of homemakers fix their household problems with step-by-step tutorials. Howtowise has been featured in The New York Times, Scientific American, Good Housekeeping, Vox, Apartment Therapy, Lifehacker, and more.