How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees?

At the beginning of spring, several people see large black bees around their homes and yard. Now, these may not be regular bees but carpenter bees. These insects usually make holes in the wood, which they burrow to create tunnels. They use these chambers to lay eggs and develop nests within. Carpenter bees typically prefer unpainted or weathered wood that is softer to bury holes in. While wood is common, these bees can also bore holes in window sills, railings, fence posts, frames and eaves. While carpenter bees do not pose immediate harm unless provoked, over time, they can damage your furniture. 

These bees look a lot like bumblebees and have shiny hairless abdomen. The yellow markings on their abdomen distinguish them from bumblebees. The female carpenter bees are the ones that are known to sting, while the males make their presence felt with loud buzzing. Carpenter bees are not welcome guests to have around one’s home.

If you’ve been seeing the buzzing bees in your yard, here are some quick tips that can help you to get rid of carpenter bees:

  • Carpenter bees usually prefer unpainted wood. So as a precautionary measure, it is best to paint or seal any exposed wood. Window deck, door frames or patio furniture, get them painted just before spring arrives.  
  • One way to drive away the bees is by creating commotion or noise. Loud noises and vibrations are known to repel them. You can play music on speakers near the area where you see an infestation.
  • Look for small crevices and gaps within your fence posts, door and window frames and cover them. Cover these openings with a mesh screen, or putty or use a sealant.
  • Use an insecticide. Spray it on the holes in the wood. But carpenter bees are also important pollinators, so directly killing them with an insecticide is not recommended. You can use a chemical insecticide if there is a major infestation threatening you. 
  • Pyrethrum spray is one of the strong natural insecticides. If you spot bees hovering around your home, then you can get this spray.
  • You can also make natural repellents. Bees do not like any citrusy smell. Make some citrus water and spray it through a bottle on the nesting site.
  • Vinegar and water spray are also strong measures to keep away carpenter bees.
  • Natural oils like peppermint, tea tree and lemon are effective to drive away insects. This is not a permanent solution, but it does help to get rid of the bees. Once you manage to drive away the carpenter bees from the holes, you can seal them.
  • There are a few bee traps available, which lock in the bees and trap them. You can place these traps near the affected wood and help catch the bees.

While undertaking these measures, make sure you are completely covered to avoid getting stung. If you are not sure about it, it is best to call in the pest control experts and ask them to exterminate the carpenter bee infestation.

Can Carpenter Bees Sting? 

Carpenter bees are otherwise harmless unless provoked. So, if you are trying to get rid of them, they can come stinging. Female carpenter bees sting as they have stingers it contains venom. Because of the venom, you will feel a sharp and burning sensation on your skin. A carpenter bee does not lose the stinger after they attack, so they are capable of attacking more than once. It is recommended to get immediate treatment from a carpenter bee sting to avoid any chances of infection. A bee sting can also cause an allergy, which requires immediate attention.

The male bees do not have a stinger but they can put on a defensive display with continuous buzzing. Female carpenter bees lay eggs in the wooden bores so they are the cause of your infestation.

If you see a carpenter bee approaching you, stay calm. Out of panic if you make any sudden movements to shoo them away, they can feel threatened and sting. Try to remain calm and wait for it to fly away.

How to keep Carpenter Bees away?

The best way to keep away carpenter bee infestation is by taking steps to prevent them from approaching your home. These bees usually nest in eaves, boards, window sidings, decks and patio furniture. You must maintain your furniture and keep a regular watch for buzzing bees. There are some natural ways to keep away the bees.

– Spray natural oils such as almond oil and citrus oil in your yard, window sills, and door frames throughout the months of spring. This will discourage the bees from approaching these areas. You can even place citrus herbs like lemongrass at the entrance or kitchen windows.

– Paint your wood. Apply a coat of varnish on wooden surfaces, fences, and outside decks. Carpenter bees prefer untreated soft wood to bore holes. Applying a coat of paint or varnish will deter them from drilling.

– Carpenter bees are known to return to old holes. Seal the old holes, gaps and cracks within the walls or old furniture. If you are sealing an old hole, ensure there are no bees within or larvae present inside, as they can still hatch.

