How to Use Traps for Carpenter Bee Control

Edited by
Inga Cryton
Reading Time: 32 minutes.
Updated: .

Aiming at eliminating carpenter bees from your home may become a dangerous mission. FYI, these insects are far from being plain and understandable. Their control requires much patience and knowledge.

Speaking of which, we made things much easier for you. How? Keep reading and you are going to learn many useful things about effective extermination and its cost, safe removal and traps setting.

Providing easy tips we give you a chance to settle the things down on your own. Why address expensive services if you can become pretty successful in the process of elimination?

Carpenter Bee Control and Rules of Safe Removal

The entrances of the carpenter bee's nests are holesThe main question that interests most of you is how to control nasty carpenter bees. What should one start with and how to find out whether the chosen methods were effective?

As a rule, the count-down starts with the identification of the nest that is normally somewhere in the building exterior. The entrances of the nests are holes. They are surprisingly perfect circles of the size of a pencil eraser. Start searching for them below windowsills and eaves, as well as awnings and shingles.

Have you found the nest? Start the elimination process right away.

Top Methods of Carpenter Bees Extermination

Though there are several working alternatives to control, we suggest trying the following ones:

  1. Vacuum method. Wondering how to eliminate carpenter bees? Use your vacuum cleaner.
    The method appears to be just as simple as it sounds. When the sun is nearly down and the insects are in the nest for the rest of the night, insert a vacuum cleaner hose into the hole of the nest and start moving it from side to side. This won’t wake them. Turn the machine on. It will suck out the bees and their queen.
    After doing your job, seal the entrance, discard the vacuum bag safely.
  2. Using kits. Eliminating carpenter bees with a special kit is another popular variant.

    A kit normally contains a residual insecticide that must be mixed with water and sprayed. In some cases, it has a duster and dust for dusting into the galleries of insects. There are also variants that include a so-called special duster that features a curved tip for getting the Tempo or D-Fence insecticide dust to galleries.

    It is suggested to plug the holes during autumn, as the carpenter bees are active during the summer months.
    Plugging them up too soon, they will make another hole.
  3. Sprays. Using liquid insecticides is a pretty nice way out, as well. Most sprays have synthetic pyrethroids that are sprayed on wood surfaces for reducing the insects’ activity. Of course, merely spraying doesn’t lead to complete carpenter bees removal: they will nest in tunnels and chew new holes.
    The provided effect may last up to 2 weeks and that is mainly why it is referred to as a short-lived one. The thing is wind and humidity, direct sunlight and rain contribute to the reduction of insecticide effectiveness.
    If the material is used inside the gallery or is protected from various environmental conditions, then the results will last up to several months.

As these little flying creatures like drilling hundreds of new holes, controlling them on your own sometimes becomes a real issue. This is when expert extermination becomes handy. A professional can find all holes and pick a suitable product that has already proven its efficiency.

How much does carpenter bees extermination cost? Call your local exterminator and hire a highly trained specialist. He’ll come to your place, conduct a thorough inspection and assess the level of the problem. After completing the assessment he will be able to choose a proven treatment plan to fit your needs. This is the time when both guarantees and pricing are discussed.

Using Carpenter Bee Trap Plans

One of caprenter bee trap's planThere are several popular carpenter bee trap plans available for free. They are specially designed to be environmentally free and pretty effective to help you  kill the insects.

The feature that unites all possible variations is the fact they should be light-colored (painted wood, light gray plastic or natural pine wood color).

The inside walls must be smooth. When the bee flies inside through a small hole, it is going to fall to the traps’ bottom without any chance to get out.

After installation the traps can be taken down, cleaned and used year after year.

The trap plans are designed to mimic outdoor conditions. Besides, designs have several important advantages. They:

  • never require the owner to paint or stain his/her home;
  • coincide with natural habitat;
  • are safe for humans, plants and pets;
  • are non-toxic;
  • are 100% environmentally safe;
  • are characterized by a single-step and easy installation;
  • possess no harsh smells;
  • include no residues and chemicals left on wood;
  • have no measuring chemicals;
  • feature no spray device of any kind;
  • can be easily stored;
  • can be easily removed and disposed of;
  • are homeowner-friendly.

Choose the plans, where the roof is bigger than the box itself. It is a known fact that these bees drill the holes vertically while upside down. This is a general behavior. And the extended roof offers this option.

