The traditional sugar trap may be a great way to get rid of various insects. But when it comes to pesky burrowers like carpenter bees, you’ll have to resort to the best carpenter bee traps if you want to avoid having a large colony setting up shop in your windowsills, roof, or deck.
There are no mysterious tips and tricks on how to deal with a carpenter bee infestation. Things are pretty straightforward when it comes to these pests – get one or more good traps and watch the magic happen. Here are some traps you should consider getting for your property.
Do I need to purchase carpenter bee lure separately? - The answer is no. All the wooden traps featured here come pre-applied with scent that lures in carpenter bees. If you still want some lure, you can DIY and make some yourself using any sweet (and optionally also colorful) liquid. I've had good results from margarita mix in the past.
6 Best Carpenter Bee Traps to Catch them Easily
- 6 Best Carpenter Bee Traps to Catch them Easily
- Traps vs Bait
- My Thoughts on Weatherproof Traps
- Location Is Everything
- Commercial vs Homemade Traps
This looks like a simple carpenter bee trap but it’s much more than that. For one, the wooden box is very sturdy and has large enough openings to allow carpenter bees to fly in easily. The wood is also treated and it can withstand quite a bit of harsh weather.
Secondly, the jar attachment is tightly secured to the bottom of the box and has a decent capacity. It can hold dozens of dead bees without messing up the balance of the trap. It also won’t break easily, meaning that you can use the trap in high bee-traffic areas, as well.
The bees can check in but they can’t check out. No matter how smart your carpenter bees are, I've found that this trap should works reasonably well even without any bait. This is because these traps are pre-applied with scent that lures in bees. Once the bees see the bottom hole inside the box they’ll fly straight through into the jar.
I managed to catch just 2 carpenter bees on the first day of using one of these traps, but that count increased to 11 at the end of the second day!
Finally, I like the strong chain hanger on this trap. You would be surprised how many traps come without the accessories you need for a quick and secure setup.
Although this is technically not a lure or a trap, the BioAdvanced 700430A Termite & Carpenter Bee Killer is a foam pesticide that you can use to trap carpenter bees in. The foam has an impressive expansion ratio of 30:1, which means that it’s capable of sealing in any carpenter bee nest.
The solution comes in a well-engineered bottle container with its own dispersal system. The tube is quite long and will get into those hard-to-reach tunnels with ease. The main active ingredient in this formula is Imidacloprid. It’s present in .05% concentration. That’s enough for carpenter bees, termites, and many other insects.
Unlike other traps, the BioAdvanced foam works on the “set it and forget it” principle. The formula will remain active for up to three months. This means that even if some of the bees escape the nest, when they return, they won’t stand a chance.
You can apply this foam anywhere from damaged wood and spaces between joints, to attics, basements, and foundation junctions. Just keep in mind that it is more efficient indoors. Exposure to the elements will reduce the long-term effect of the foam.
If you have a serious infestation to deal with, then I recommend starting out with two carpenter bee traps. The Original B Brothers two-pack Carpenter Bee Trap offers a quick and potent solution. You can use both traps in the same area to increase the chances of success or you can scatter them on the property if more areas are affected by these flying wood burrowers.
The hardwood boxes look pretty well-made and have one opening on each wall. However, the wood doesn’t seem to have the best weatherproof treatment. Don’t get me wrong – these traps will still handle hot, cold, and humid environments -but they won’t last too long if constantly exposed to heavy rain without protection.
The mason jars attached are quite durable and removable too. Though you don't need to do this as these traps are already pre-applied with lure, the jars being removable means that you can optionally add some homemade lure to the bottom of the jars. Any sweet and slightly yellow/orange-ish liquid works wonders as an effective bait, including fruit juice, margarita mix, you name it. Thus, buying something that's branded exclusively as 'carpenter bee lure' is kind of a waste of your money, if you ask me.
Another reason why I recommend this design is because the openings are drilled at an angle. This means that the bees will have a hard time seeing the openings as viable way out once inside. Because of this, going down to the jar seems like the best option or, in their case, the last option.
If you are worried about bait quality and bees nesting in your trap, a sticky trap is always an alternative. The Rescue Trapstik is designed for wasps, carpenter bees, as well as other flying insects. It doesn’t smell and doesn’t contain chemicals harmful for humans or common household pets, making it safe to use inside and outside your home.
The trap has some weather resistance. However, consistent exposure to heavy rain will eventually mess up the sticky layer of the trap. Now, as far as how the trap works, it’s basically a visual attractant. The vibrant colors are supposed to attract pests to the surface of the trap.
This will work on many species of insects, but it needs a bit of help with carpenter bees. Mainly, you should get the trap installed close to their nest.
Keep in mind that this trap is disposable. Once the glue wears off or after the surface layer is filled with bees, you’ll have to throw it out. You should also know that the best time of year to use this kind of trap is between the spring and fall. Depending on where you live, you may have to cut that period shorter by one season.
