Last Updated November 2nd, 2023: A carpenter bee trap is a better method of controlling carpenter bees compared to using insecticides which can kill other helpful insects as well. Carpenter bee traps are a non-chemical way to prevent carpenter bees infestation and protect your home from damage. There are few preventive ways to control carpenter bees, but we always recommend using carpenter bee traps! In this guide we’re going to be walking you through how to make a carpenter bee trap!
Some strategies such as painting wood and plugging wood holes may not be effective to keep the bees away. This is because they may still excavate your wood when they emerge in the Spring season. A carpenter bee trap will be useful during these times. Check out our guide on the best carpenter bee trap!
Other methods including essential oils, vinegar, and using soapy water to control carpenter bees. They can serve as natural insecticides and repellents. But, they may be harmful to these important pollinators and may not last in controlling them. Moreover, essential oils and vinegar may irritate your eyes or skin when in contact with them. Traps are less labor-intensive, easy to install, and safer for humans. It is also a great way to prevent and control carpenter bees. You can choose to buy one from an online or offline store. But keep reading if you wish to make one yourself.
What Is A Carpenter Bee Trap?
A carpenter bee trap is a simple box of wood with already-drilled holes that is meant to mimic the natural nest of carpenter bees. These boxes have glass jars at the bottom which will trap the carpenter bees inside of the trap once they enter through the holes.
The overall goal of carpenter bee traps is to mimic a potential nesting place for carpenter bees, so that they use the trap rather than drilling a hole into your home. Then once they’ve entered the trap, they get stuck inside and you can safely remove them from your property.
A good trap has holes at the sides which meet a center hole at the bottom. This is alike to the 90-degree tunnels made by carpenter bees when excavating tunnels. A carpenter bee trap may contain bait to lure the bees away from your home and towards the trap instead.
Advantages of Carpenter Bee Traps
If you are considering an effective method to control carpenter bees, a trap is a good choice. The following are advantages to it:
- Carpenter bee traps are non-toxic and safe for humans, pets, and plants.
- They are easy to remove, store and install
- Unlike chemical pesticides, they are environmentally friendly.
- Carpenter bee traps can withstand hard weather like rain and wind
- They are easy to construct and cost-effective
- They allow you to capture carpenter bees and release them elsewhere if you choose to.
Disadvantages of Carpenter Bee traps
Despite their suitability and ease of use, carpenter bee traps have some demerits. These include:
- They trap only adult bees, and may only trap male bees that hover around nests. They are ineffective in killing bee larvae and eggs.
- The carpenter bees may escape from the trap.
- It may attract and trap non-target insects.
Materials Required to Make a Carpenter Bee Trap
To make your carpenter bee trap, you will need to get the following materials:
- Saw (Hand or circular saw)
- Drill with a 7/8-inch wood bit, 1/2-inch metal bit, and 1/2-inch wood bit
- Square or ruler
- Tape measure
- 4-inch × 4-inch wood plank
- Mason jar
- Screw eye
- Wood screws
How to Make a Carpenter Bee Trap – Instructions
Making your own carpenter bee trap is relatively easy if you have the right supplies and tools! Here is a perfect Youtube video that will walk you through all the steps required.
If you prefer to follow along in written form, here are the written out steps on how to make your own carpenter bee lure or trap:
- Use the saw to cut the wooden plank to a workable size—at least 7-10 inches in length.
- Using the square or ruler, measure 4 inches on one side of the plank. Then draw out a diagonal line (45-degree angle) on the 4 x 4 wood plank, and mark it with a pencil.
- Cut through the diagonal line with the saw. This gives a beveled top to the trap.
- Create holes that serve as the bee tunnels using the drill. At the flat bottom of the plank, drill a hole using the 7/8-inch bit. The hole should be about 4 inches deep.
- Mark out the points of your entry holes. There should be one hole on the four faces of the plank. Each hole should be 2 inches high from the bottom, and 3/4 inches away from the side of the plank. Make sure to make a correct mark.
- Using the 1/2-inch bit, drill holes in the sides of the plank to meet the first hole at the center. You should position the drill at a 45-degree angle to the marked points. This helps to block out light from entering the plank, so the bee will fly towards the transparent jar. If you position the drill well, all the side holes will meet at the center.
- Pick the metal lid out of the ring of the mason jar. Mark out the center of the lid. Then, Mark out two equal points away from the center point. The adjacent points will hold the jar to the plank. You can use a punch to mark out the points. But place the lid on scrap wood to avoid damaging any surface with the punch.
- Place the lid firmly on the scrap wood and widen the center hole using a 1/2-inch metal drill bit. The hole should fit the one at the bottom of the plank.
- Replace the lid in the Mason jar ring. Attach the ring to the bottom of the plank by fixing two wood screws through the adjacent holes. Make sure the center hole aligns with the bottom hole.
- Fix a screw eye on the beveled top to hang your trap.
Ensure to wear protective gear such as eye goggles and gloves when constructing the bee trap. Use a face mask to avoid inhaling sawdust particles.
How To Use Carpenter Bee Traps – Simple Steps!
It is best to hang or mount the bee traps in corners and peaks in your structure, especially where it is warm or sunny. Warmth is attractive to carpenter bees because it facilitates their mating game.
The carpenter bee trap should have anywhere from a 15-foot working radius in order for the structure to be well-protected. We’d advise you to hang multiple traps around. Also, the holes have to be clogged with a cork, plugs, putty, or caulking. The traps should not be hung around or under the eaves.
Adding dead carpenter bees as bait will allow the pheromones emitted by the dead ones to attract more bees.
Do Carpenter Bee Traps Need Bait?
You may need to put bait to make your trap more attractive to carpenter bees. You can put honey or sweetened water as bait. But in order not to attract non-target insects, you can use bait designed for carpenter bees. If you do not desire to kill the bees, you should set the trap without any insecticide or sweetened water. Once the bees are in the trap, you should call a beekeeper to collect the bees.
Final Thoughts On Our DIY Carpenter Bee Trap
Carpenter bee traps are a good way to prevent carpenter bees from damaging your property. While other natural methods work, they may not last long in controlling the bees. A carpenter bee trap is easy to use, lasts long, and safer. Even though it may only control adult bees, it is effective.
It is easy to construct a carpenter bee trap. But you can buy a ready-made one in online or offline stores. It may not be necessary to apply bait to your trap, still, you may add it to make your trap attractive. Otherwise, you can keep them alive and seek a beekeeper to collect them.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on how to make a carpenter bee trap. We always recommend using traps rather than insecticides because it prevents you from killing other insects, and allows you to actually remove carpenter bees and release them if you choose to.