Carpenter Bee Traps at Lowe’s

Lowe's bee trapsA nice strategy to get an already designed trap plan is visiting one of your local hardware stores. There you can search for designs and options that are specially labeled for carpenter bees. We suggest you pay special attention to the label, which should be regarded as the main law while choosing.

In case you are now in search of a reliable store, we suggest addressing carpenter bee traps at Home Depot and Lowe’s. There you are going to get the traps to fit your needs, territory, the number of bees and the intensity of infestation. These locals are widespread and suggest choosing many trap models and designs.

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Choosing the Right Carpenter Bee Trap Design

It happens so that today’s market offers a huge range of carpenter bee traps available in different designs and features. Of course, that would be a false thing to state they are a new or original idea, but still, there are many plans available in pictures: they are easy-to-make, use and enjoy the results.

The constructions are so simple that at times it is really hard to believe they are effective. Most models are made of wood and empty plastic bottles.

Such traps do not require bait for luring the carpenter bees in. Yes, they are cheap but effective and very easy to maintain.
Once installed, they continually lure bees for years!

Nice trap designAs they come in all sizes and shapes, let’s define the most popular designs:

  • Option 1 – an opaque acrylic box. It is 9 inches high, 6 inches wide and 2 inches deep. A correct-sized hole is drilled towards the front facing panel’s top. Such traps are usually mounted against the wall, holding nearly 100 dead insects before emptied.
    The constructions like this one are about to last for 3-4 years.
  • Option 2 – a plastic bottle trap. The bees usually get inside the construction and cannot understand how to get out of it. This variant is designed for hanging near the places where the insects are swarming.
    If you have many plastic bottles, this option is for you. When the bottle is filled up, it can be quite easily removed and substituted for an empty one. Bottles are usually not included with these traps.
  • Option 3 – light and unfinished pine. The box is made in the shape of an upside down triangle that is nearly two inches deep and has a backboard. It features three small sized holes drilled into it: one is in front, whereas other ones are one on each of the side panels. The protruding that is on the bottom is the top of a plastic soda bottle that has a coupler that is screwed onto the bottle top’s threads.
    There is another soda bottle below. Once the insects enter the box, they side the way down and get into the bottle that can hold about 100 bees.
    If there is the need to clean the bottle, remove the bottom one and then screw on an empty one to the coupler.
  • Option 4 – a trap with jar. The insects are attracted to this trap by sight. As long as they come nearer, they smell the attractant pre-treated in the trap. So, they go inside and cannot get out, even though they try really hard. The construction hangs where they are swarming. The jar can be removed to be emptied.
The holes on these traps mimic the entrance to the carpenter bee nest.

From the point of view of any buyer, the above-mentioned traps are low-cost solutions that are able to set one free from all carpenter bee problems he/she has. There’s nothing extraordinary or complicated in the construction, nevertheless, the results go far beyond expectations.

Right after the removal you are to think of preventive measures, as they are the keys to keeping these nasty insects from coming back again. Try to remove the wood that has structurally suffered from the infestation. Replace it with pressure-treated, painted and not stained wood. Keep up with the paint job in order to prevent exposure of the wood to infestation.

Having found out about carpenter bee traps and control methods, you are now well-armed and well-informed about possible ways of fighting against the insects that make your life unbearable.

There is no need to wait for further infestation, no need to pay much money for professional help. Try your hand at the process of elimination, and you are going to make sure that it is easier than you used to think.

You can find further details of Carpenter Bees Control here.

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  1. How long does it take before I catch my first carpenter bee in my trap

    • It took 2-3 weeks for mine to start working.

    • The longer you have the traps the more bees you will catch. I have had mine for at least 4 years. They seem to like seasoned wood. I didn’t catch that many when the traps were first put out.

      • You are quite right. I put out 4 jar traps this year. One made last year with seasoned wood. Three of them I just built with fresh white pine. Guess what? I have caught 7 bees so far in the seasoned trap. None yet in the new ones. Question: How do I make the new traps look “seasoned” ? Or smell seasoned?

    • I just bought one last night and I’d say within the hour I already got one.

  2. I have had carpenter bee traps for about 4 years. In one of the traps there is a bee who built a nest inside the the trap. The bee is still alive and the nest covers pretty much the whole trap. When those bees hatch will they all die in the trap also? Is the bee that built the nest a queen?

    Thank You

  3. Is there an attractant that make the bee trap work

    • is there an attractment for carpenter bees,to a trap?

      • Did you ever get an answer? Would love to hear it!

    • Sure. Knock one down with a Tennis or Badminton racket (try to stun it and not kill) and put it in the jar. It will release pheromones that will attract other bees.