The Mac’s LLC Carpenter Bee Trap has an interesting design. It’s made from a block of Douglas fir and features three entrance points. It follows the classic box into jar trap design. The jar at the bottom is detachable and can be filled with bait or poison.
What makes this a very interesting alternative is the actual box trap construction. Instead of going for an elaborate four walls and a roof design with entrance holes on every side, this one looks like a piece of wood with three holes in it. You can plug the holes with the corks that come with the trap.
The wood is not treated, meaning that it may crack after continuous exposure to harsh weather. However, this shouldn’t affect the integrity of the trap. The bees will be more attracted to the Douglas fir trap than others made of laminate or hardwood. This is great as you may be able to catch more bees with less bait.
No matter how efficient a carpenter bee trap may be, if you feel like you can expedite the bee catching process even further, you can resort to using some sort of lure. But... do keep in mind that DIY lures work just as well!
You can make your own lure with any colorful sweet liquid. But, if you don't have 10 minutes, and you must, then feel free to buy a readymade lure like this one from Donaldson Farms, if it's available (I've noticed that it's unavailable most of the time). If this one's unavailable, you can opt for this alternative carpenter bee lure by Tacky Stick. I've tried it and it works just as well to attract carpenter bees.
The formula is not too toxic, which makes it safe to use on traps placed on the ground, such as deck traps. It won’t bother pets and it won’t attract honey bees. It’s also based on a proprietary mix of mostly natural ingredients, all known attractants for carpenter bees.
It’s not a sugary formula that could also attract honey bees, so you won’t be messing up the honey bee population in your area. I would also like to mention that a little goes a long way with this particular lure. You shouldn’t need more than one or two drops in a mason jar half-filled with water to attract lots of carpenter bees.
Of course, as a lure, it doesn’t do a lot on its own. Use it if you’re tired of messing around with poorly formulated pesticides or DIY mixes. This lure can be used to enhance the performance even in homemade bee traps.
Traps vs Bait
Believe it or not, despite what most carpenter bee trap manufacturers will tell you, traps and baits do go hand in hand. Very few carpenter bee traps will be efficient without at least some sort of bait to lure the bees in and make them fly into the jar.
Sure, carpenter bees are attracted to wood, especially natural wood. They are even more attracted to the wood that has some openings they can fly through and explore. However, it often takes more than just a good-looking block of wood or a colorful sticky trap to best these bees.
Using bait is important and so is leaving some of the dead ants inside the trap. They will also attract other bees and fool them into joining the party.
My Thoughts on Weatherproof Traps
Carpenter bees are seasonal pests. They won’t bother you all year round, unless they’ve infiltrated your home. In that case, you best be ready to deal with them any time.
In most states, carpenter bees will be active until October. But, their activity can begin anywhere between February and April. This means that you’ll be spending most of the spring and summer getting rid of your carpenter bee nests.
Because of this, you might not need to put too much thought into weatherproofing your traps or buying weatherproof traps at premium prices. Remember that carpenter bees are attracted to the damaged wood too. That’s why it’s so common to find them in old houses, barns, decks, and similar places.
As long as your trap won’t fall apart after spending two days in the rain or it won’t rot and crumble after one season, it’ll be just fine.
Location Is Everything
No matter how strong your lure and how appealing the trap may be, it’s all about the correct placement. If you want to maximize the trap’s efficiency, you should first figure out where the most high-traffic areas are and from which crevices or holes most of the bees are coming out of.
That way, you can set the trap right in their path. They’ll always sense the bait and be tempted to go inside and check things out. With that said, don’t put the trap too close to the entrance to their nest.
If the bees are having a blast in there, they might not be looking for a new nesting location so close to home. Besides, they’re not as stupid as one might think they are.
Commercial vs Homemade Traps
Granted, I’m not the one to oppose taking matters into your own hands and using homemade traps. If you have the time and the resources to create home-made bee traps, good for you. I would just urge you to keep in mind that carpenter bees are harder to attract than honey bees and other insects.
You’ll need a wooden box to boost your chances of success. This means wood working, drilling holes at an angle, and creating a latching mechanism for a mason jar or another see-through bee catcher.
It’s a lot more work than it might seem and if you were to add all the material costs, power tools energy consumption, and the time spent, you might not end up saving any money. Finally, don’t forget that you may still have to pay money for good bait too.
Catch Your Carpenter Bees Before They Cause Structural Damage
As you can see, most carpenter bee traps follow pretty much the same basic design idea -a wooden enclosure, small entrance holes, and a bee catcher at the bottom, usually a mason jar. These are probably the traps that will be most efficient, with or without bait.
Also, all traps on this list will help you keep your carpenter bees in check. Even though carpenter bees aren’t known to eat wood like termites do, don’t underestimate their potential to cause serious structural damage with their excessive burrowing.