How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees with Vinegar in Easy Steps

by Rosemarie Hardison
how to get rid of carpenter bees with vinegar

Although bees are among the most beneficial creatures on earth, some of their species can be a bit problematic. For example, carpenter bees are known for drilling holes and nesting inside dead wood fibers.

Since this description applies to wood that is used in our houses, eliminating these bees before a heavy infestation is quite important. Yet, it’s important that you use safe ingredients that won’t harm your health, and luckily, vinegar can be the right tool for this job!

Keep on reading if you want to know how to get rid of carpenter bees with vinegar or any other method!

How to Eliminate Carpenter Bees with Vinegar

In this section, I’ll walk you through a step by step guide to help you get rid of carpenter bees around your house using vinegar-based methods:

Step 1: Prepare Your Ingredients and Equipment

To avoid the back and forth, make sure that you prepare all the ingredients and equipment needed for this project.

For starters, make sure that you put on safety gear, especially if you have problems with vinegar or any other ingredients used in this guide. For example, wear gloves, a facemask, and protective glasses to protect your body and lungs from vinegar.

You should also bring a jar for mixing the solution or a bowl for larger batches as well as a clean spray bottle to sprinkle the prepared solution. Here are all the tools and ingredients needed for the project:

  • White vinegar, preferably a high concentration bottle for cleaning
  • Cooking oil
  • Vinegar
  • Garlic powder
  • Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
  • Eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils

Step 2: Mix the Ingredients to Make the Solutions

Start by mixing the deterring solution that will drive carpenter bees out of your house. To do this, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of garlic powder or minced garlic cloves to a jar, then pour some cooking oil over it.

Allow the solution to sit for a few days so that the garlic is infused in the oil. Next, an equal amount of concentrated white vinegar and a small tablespoon of alcohol to help the vinegar and oil mix. When everything is ready, transfer the solution to a spray bottle.

For the next solution, you’ll prepare a solution that you’re going to pour into the holes in order to eliminate the carpenter bees and remove any eggs laid inside. This solution is made by mixing the following:

  • 4 parts white vinegar
  • 3 parts isopropyl alcohol
  • 1 part eucalyptus oil
  • 1 part tea tree oil

Step 3: Apply Your Vinegar Based Solution to Deter Carpenter Bees

With both solutions prepared, it’s time to head out to where you spot the nest in the wooden structures.

First, spray out the second solution inside the holes made in the wood to flush out the carpenter bees inside.

This solution should be kept around for when you spot the carpenter bees flying around your household.

As for deterring the bees and keeping them at bay, you should use the first solution. The vinegar, garlic, and essential oils are powerful deterrents to bees, while the oil helps the solution to last longer.

Step 4: Prevent the Bees from Coming Back to Their Holes

Now that you’ve removed active bees from their holes, you’ll need to make sure that these holes are sealed for good to prevent bees from coming back to them.

To do that, you’ll need to dip a piece of steel wool in some white vinegar. Once it’s soaked, put it inside the hole and cut the excess parts.

The steel will block the entrance, while the vinegar will deter the bees. Combined with the strong smell of essential oils, vinegar, and garlic around, the bees should avoid your property and fly elsewhere. Steel wool is also easy to remove, so you then seal up the hole properly.

Alternative Methods to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees

alternative methods to get rid of carpenter bees

In addition to vinegar, there are some other methods and ingredients that can also be quite effective in getting rid of carpenter bees. Let’s have a quick look at some of the best alternative methods:

1. Chemical Insecticides

If you want a surefire way to get rid of all those pesky insects around your household, chemical insecticides are your best bet.

There are plenty of effective active ingredients in commercial insecticides. However, insecticides with fipronil seem to be the most effective ones when it comes to carpenter bees.

This is because this chemical is lethal to the bees as well as the eggs and lasts quite a long in the air thanks to its foaming nature.

There are plenty of insecticides on the market that contain this active ingredient, and you can also find concentrates online for large properties and infestations.

2. Vacuum Cleaner

This solution is surprisingly easy and doesn’t involve any chemicals. For this method, you’ll only need a proper vacuum cleaner or a shop vac as well as a suitable nozzle that can fit over the holes made by the insects.

Carpenter bees are diurnal, so they usually gather in their holes as the sun comes down, which is why doing this at night is usually the best time.

Of course, this solution is more effective during the early stages of a carpenter bee’s attack, as the holes are usually shallow and easy to vacuum.

3. Borates

Borates are salt solutions that are used to treat wood from rot by killing all the microorganisms that live inside of it.

Lucky for you, borates can also be used to kill carpenter bees that are hiding deep inside the wood.

Applying the material is pretty simple and you only need to spray it through the hole. You can also use the material as a deterrent in vulnerable areas.

4. Natural Repellent Oils

Last but not least, if you’re too sensitive to vinegar or it doesn’t work quite well, you might want to use natural repellent oils around your household.

These oils are essential volatile oils that hang in the air and are known for their effectiveness in deterring a wide range of insects, including many popular pests like mosquitoes, thrips, some types of ants, termites, and more!

The most common repellent oils out there are citrus oil, citronella oil, and lemon eucalyptus oil. You can use any of them or make a good mix of all of them for an all-around excellent deterrent!

Things to Keep in Mind While Eliminating Carpenter Bees from Your House

Now that you know more about eliminating carpenter bees in various methods, here are some extra tips and points that you need to keep in mind:

Learn How to Identify and Spot Carpenter Bees’s Damage

It’s very important to be able to spot or identify whether your wooden structures are attacked by carpenter bees or other wood-targeting pests.

This is because carpenter bees’ damage is nothing compared to what termites or carpenter ants can do.

In other words, if the damage in your porch or deck is too obvious, it’s most likely a termite infestation, which needs immediate professional extermination!

Carpenter bees usually leave small, circular, deep holes in your wooden structures that are about one inch in diameter with plenty of sawdust.

Since these are meant for sheltering and laying eggs, they’re usually made in the underside or the backside of your wooden structure, so make sure that you check there.

You Can Use Regular Bee Traps to Catch Carpenter Bees

Although carpenter bees don’t make honey and create unique nests in wooden structures, they still feed on nectar and pollinate flowers. If you want a humane way to get rid of them, you can use a bee trap to get rid of them.

This can be any type of bee trap whether you buy a ready-made one or you create your DIY bee trap using a fulling bottle top and some nectar.

Consider Seeking Professional Help If Standard Solutions Don’t Work

Although carpenter bee infestations are pretty mild when compared to other wood munching insects, a large number of bees can cause some noticeable damage to wooden structures.

For that reason, it’s always a good idea to call a professional if all regular methods fail to control the carpenter bee problem around your house.

Wrap Up

There you have it! A comprehensive guide that walks you through everything you need to know to get rid of carpenter bees with vinegar.

In addition to vinegar, there’s a wide range of ingredients and methods that you can use to eliminate and prevent carpenter bees from coming back to your household.

The most essential thing here is to get rid of them as soon as possible to avoid heavy infestations. You can also seek the help of a professional to exterminate the house if things don’t improve.

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