Every year when springtime temperatures roll in, you know THEY are coming. Bees, wasps, and hornets are all waking up and getting back to work again. Carpenter bees, in particular, cause a huge nuisance to anybody with a wood house, shed, or structure. They bore into the wood, take up residence, and guard it constantly. If you are like most, you have run from the dive bombing of these pesky little things.
After noticing that they were making Swiss cheese out of our shed, we knew we had to do something. We don’t use chemicals or anything that could potentially harm us or other bees nesting in better locations. The solution: carpenter bee traps!
Bees are undergoing global decline due to Colony Collapse Disorder. Please only get rid of carpenter bees if they are causing serious issues. They provide pollination to many of the staple crops of our diets. Without bees, a significant portion of the world’s crop production would be in jeopardy. In addition to planting as many bee-friendly gardens as possible, we also plan to build or pick up some mason bees houses.
making a carpenter bee trap
We wanted to create something using scrap materials, a very simple design, and small profile. After pulling ideas from everywhere, this is what we came up with. The theory behind these traps are pretty simple. The bee is attracted to the open hole. It climbs in and falls down into the empty bottle and gets stuck. It’s unable to fly back into the hole and can’t climb the smooth plastic.
supplies:2×4 scrap lumber (cut to +/- 12” long) 1×6 scrap (cut to +/- 5″ long) drill ½” spade drill bit phillips head drill bit small hammer 3 – 1-1/2” wood screws tack nails or heavy duty adhesive 2 empty small plastic bottles
After you gather the materials, start drilling holes in the 2×4. Carpenter bees use entries that are about a 1/2″ in diameter, so use a spade as close to that as possible. Begin by drilling a hole on the face of the board. Only drill the hole 2/3rds of the way through.
Flip the board over. Drill another hole on the bottom. Line this up with where the first hole is so that they meet in the middle. Drill until you hit the first hole. The goal is to create a rough 90 degree angle inside. Use the drill to clear out any broken pieces inside. Repeat the process for the opposite side.
Grab the other piece of scrap wood. We used some of the scraps leftover from making our cold frames. Drill pilot holes, so the wood doesn’t split.
Attach the 1×6 piece to the 2×4 with 1-1/2″ wood screws.
Take the lids off of the water bottles. Center a lid on the hole and drill through it. You might need a pair of pliers if you can’t get a good grip.
Attach the lids using tack nails. Not all lids will work with nails. If they don’t, you can use a heavy duty adhesive. Just be sure to keep the hole clear. Check and double check that the bottle still fits if the lids get misshapen at all.
Once the other side is attached, it’s time to hang it.
Pick a location near where you are having issues. It may be up under the eave of the house or on the side of a wood structure. Try to emulate the area where they are nesting in your yard. Drill a pilot hole and attach with wood screw.Screw on the empty water bottles. Now it is good to go. Just step back and wait from here.
Soon after, you will hopefully be on your way to freedom. This is our first carpenter bee trap. As you can see, it was pretty successful.
Good luck . And again please only use these when you truly must. Bees are a vital component of our ecosystems. Protect them every chance you get.