– Bees are repelled by sounds and vibrations. So you can install an outdoor speaker (as long as you don’t disturb the neighbours) or get one of those mid-sized windchimes. The sounds and vibrations can completely distract the bees and drive them away from the area.

– Use non-toxic bee traps to lure the bees into a jar. There are special carpenter bee traps available. Through these traps, the bees can fly in, but cannot escape.

Do Carpenter bees pollinate?

Carpenter bees are very important pollinators, playing a crucial role in the environment. It is thus always advisable to use non-toxic methods to drive them away instead of killing them with pesticides. Carpenter bees feed on nectar and pick up and transfer pollen. Insect pollination is essential for many fruits, vegetables and seed crops. Almost 15% of agricultural crops are pollinated by native bees including carpenter bees. These bees are early morning foragers and help in the process of ‘buzz pollination.’ Carpenter bees are excellent pollinators of eggplant, tomato and other vegetables and flowers.

Are carpenter bees dangerous?

Carpenter bees may seem intimidating because of their size and loud buzz, but they are not as dangerous. If you leave them alone, they do not harm anyone. But these bees are considered unwanted guests because they bore holes in wooden structures. However, these bees do not pose major harm like crumbling structures.

Carpenter bees are more of a solitary species, so they do not swarm or attack. The carpenter bee only stings if they are provoked. Only female bees have a stinger and it contains venom. They are capable of stinging multiple times. If stung by a carpenter bee, one would feel a sharp pain and stinging sensation around the area.

Carpenter bees are great pollinators hence it is advised to not use toxic chemicals and insecticides to get rid of them. So if you have a lot of flowering plants around your home or in the garden, you will see more of them. Unless these bees infest your wooden structures, they are not as dangerous.

How to get rid of carpenter bees with wd40?

WD-40 is a common oil spray which is used to get rid of different insects including carpenter bees. It is a spray blended with lubricants and anti-corrosive properties. It contains mineral spirits which can kill most insects in less than 5 minutes.

Here is how to apply WD-40 to get rid of carpenter bees:

  • Locate the small cracks and holes in the wood. Check your doors, eaves, roofs, railings, fences, decks and patio furniture. Spray WD-40 into these holes and gaps. Applying WD-40 directly to the carpenter bee nests will deter them away and prevent them from returning.
  • WD-40 can also be used as a makeshift pesticide to eliminate carpenter bees. The mineral oil and hydrocarbons in it are toxic to bees. It acts as a poison for the bee’s respiratory mechanism and eventually kills them.
  • WD-40 is also used as an insecticide against various pests. Insects and bees are very sensitive to smell. The strong smell of WD-40 repels the bees from making nests at a particular spot, where it is sprayed.

Using WD-40 to drive away the bees and prevent them from returning is a good way to get rid of these bees without killing them. But do take adequate precautions when using this spray. Do not spray it anywhere near fire or flammable devices. WD-40 is also unsafe for the environment so it should be used marginally.

How to kill carpenter bees?

Carpenter bees are not as harmful as other insects, but they can pose a danger to your wooden furniture. These bees target unpainted and weathered wood. If you spot them around your home, there are some natural ways to get rid of them. Because carpenter bees are important pollinators, it is not recommended to kill them all. Unless provoked, these bees are not much of a danger to humans.

But if you spot a carpenter bee infestation around your home, here are some simple ways to kill them and prevent them from reappearing:

  • Use natural repellents like peppermint oil, citrus oil and vinegar spray over carpenter bee infestation spots. 
  • There are special carpenter bee traps available in the market which lure the bees within a jar. The bees cannot fly out, they will die out of lack of oxygen in the sealed jars. 
  • You can also use a special bee vacuum to suck out the bees from a hole. Once you have evacuated the bees, seal the spots with varnish or an effective sealant. 
  • There are a few chemical-based insecticides available which can be sprayed around the area to kill the bees instantly. 

If you are unsure about the right methods and do not want to take unnecessary risks, it is best to leave it to the pest control experts. Call for professional bee exterminators who can help you put an end to the problem with effective measures.

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