Will Soapy Water Kill Carpenter Bees?

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 December 14th, 2022: Bees are a great asset to the growth of our flowering plants, such as eggplant and other vegetables, yet their presence in the home or environment is always a cause for alarm. These insects, when found in the home, can cause you to fret and seek out ways to get rid of them.

Will Soapy Water Kill Carpenter Bees

One method you may have heard about involves using soapy water to eliminate carpenter bees. But should you use it? Will soapy water kill carpenter bees?

Can Soapy Water Kill Carpenter Bees?

Yes, soapy water will kill carpenter bees. Using a soap water mixture against carpenter bees will kill them if they’re exposed to it long enough and enough mixture is used. Soap can kill bees because it is a surfactant which is a substance that actually makes water wetter, and makes the water stick to the insect and essentially drowns the insect. That being said, it does take several minutes and isn’t the most effective method to get rid of carpenter bees.

Using pesticides to kill carpenter bees can be risky but produces great results in no time. Pesticides contain certain chemical materials that can quickly penetrate the functional cells in bees. Sadly, it has adverse effects on humans, plants, and other living things in the environment.

So, can soapy water kill carpenter bees? The answer is yes.

But they won’t go down without a fight. Using soapy water seems like a slow torture process to kill them, and there may be some hurdles. Mind you, the challenge doesn’t lie in killing the bees but in staying safe during the process.

You, as well as those around you, may need to stay protected during the application phase in order to avoid getting a bee sting. Keep in mind, however, that male carpenter bees do not sting. The female bees are the ones notorious for dishing out bee stings and they do so to defend themselves. This can also happen when going through the soapy water removal process. 

Thankfully, soapy water does not come with harsh chemical elements like pesticides. So pouring soapy water on bees initially weakens their ability to move or fly as their wax-like covering becomes heavy. 

How soapy water works on carpenter bees

To illustrate, let’s use pure water and plant leaves as an example. Normally, clear water does not easily penetrate surfaces as much as soap water, as you may have observed in leaves. When water is sprayed on leaves, they form droplets. But spraying those same leaves with soapy water elicits a different reaction. Soapy water tends to have an effect on the resin or wax of the leaves. 

This is the same way it works between soapy water and carpenter bees’ bodies. In simple terms, spraying soapy water on bees is simply drowning them and the soap has a high viscosity which keeps it surrounding their body. 

How To Kill Carpenter Bees With Soapy Water

Note that it’s easy to confuse wasps and bumblebees with carpenter bees. And the quest to get rid of these little pests can make one adopt the wrong method. Let’s get into the steps to kill carpenter bees with soapy water

  • Step 1- Make sure you’re using the right soap

The truth is, numerous kinds of soap can be used in the preparation of homemade soapy spray when looking to kill carpenter bees. Liquid soaps and other detergents are the most common choices. But note that soaps made from synthetic materials are not part of these options because most of them contain chemical additives that could cause an allergic reaction in anyone around the home. Remember, the reason for trying out the soapy water solution instead of the regular pesticide mix is to avoid the adverse effect that chemicals can cause on the people around that area 

  • Step 2 – Prepare the solution

This seems like an easy one to do, but you must take care to add the right quantity of soap to the water. That’s because the more diluted the solution is, the less potent the solution will be in weakening the bees and killing them. Make sure to apply enough soap for a more effective outcome. 

  • Step 3 – Pour the solution into a spray bottle

The distance between the beehives and yourself during the application phase will determine the type of spray bottle needed. Choose appropriately because it’s safer if you’re as far away as possible from them while spraying. Ensure to have a sufficient quantity of the solution set aside should what’s in the spray bottle get exhausted. 

You also want to make sure to keep yourself and your household safe. As earlier stated, anyone planning to kill carpenter bees with soapy water must keep all parts of their body protected, as well as that of other members of the family who might join in the process. That’s to avoid getting stung by the bees because they are bound to react harshly one way or another. A coverall jacket or any type of oversized jacket that covers all body parts may be the most suitable option here.

  • Step 4 – Spray the solution

Once all the other steps are in place, the spraying can then commence. But ensure to have a way out of the house in case the number of the bees becomes too much to contain. Some people may react badly at the sight of a swarm of bees, hence the need to get out for a while before the spraying starts. Repeated spraying is necessary so that the bees get enough of the soapy solution to weaken them and subsequently kill them.

Final Thoughts On Soapy Water And Carpenter Bees

Yes, soapy water can kill bees, and this mixture can easily be wiped off surfaces in the home without risking suffering the effects that would normally come from interacting with chemicals.

But is this the safest option to use in getting rid of carpenter bees? Having a one-on-one encounter with a swarm of bees while trying to get rid of them can be very difficult and scary, right?

Well, there are other options. The most ideal would be to employ a professional pest control company or a beekeeper. They will help you identify the type of pest and the appropriate ways of getting rid of them. Keeping your home safe rather than risking it becoming a good spot for bees to build their nest should be your utmost priority. Read our guide on how to get rid of carpenter bees naturally or with solutions such as:

So make sure to get help when necessary, especially if your current DIY methods do not yield any profound effects. 



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