Written by

David Floyd

David Floyd

Reviewed by

Brett Ehlert

Brett Ehlert

Using Citrus Oil To Prevent Carpenter Bees – Spray Recipe and Instructions (Updated For 2024)

Last Updated February 16th, 2024: Throughout history, essential oils have been used as insecticides and insect repellents. However, traditional chemical insecticides can be harmful to not only the intended target, but also other non-target organisms. Therefore, organic pest control substitutes are considered a preferable option. In particular, citrus essential oils are a natural and effective alternative to synthetic chemical insecticides, offering a range of benefits in controlling insect pests.

citrus oil and carpenter bees

As pollinators, carpenter bees play a crucial part in nature and man. But in search of a nest site, they cause structural damage to property. Still, we should take care in controlling them, by choosing less deleterious procedures. Carpenter bees, like every other insect pest, are repulsive to citrus oils. So, a simple application of these oils can ward them off. Below, we will dive into the details of what citrus essential oils are and how they can get rid of carpenter bees.

Does Citrus Oil Repel Carpenter Bees?

Yes, in my testing citrus oil is an effective way to get rid of carpenter bees because carpenter bees do not like the smell of citrus oil. By spraying or painting the oil onto and around key areas on the outside of your home you can prevent and deter carpenter bees from drilling holes!

Although citrus oil is a good choice in repelling carpenter bees, it generally won’t kill carpenter bees. If you’re looking for something that will kill carpenter bees instantly then you’ll need a traditional insecticide.

Buy Citrus Oil For Carpenter Bees:

It’s possible to make your own citrus oil to repel carpenter bees, but you can also purchase large quantities to treat your home. We recommend the following citrus oil sprays!

How To Use Citrus Oil SprayFor Carpenter Bees:

Using citrus oil to repel carpenter bees is very quick, and shouldn’t take longer than an hour or two depending on the size of your house. Here are the steps on making your own citrus oil and how to apply it to your home:

  1. Cut up 3-7 whole lemons or limes into thin slices.
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil on the stovetop.
  3. Add in the sliced lemons and limes, and boil for 10-15 minutes to allow the juices to extract from the lemons or limes.
  4. Turn off the heat, and allow the mixture to cool.

You now have your own citrus oil spray to combat carpenter bees.

Applying your new spray is easy as well, I put it into a spray bottle (you can also paint it on with a brush) and walk the exterior of my home looking for key areas to spray. Here are some carpenter bee hotspots to ensure you spray:

  • Existing carpenter bee holes (Carpenter bees like to reuse holes year after year).
  • Around your porch, deck, and railings.
  • Wooden fences
  • The siding of your home if it’s made of wood siding material.
  • The eaves of your home.
  • Wood doors and window sills.

After spraying, I recommend keeping an eye on carpenter bee activity over the next few weeks. If you’re still noticing activity, then you should reapply the spray but also consider upping the concentration or using more spray.

Citrus Essential Oils—What are They?

Plants of the Citrus genus have incredible value to humankind. They provide us with nutritious fruits, and produce beneficial essential oils. Citrus essential oils are concentrated oils obtained mainly from the rind of Citrus fruits. These oils can also be gotten from other vegetative parts such as their flowers, leaves, and seeds. Examples of such citrus fruits include sweet orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, tangerine, and mandarin.

carpenter bee citrus spray

Citrus essential oils contain compounds such as monoterpenes, terpenoids, phenolic acids, and flavonoids. Many research reveals that monoterpenes are the most abundant compounds in essential oils. Amongst the monoterpenes, limonene is the most plentiful and active against carpenter bees. These compounds have biological activities that provide health benefits and kill pests. Several studies report that citrus oils can serve as a repellent, and contact insecticide against insect pests.

Citrus oils serve a wide range of purposes. They provide many health benefits and are used in food preparation. In the pharmaceutical and beauty industries, citrus essential oils are valuable ingredients. Due to their microbicidal nature, they serve as cleaners and organic disinfectants. Also, like insecticides and repellents, they work well with pest control strategies.

How Is Citrus Essential Oil Extracted?

The methods involved in the extraction of citrus oils involve using heat or energy. This dissolves and drives the volatile oils out of the citrus peels. Although these are industrial processes, you can do them at home with the right tools. You can buy citrus oil from stores, or you can extract the oil at home. There are two common ways to extract citrus oils:

  •  Cold Press

Cold pressing is a method that requires little or no heat to extract the citrus oil. It gives a good result though it requires a lot of energy. Also, it reduces the effect of heat that may tamper with the constituents of the Citrus. It is mechanical because it involves the crushing of citrus rinds by hand, or with a machine. After crushing, the oils are separated and collected from the other citrus extracts.