  4. I have one- the wood is what attracts the carpenter bee’s- I’ve already got about 20 in there from this year. Last yr the cup was full before I emptied it out. This year – I am going to make some. The one I’ve had hanging I bought at a home show- I googled it & there are enough diy’s to make one easy…

  5. is there anything I can put on trap to draw them to it

  6. We’ve had these pests for years and I was really skeptical about these traps. I went ahead and made one (only took about 15 minutes) and it just hung there for about a month with no results. I went out of town for a few days and when we returned there were about 15 bees inside. I immediately made about 5 or 6 more for not just me, but for my friends too.

  7. They like the heat. 90 here today and have four in them. The key is getting them up early and plugging holes in fall. They will go to old hole first. If the trap is the only option you’ll catch more.

    • Where can I purchase a good pre-made trap? Tried local Home Depot …..nothing. Anything on-line?

      • Ace Hardware… Lowes

  8. I think I found mine on Amazon. FYI, this year they worked even better than last year.

  9. I have about 5 and they work great, 3 of the jars are already half full. It takes a while to get one to use it but once you have caught one they seem to use it more readily. I think the smells (I forget the word for them) from the first one make the rest more comfortable. Mine are from Amazon, I ordered one and it was junk from china but I tried another seller and it was a very nice trap so I got more. The company with the nice trap said uncle dunkel on the shipping label, I think that was the seller name too if I remember correctly.

  10. I made 2 traps the first from old pine I had laying around, the second out of some red cedar I also had. Caught the first bee in the pine trap in 45 min. the cedar one had 3 in it in 24 hours. so I am going to start making some and sell them at the community garage sale in a couple of weeks. Oh I also used no attractant, I don’t want to bring anymore in with it, I just want the ones here gone.

    • It has come to my attention that this apparently has a patent on it and have been contacted by the patent owner and have quit selling these to anyone other than friends and family. Thank you and sorry, They are really easy to make if you look up the plans.

      Thanks Brian Judge

  11. By the way, if you had a caprenter bee problem in the spring and did not take action to control them, they are not gone. The female and developing larvae are now inside the wood and will begin to emerge in the next few weeks. If you have installed bee traps, watch them and you will begin to see new activity in the traps.

  12. To speed up the entry process for these darlings, get your badminton racquet out and take a stationary moment where they fly by. easy to knock down,and locate, prime the bottle with a few. The pheromones will attract other local residents-to-be. Its also great sport and good for eye-hand coordination. They do learn to avoid if you miss them

  13. Thank you all! I have a great trap bought at a local arts in the heart of Augusta Ga! Looks like a bird house with holes, & a mason jar at the bottom! I like some of u exclaimed hung it & caught my 1st bee in less than 5 minutes! He got out my fault,I leaned it over& he crawled out! Moved it back & boom another! But I want to catch them like BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! Lol! Pheromones! Great idea! I started thinking like ants they communicate to run! So I’m gonna swat, insert, & see! Wish me luck!!!

  14. Find the traps at your local farmers co-op

  15. what do you use to plug holes in your house

    • We used wads of steel wool from the hardware store. One year, I used silly putty & chewed bubble gum. Stylish!

  16. Can the bees get out? Maybe I should ask if the Queen Bees can bore her way out?

    • I use sugar water for initial attraction, so when the bee goes in, they drown. Queen entered quickly and what appeared to be drones (smaller) joined. I watched the Q paddling to get out. She didn’t. More traps going up.

  17. Who is the MORON who wrote this:

    “insert a vacuum cleaner hose into the hole”

    The HOLE is about 3/8″ diameter, how will you put a VACUUM CLEANER HOSE in it?

    ” They are surprisingly perfect circles of the size of a pencil eraser.

    • Thanks for the comment about the MORON who suggested using a vacuum cleaner inserted into the 3/8″ hole.

      After a few seasons of tracking, correcting and removal it appears under control. Autumn will signal success or not.

  18. These bees are like flying aces and when you step on them they don’t die, Got to be smooched. dammit!!!

  19. I went to Home Depot none there but a silicon spray for plugging holes. Now for a high enough ladder! Went to local Co-op and purchased three. Set up and while waiting used the tennis racket method, two down! How many to go?! Might try the putting the squished ones in the traps to get working! They think they own my humming bird feeders! And they do run ( fly away) when wielding the racket!

  20. I just put my 2 traps out. Got one in each trap right away. But they aren’t there now! They got out! How can I prevent this? Please help!!!

