Do you feel trapped by the limited natural options to get rid of carpenter bees?
Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.
In this post, we’ll review 12 natural ways you can use to get rid of carpenter bees.
Get your home back from these buzzing insects chemical-free.
Let’s dive in.
1. Use Bee Hotels
If you’re looking for a natural way to get rid of bees, bee hotels are a great option.
The idea here is to give bees their own home. This way, they will stop using your home as their nest.
Bee hotels are easy to use. All you need to do is install it by handing it on a tree, fence, or anywhere outdoors that can support it.
You probably want to place the bee hotel as far away from your home as possible for the best results.
This method pushes the bees away from your home while avoiding any damage to your wood and harming the bees.
If you’re placing it in your yard, make sure to put it all the way back. I’d also recommend putting it high up in a tree. This will keep the bees from flying around your yard.
Also, I would avoid hanging it in your front yard. It may alarm your neighbors.
Getting bees to transition from their current home to the bee hotel is not always an easy task. You will need to place the bee hotel near their current nesting area.
Over time, the carpenter bee should transition.
2. Citrus Oil and Other Essentia Oils as Repellents
You can use this to your advantage by applying an essential oil to the wood around your home. The oils will make the wood less appealing and drive the bees away.
The only issue with using essential oils is that they do not last very long.
To remain effective, you will need to apply the essential oil at least once per week. Depending on the condition, you may need to re-apply more often.
I recommend combining citrus oil with water and using a pressurized sprayer. The sprayer will help with a quick application.
3. Paint or Stain Wood
Unpainted or unstained wood is vulnerable to carpenter ant damage.
A fresh coat of paint or stain will make it much harder for carpenter ants to penetrate the wood.
While the bees may still be able to get through the paint, it’s rare that they do.
Be sure to apply a fresh coat of paint or stain even if you have applied one in the past.
Paint and stain tend to deteriorate with time.
Carpenter will take advantage of any areas that have less coverage or that are pealing.
4. Cover Carpenter Bee Holes
To get rid of carpenter bees, covering up the holes is a must. You can do this easily using a caulk gun.
It’s important that you remember to remove any larvae that are inside before you caulk the hole.
If you leave the larvae inside, there is the possibility that they burrow out and make another hole.
Also, leaving larvae inside can draw woodpeckers in search of food.
Carpenter bees tend to return to the same holes, so it’s important to cover up the holes even if the bees have left the area. This will make it harder for them to create galleries in the wood around your home.
5. Carpenter Bee Traps
Another way you can get rid of carpenter bees is by using bee traps.
Bee traps allows you to capture any carpenter bees around you house.
Once you have trapped the carpenter bees you can decide if you want t to kill them or try and relocate them to a different region.
You can also pair carpenter bee traps with carpenter houses.
First, remove them from their current galleries using the traps. You can then release them in a confide location with their new house.
This will allow them to make a home of their new house.
Once they have accepted their new home you can relocate the hotel to a location away from your home.
Since carpenter bees do not sting, moving their homes around is typically not an issue.
6. Use a Vacuum
A vacuum is another effective and natural way you can get rid of carpenter bees.
A vacuum is easy to gather many carpenter bees quickly because you can easily target any holes made by the bees.
For this, I recommend using a wet-dry vacuum rather than a traditional vacuum cleaner.
Wet-dry vacuums are great because you can add water on the inside to prevent the carpenter ants from flying around.
You can also add boric acid or soap to the water to help kill the carpenter bees faster once they are inside the vacuum.
You can position the hose right next to the carpenter bees’ hole and left it on for a few hours.
As any carpenter bees approach the hole, they will get sucked up by the vacuum.
7. Use a Polyurethane Gloss
A polyurethane gloss is a great way to add a layer of protection against carpenter bees.
It also has the added benefit of providing extra shine to your unfinished wood.
The layer of protection also increases the durability of the wood, making it less likely to succumb to water damage.
