Keep Carpenter Bees Away From Your Home

The end of a carpenter bee drilling into unpainted wood to make a nest.
What You'll Need
Gloves and protective clothing
Wood paint or vinyl
Caulking material or wood dowel and carpenter’s glue
Bee house
Stick or long wire
Vacuum cleaner

Carpenter bees start buzzing around in the late spring when looking for mates and good nesting sites. They like to make their nests in weathered old wood, so you should protect your exposed wood in order to keep carpenter bees away from your home.

Carpenter bees are annoying. They buzz loudly and fly erratically, swooping, and diving. Male bees act aggressively if you approach their nest. While male carpenter bees don't have stingers, females do and will attack if provoked. Thus, these insects can be dangerous to have around, especially in large numbers.

Step 1 - Deterring Carpenter Bees From Nesting

Carpenter bees create large round holes in any kind of unpainted wood; stained and preserved woods don’t deter these pests. The only protection against carpenter bees is to regularly paint any bare wood or use vinyl or other types of siding.

Step 2 - Identifying a Problem

Wooden eaves

You have a carpenter bee problem if you notice many large bees flying around a wood surface. These bees especially like the eaves and soffits on houses. Round holes with streaks of brown or yellow beneath them indicate a carpenter bee entrance and, likely, a nest.

Step 3 - Getting Rid of Carpenter Bees Without Killing Them

Keep in mind that carpenter bees are pollinators, so it really is not good for the environment—or your landscaping—to kill them.

You can wait until you see the bees leave the nest during the day and then seal their tunnel opening. Use caulk or a wood dowel with carpenter’s glue to close up the holes. Also, put up a bee house nearby to give the bees a safe, non-destructive place to nest.

Step 4 - Eliminating Carpenter Bees Without Insecticide

Caulking gun

When the carpenter bees return at night, seal them in their nests. Again, use caulk or a wood dowel. Carpenter bees will not try to bore their way out of their nests once the entrance is blocked.

Another pest removal procedure is to agitate and vacuum the carpenter bees. Be sure that you are working with a new nest and not a long-established one. While a new nest consists of about 20 bees, an older one can have dozens more. Only try this method at night and wear plenty of protective clothing.

Poke the nest with a stick or long wire to force the bees out of the tunnel. Then suck the bees into a vacuum as they try to escape.

Step 5 - Pest Removal with Insecticide

Use any insecticide that is formulated for killing bees. At night, spray the insecticide into the entrance hole. After bees fly out of the hole, spray the insecticide again to kill any remaining in the nest.

Step 6 - Seek Professional Help

It is rare for carpenter bees to cause extensive structural damage, but it can happen with a huge infestation that is not controlled early. In the case of an unmanageable carpenter bee problem, contact a professional.