    • Does your trap have a glass jar at the bottom? Once the bees get into that jar, they are not bright enough to know that they have to fly upward through the hole in the jar lid into the dark wooden box. And then crawl through one of the holes if they can see them.

  21. What mixture are getting put into the trap jars to attract them? I do t want to attract more but I want them to know to go the heck in! Lol. I have 2 plastic bottle traps and 1 wood carpenter bee trap. And they have been up for a week with sweet smells inside but no luck. What do I do!? I have bumble bees and carpenter bees and wasps all around where I leave my front porch. I can’t even enjoy my yard. Help!!

    • Wherever they are swarming, in my case they are around my sheds, hang up your traps. Because of the design of the hole, which is at a 45 degree angle, they will be tempted to go in. With the bottle on the bottom, they will fall into the bottom and remain there until they die. Because there is already one in there, soon others will follow. No need for any attractive. I have never used any and have no problem catching any.

  22. No my traps have a jar on the side. Took just a few minutes but I watched 3 go in and then get out of the trap!

    • Done use side jars. Use the ones with jars or bottles on the bottom.

    • Sorry about carpenter bees escaping your trap. Since the jar is mounted on the side of the trap, that points to a poorly designed trap. The jar should always be mounted on the bottom.

  23. I was told when I bought my trap to catch/kill a bee and put it in collection jar this would attract more bees. Works for me, after putting in jar starts filling. Mine is made of cedar, bought at flea market.

  24. Fill the clear container with some mineral oil to speed up their demise

  25. I made a trap from instructions on line and caught nothing (square box with hole and jar on bottom). They are really bad this year and destroying my log home which is stained–apparently that is NOT a deterrent.

  26. We built one with the jar at the bottom. Finally, after two months, we trapped our first carpenter bee. It stewed in the jar for a few hours and then out of nowhere it was gone….why….any ideas on how to keep them in there?

  27. I just built a lakehouse and found three holes in my new deck. I bought and hung two carpenter bee traps and have had them up for about a month and so far they have no interest in them. Any suggestions?

  28. It’s now mid July and I haven’t seen the little buggers for a couple weeks. Should I still put out my newly purchased trap or wait til next spring?

  29. Bait with a spoon or two of Dawn dishwashing soap and mostly some sweet drink like Apple Cider, Dr Pepper, or Mountain Dew. Only a couple of inches deep so they can drown in it when they get too tired and soapy to fly.

  30. Get an electric flyswatter from Harbour Freight and have a good time. You might have to kill them when they hit the ground but it will stun them long enough.

  31. Do you put liquid in trap jar?

  32. Thought you would all like to know that wd-40 works the best. Spray in the holes, kills the larvae. Spray the wood and the bees won’t go near it.also kills the big ones almost on contact.

  33. I live in FLA and with the warm temps and early start to spring this year saw them hovering early. I built a simple one out of pine and within 3 days had caught 13 of them. They seemed to have tapered off since then. The wd 40 works great at getting them out.

  34. We bought one of the wood and plastic jar traps from Amazon last year. After a couple of weeks without catching one, I talked to our pest company to come out and exterminate the existing holes. The exterminator informed me how aggressive carpenter bees are, and are attracted to the scent of other dead carpenter bees.

    We decided to give it a try. I smacked one with a tennis racket, and put it’s body in the plastic bottle. By the end of the next day, we had a live one trapped in there. By the end of the week, the bottle was 1/2 full.

  35. No comments seem to address my issue. Log home central TN. Carpenter Bees by the hundreds. No use to catch 15-20 in a trap. Traps ineffectual…spray in holes within reach and they just migrate farther up. Professional exterminators never show up with equipment to truly address the problem. If someone comes up with a solution, they’d be rich! I’d pay big to get rid of these destructive pests on my beautiful log home. I’d rather have snakes!

    • This guy uses bee butter to kill them. It looks pretty effective and he says it lasts a long while. If I had a cabin, I would get this stuff. Luckily, they are just annoying me on my deck, so I can use the traps.

  36. I feel like I’m attracting more bees than I originally had. Is this possible that the scent of the bees in the trap are attracting more than I originally had? Feels like they are having a family reunion on my front porch deck and they are calling their 2nd or 3rd cousins to the party.

  37. To plug the holes i use a 3/8 inch dowel for. I slightly tapered the end on my grinder then cut it off about 1/2 inch long. When you tap it in, it is perfectly flush.

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