  • Steam Distillation

This is a meticulous procedure that requires control in temperature, time, and pressure. Steam is passed through the crushed citrus peels in an enclosed container. This is done to release the volatile oils. Then the extracted oils are collected in a different container.

You can simply boil citrus rinds in a pot of water for the oils to infuse into the water. Then, fill a mist bottle with the infusion, and use it as a citrus spray for carpenter bees.

Benefits of Citrus Oil For Carpenter Bees

  1. As Natural Insecticide

Well extracted citrus oil is potent and loaded with many natural chemical constituents. Hence, it can kill carpenter bees in contact. This works well if the oil is not diluted. You can also combine citrus oil with vinegar or other essential oils. Add enough drops of citrus oil to a mist bottle containing vinegar, rubbing alcohol, or water. Then, spray the mixture in infested areas. Evenings are the best time to spray because carpenter bees are active in the daytime. Make sure to repeat the process at least once a week, as citrus oil is volatile and does not last long. Secure your eyes and skin when applying the treatment, as citrus oil can be harsh on the skin. You should change infested wood parts after driving off the carpenter bees. yo get rid of the dead bees to avoid fungal rot. You can also call a bee exterminator if you notice carpenter bees returning to your home.

  1. As Deterrent/Repellent

A lower concentration of citrus oil can serve as a good repellent. Add 6-8 drops of citrus oil in a mist bottle containing water, alcohol, or vinegar. You can boil citrus peels in water instead and use them as a citrus spray. Apply the mixture before the onset of Spring to ward off looming carpenter bees. This will serve as a preventive measure to keep them away. You can also burn citrus oil-infused candles around your yard. Cover up pre-existing nest holes after treating them with citrus oil. This will aid to deter carpenter bees from reusing the spot at the onset of their breeding season.

Drawbacks of Citrus Oil Based Insecticide/Repellent

Despite their desirable properties, citrus oil insecticides have some shortcomings. Citrus essential oils are volatile in nature. So when applied to an infested surface, they can evaporate. Also, they leave no residues after evaporation. This implies that citrus essential oils may not last long, and need constant to be effective. Due to their organic nature, citrus oils are biodegradable. This limits their lasting effect as insecticides. For these reasons, advanced research has provided some solutions. Encapsulation of citrus oil in nanoparticles can extend their efficacy and reduce volatility. When they are applied in carpenter bees’ nests, they can easily be ingested. The water-soluble nanoparticles will dissolve, releasing the citrus oil in the carpenter bee. A disadvantage to this method is that it is lethal to the bees and non-target organisms may also fall victim.

Where To Buy Citrus Oil For Carpenter Bees

If you don’t want to make your own citrus oil spray for carpenter bees, then have no fear you can actually just purchase your own spray!

We recommend the following sprays for carpenter bees:

Does Orange Oil Repel Carpenter Bees?

Yes, orange oil repels carpenter bees! Carpenter bees are easily repelled by any type of citrus smell or scent, and orange oil is enough to deter carpenter bees from coming around your home!

If you’re looking for orange oil for carpenter bees we recommend Green Gobbler Orange Oil since it’s natural and effective!

Final Thoughts On Carpenter Bee Citrus Spray!

To save the environment and limit the use of chemical insecticides, you should choose citrus oil to repel carpenter bees. Many studies prove that citrus essential oils can control carpenter bees. Also, they have served as a natural insecticide and insect repellent for decades. Citrus oil contains many compounds but the most abundant insecticidal component is limonene. Citrus oil generally is more effective than almond oil for carpenter bees, but it goes back to the same concept of deterring carpenter bees!

Cold pressing and steam distillation are common methods to extract citrus oil. But you can prepare a citrus spray at home by infusion. Since citrus oil is repulsive to carpenter bees, you can use it as a repellent to ward them off. Also, you can use a higher concentration of citrus oil to kill carpenter bees. Citrus oils leave no residue and may not last on treated surfaces. So research suggests that encapsulated ones will extend their efficacy.

David Floyd:

David Floyd has 20 years of experience working as a pest control technician as well as running his own pest control company. David is Quality Pro certified and is a certified Structural Pest Control Operator in the state of North Carolina, and the owner of NCPestControlExperts pest control company.

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