There are two different types of polyurethane: water and oil-based.
For outdoor protection, I highly recommend you use an oil-based polyurethane.
Water-based polyurethane offers less protection against water and heat. After a short period of high heat or excess rain, the carpenter bees may find vulnerable areas to create tunnels in the wood.
The oil-based polyurethane is built to withstand harsh conditions that wood may experience outdoors.
This will make the wood much more durable and less likely that the carpenter bees will be able to create tunnels in the wood again.
8. Use Pyrethrum Spray
Pyrethrum is the all-natural alternative to the common Pyrethrin used in insecticides.
Unlike Pyrethrin, Pyrethrum is produced using plants and is completely organic.
You can find this chemical in sprays and other insecticides but are not as commonly used as Pyrethrin.
Pyrethrum is a contact insecticide. This means that the insect must come in direct contact with the spray to die.
Note, Pyrethrum does not have a residual effect, which makes it difficult to treat infestations.
Since carpenter bees are docile and do not sting, getting close enough to a hive or to flying bees is not difficult.
9. Apply Boric Acid or DE
Boric acid and Diatomaceous Earth are two compounds commonly used to kill household pests.
Both are all-natural and allow you to kill carpenter bees without chemicals.
The benefit of using dust is that you do not have to continue applying. DE and boric acid remain active as long as it is sufficient to get on the carpenter bees.
Regardless of which set you use, I highly recommend you reapply when it rains.
You can kill carpenter bees with boric acid by injecting the dust into a carpenter bee hole. Boric acid will kill any bees that come in contact with it.
When the bees come in contact with the DE, it will slowly break down their exoskeleton, eventually causing them to dehydrate.
10. Loud Sounds and Vibration
Carpenter bees tend to avoid loud noises. They also don’t like their nests vibrating for consistent periods of time.
There is some claim that using wind chimes will keep carpenter bees away. But this is not very effective.
You could try placing speakers next to the areas where you have carpenter bee activity.
Turn the music up as loud as you can to force the carpenter bees out.
Once out, plug up any holes they created to make it as hard as possible to start their nest again.
To cause the nest to vibrate, I suggest placing the speaker flat on the wood surface that carpenter ants are drilling into.
There are a couple of downsides to this method.
- You will likely disturb your neighbors.
- There is no guarantee that the bees will leave and stay away from your home.
While this is a risky choice, you can knock out two birds with one stone by having a party and getting rid of your carpenter bees.
Just be sure to invite your neighbors, so they don’t stop the party early.
11. Treating Wood With Boracare
Boracare is an all-natural chemical made of borates, the same compound found in boric acid.
It is all-natural yet highly toxic to many insects. Boracare will both repel and kill bees.
Boracare works best on unfinished wood. That’s because to be effective, Boracare needs to be absorbed by the wood.
This means the wood should not have any paint, seal, or gloss over it. Having any of these will prevent the Boracare from soaking into the wood properly.
While you can use Boracare on finished wood, doing so is much harder and typically requires professional assistance.
Here’s how to use it on unfinished wood:
- Mix the solution with water following the label instructions.
- Apply the solution using a pressurized sprayer. This will help you apply an even coat that can be absorbed by the wood.
If you have finished wood that you want to treat with Boracare, you can use the injection method.
Here’s how to use it on finished wood:
- Drilling small holes into the wood
- Inject the Boracare into the wood.
12. Use Natural Repellents
You can use various household items to repel carpenter ants and keep this away from your home.
This includes using apple cider vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and in some cases, lemon is also said to repel carpenter bees.
I personally don’t
recommend using natural DIY methods.
The main reason is that these solutions are not always effective. The more effective ones typically require frequent reapplications.
That said, this method is a good way to start repelling bees as soon as you find them in your home.
You might not have the necessary tools to repel carpenter bees, but using common household items will help you start treating them immediately.
After you have identified the carpenter bees, I recommend you use a solution that is more effective and long term.