How To Get Rid Of Carpenter Bees With Vinegar – Recipes and Guide (Updated For April, 2023)

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.

Last Updated April 11th, 2023: One of the many organic alternatives to get rid of carpenter bees is vinegar. It is preferable to opt for less harmful and natural alternatives. This is because insecticides have a potential to be toxic to man and the environment. Carpenter bees are notorious for preferring to use exposed wood to build their nests. As structural pests, they bore through wood and make nests for future generations. With time, the carpenter bee nests become elaborate, as they tend to visit it often. Fungal rot may also begin to form in these infested areas. As a result, they weaken wooden structures and cause them to fail.

Note: We’re noticing more serious carpenter bee infestations so far in 2023 so be on the lookout for any signs of carpenter bees around your home.

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If you’re not an expert on carpenter bees , it may get tough getting rid of them. Regardless, one easy way to deter carpenter bees and save your property is to use vinegar. It can also serve as a natural homemade insecticide to eradicate carpenter bees. Here, we will show you how to use vinegar to get rid of these bees from your home.

how to get rid of carpenter bees with vinegar

How To Get Rid Of Carpenter Bees With Vinegar

To get rid of carpenter bees with vinegar you should mix up 1 cup of vinegar with 2 cups of water into a spray bottle, and spray the solution directly into the carpenter bee’s nest hole. This will kill the carpenter bee larvae in the nest and the strong smell will deter adult carpenter bees, and they will find a new home.

Getting Rid of Carpenter Bees With Vinegar – Video

What is Vinegar?

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Vinegar is a solution of acetic acid in water. Starchy or sugary substances undergo double fermentation to produce alcohol and acetic acid. Yeast and Acetic acid bacteria carry out these processes. For instance, grains and apples produce white vinegar and apple cider vinegar respectively. In general, typical vinegar contains 4-7% acetic acid and 93-96% water. Other components vary in vinegar depending on the kind of raw material used. These may give the vinegar a characteristic flavor, color aroma, or taste. These components include phytochemicals like flavonoids, aldehydes, and phenolic acids.

vinegar and carpenter bees

Vinegar is mainly used as an important ingredient in cooking and food presentation. In salad dressings and other foods, it can serve as an excellent flavoring. Vinegar preserves perishable foods by the pickling process. Many people use it for its health and beauty benefits. Vinegar can serve as a cleaning agent for dissolving and cleaning stains on surfaces. A high proportion of acetic acid (20%) in vinegar is effective in killing bugs and unwanted plants.

There exist several kinds of vinegar. This depends on the kind of base materials used for its production. Various kinds of starchy or sugary ingredients produce different vinegar. Some examples of common vinegar include white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, malt vinegar, and wood vinegar.

Distilled white vinegar is the most common type available. It is colorless, has a harsh taste and pungent odor. It is best for carpenter bee control, due to its high acidity and low flavoring content. Also, apple cider vinegar is popular in repelling bees.

Does Vinegar Kill Carpenter Bees Instantly?

Vinegar will kill carpenter bees after a few minutes of exposure to a vinegar mixture. So although it’s not quite instantaneous, it is rather quick. Along with this, the smell does a good job of repelling carpenter bees as well.

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How Does Vinegar Work on Getting Rid of Carpenter Bees?

Carpenter bees are dependent on their sense of smell to locate flowers for nectar and pollen. Thus, any substance that has an acrid scent tampers with this sense and repulses the bees. Vinegar has this smell that can ward carpenter bees off or even kill them. Acetic acid causes the pungent smell and sharp taste. A high concentration of vinegar can cause carpenter bees to die from suffocation. Hence, if you want to only repel them, use a lower concentration.

There are two effective ways to get rid of carpenter bees using vinegar:

1. As Insecticide in A Carpenter Bee Trap

Bee traps are containers designed to catch bees that cause a nuisance. Carpenter bee traps are usually wooden boxes with a glass jar under them. It has a hole to the side to mimic the entrance of the bee’s nest. It helps lure and trap carpenter bees—especially if there is bait.

Water sweetened with sugar or honey is good bait material for carpenter bee traps. Vinegar can serve as an insecticide when added to the bait. Apple cider vinegar is excellent to use because it has a lesser pungent odor. When the bee enters the trap, it gets attracted to the sweetened water. When the bee ingests the bait, the acetic acid interacts with the bee’s system and causes death. Vinegar can also dissolve the hairs on the body of the bee, causing it to drown in the sweetened water. Make sure to dispose of the dead bees after some time.

You can avoid killing the bees by setting the trap without bait. After trapping the bees, release them in a different area, or give them to a beekeeper.

2. As Repellent or Insecticidal Spray

You can combine one cup of white or apple cider vinegar and one cup of water, to form a solution. Fill a mist bottle with this solution and spray it into the carpenter bee holes. A low concentration of vinegar will serve as a repellent. But, if you wish to kill them, use vinegar with a high concentration of acetic acid.

Vinegar treatment is temporal. It dries up and leaves no residue. Hence, it may not be effective when used alone.

You can also increase potency of the mixture by adding essential oils such as tea tree, almond, or lavender oil. Alcohol can further boost toxicity. Combine one tablespoon of 99% alcohol, two teaspoons of white or apple cider vinegar, and 6-10 drops of each essential oil. Fill a mist bottle with the concoction; be careful not to spill it on any surface. Spray the mixture around holes and areas carpenter bees are mostly found. This treatment can kill the bees in contact. Make sure to spray the areas twice a day for a week or two.

The essential oils can last longer on surfaces after the vinegar dries up. Hence, it can further serve as a repellent and cause the carpenter bees to abandon their nests.

To avoid getting stung, make sure to spray the holes during nighttime when the bees are at rest. Wear protective clothing, so that the provoked bee will do little harm to you. Make sure not to get any drop of the concoction into your eyes or mouth.

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Preventive Measures After Treatment

Ensure to cover up the holes with wood putty, after you’ve noticed that the carpenter bees are gone. You can also use wood dowels or caulking clay. You can dispose of infested wood or change them. This will prevent the carpenter bees from returning to reuse the wood. Here’s how you should repair carpenter bee wood damage.

Final Thoughts Of Carpenter Bees and Vinegar

Chemical insecticides can be harmful to humans and the environment. Natural options such as vinegar can be used as pest control. Vinegar is primarily a cooking ingredient and flavoring. Also, it can serve as one of the many organic alternatives used to get rid of carpenter bees. Some people have had success with other DIY solutions like getting rid of carpenter bees with WD-40, but it isn’t a natural/organic solution so take caution.

Vinegar can repel or kill carpenter bees because of its acetic acid component. As a natural insecticide, you can add them in the bait used in bee traps. While as a repellent, you can mix it with water and spray on infested regions. Essential oils and alcohol can increase potency when you add them to the mixture. Ensure to protect your property from further attacks by carpenter bees. Make sure to plug abandoned nest holes or changing infested wood structures.


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