How to Get Rid of Carpet Bees

Micah McDunnigan

Carpenter bees look like bumble bees but they nest in wood instead of the ground. This wood can include the wooden parts of your home's exterior (i.e., decks, porches and awnings). Carpenter bees drill what looks like a perfect 3/8-inch hole into wood. The queen bee begins laying eggs at the end of the tunnel and moves toward the tunnel's entrance. These nests can produce more carpenter bees year after year, so it is important to get rid of them.

Carpenter bees burrow into wood to lay eggs.
  1. Locate the holes that are being used by the carpenter bees. A good indication that a hole is a carpenter bee nest is that you haven't noticed the hole previously; it looks like it was made by a power drill; or you've noticed bees flying around it.

  2. Dust the inside of these holes with a pesticide. This targets the carpenter bees, since they can't go in or out of their nest without exposing themselves, and makes sure nothing outside of the hole is exposed to the poison.

  3. Seal the holes after applying the pesticide so that even if you kill the nests' current residents more will not move in. If you simply seal the hole without using a pesticide, the bees will eat through whatever you sealed the hole with to reclaim the nest. Or, they may just make new holes in your home. Take one or more of the following steps as additional precautions.

  4. Paint thickly over the exposed wood. This will discourage the bees, but carpenter bees still might eat through the paint to get to the wood below. Mix a liquid pesticide into the paint to reduce the risk of carpenter bees eating through the paint.

  5. Cover exposed wood areas at risk of infestations with vinyl covering.

  6. Treat exposed wooden areas with a pest repellent, reapplying at intervals that vary from product to product. While this is a time-consuming and never-ending precaution, when these products are used properly they can keep carpenter bees from trying to attack your home in the first place.