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Picture of Making Carpenter Bee Traps
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Carpenter bees are nature's answer to the cordless drill.  They are incredible drillers and cause significant damage to wooden buildings by burrowing long holes.  The bees do not actually eat the wood but drill tunnels as a place to lay eggs.  Their preference is to find an old hole and drill further into the wood each year before laying their eggs.  Over time, the continued removal of wood causes significant damage and eventual failure of the wooden support. In the forest, bees find old dead wood to drill into and cause no harm at all.  Unfortunately our homes and barns are a big target for carpenter bees with an unlimited amount of exposed dry wood for nesting.  Picture 2 shows damage in a piece of lumber and picture 3 shows how extensive the nests can be in a piece of firewood.

Carpenter bee traps are not an original idea, but in searching for an instructable, I discovered no one had posted plans.  Since I needed to make some traps I thought an instructable was in order.  There are many designs and you can google for images to see the variety.  Most of them are pretty close to this design.  
 
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Step 1: The trap is set

Picture of The trap is set
The trap is a simple wooden box with 1/2" holes drilled in all 4 sides at an upward angle.  Since the bees prefer to use an existing hole, these traps provide the hole they are seeking.  Once inside the box, the bees fly toward the light and end up in the plastic water bottle at the bottom.  Two things I saw mentioned online were that these bees like an overhanging roof and a sloped side to the box.  I included these design elements by providing an oversized roof and angling 2 sides of the box.
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ljhtg3 years ago
Before engaging in something so destructive to nature and the environment consider the benefits of bees. Why is it that man has to kill what they don't understand or care to understand. Try building nesting sites for these creatures before of killing them.
How sweet and cozzy! You don't have to watch them eating my log home! 1/2 inch holes are pretty big! They are smart too. They drill them up high so you can't get to them easily! As for the pollination bull, there are plenty of other creatures to do that, even the wind helps! So if a bug is doing some bad thing you would rather save it cause its "cute"? Get real!
Thank you for your well thought out and intelligent reply. Obviously you have considered their benefits and feel that this species has no legitimate reason to keep around. Apparently you and your home in the country are a more important species to have on earth. Good luck with that.
Derek_TN ljhtg21 days ago

ljgtg. Ha, if you think a few of these will eliminate a species. That's funny.

And yes, me and my home are more important. That's very kind of you to say.

Those suckers are aggresive anyway. A pain to cut the grass around the shed and deck they have nested in, as anytime I get near either and the carpenter bees come at me. Whether or not they sting doesn't matter to me. I don't want to have bees attacking me when cutting my grass.

Wish you were a big black & yellow bee!
ljhtg- carpenter bees are nowhere close to extinction, and trapping the ones that are near a house will not make them extinct. From your comment, it seems likely that you live in a city apartment that was built by someone else and is maintained by someone else. Your apartment required cutting trees and driving out woodland creatures just like everyone else's home did, and it requires continuing anti-pest measures to keep it standing and healthy.
I never suggested the bees were nearing extinction and you would be 100% wrong about where I live. Please don't put words in my mouth or make false accusations.
"pollination bull" eh?98% of what you eat requires those 'cute bugs'.Only corn and wheat are wind pollinated.So go ahead kill the bugs and enjoy living on bread and water in the future.
Are you not of the same species ? Maybe you are alien , we will kill you too !
HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA Might have known ........Mama always said it is a waste of breath to argue with a fool.
Your mother was a smart woman!
Your momma wears army boots! HAHAHAHHHAHAHAHHAAAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHHAHAHHHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! ha!
BAd breath ! HAHAHAHAHA!
Hippocracy running rampant again!
AMEN! Providing nesting sites using various lengths of cane will entice the bees away from all manner of wooden posts,beams,boards.Lazy people kill.Smart people work with nature not against it.

Not necessarily. I got a perfectly good dead tree in my yard the carpenter bees could nest in. Instead they "drill" holes in my deck and shed, causing structural damage to both. Sometimes you gotta take care of it by elimination.

Had you or ljhtg gave this alternate suggestion at the start (preferably without the condescension), it would have been much more productive than the bickering that went on.

ljhtg puiwaihin14 days ago

That suggestion was my original comment, the bickering came after. Nor was it condescending but to each their own interpretation.

Thanks for the info, your PHD came in handy after all!
BitisG ljhtg14 days ago

I know this is an old subject. But it all depends on your location. If you are more out towards the country or you have land, then fine build a nesting area and be a savior of natures society....But, if you're like me and you live inside the city with a small yard, there is no place to create nesting grounds for these bees. These bees are highly destructive to the structures that humans live in. And, they are highly aggressive especially during mating time.

As much as I would love to let them tear down my home and attack my family and neighbors(yeah right). They are a species of bee that needs to be dealt with, this trap is a ingenious idea, and I will bee making several of them ;).

ljhtg BitisG14 days ago

I can appreciate where you are coming from, indeed there are some species that cause a great deal of damage to structures. It may not work or be ideal for everyone, I only make the suggestion as an option that might. Good luck dealing with your situation.

I agree 100% ! No one likes holes in our homes!
Right on Brother!
prissygirl12 days ago
I live in Western NC. They are eating up my deck. I live in the country and have babied the Miner bees(they nest under my rose bush. I have native and domestic honey bees. I plant to feed them, I water them. But these Carpenter bees have got to go! I have dead wood on my property's I why my deck? I have tried citrus oil, now I am building traps!
Mazk1 year ago

This might help some of you out.

If possible, susceptible exterior parts of a building should be constructed out of hardwoods not normally attacked by the bees for nests. On all buildings, fill depressions and cracks in wood surfaces so they are less attractive. Paint or varnish exposed surfaces regularly to reduce weathering. Fill unoccupied holes with steel wool and caulk to prevent their reuse. Wait until after bees have emerged before filling the tunnels [or they might make another exit hole]. Once filled, paint or varnish the repaired surfaces. Protect rough areas, such as ends of timbers, with wire screening or metal flashing

www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7417.html#MANAGEMENT">www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7417.html#MANAGEMENT

puiwaihin Mazk14 days ago

That is how you give advice to someone without insulting them. Good job.

vinjenn24 days ago

I made one today! We will see how well it works in Alabama!!

kudzu631 month ago

I made some and instead of using the half bottle/big hole like you did, I just drilled an 1 1/8th hole deep enough to sink a bottle cap into. Then I drill a 1/2 hole in the bottle cap. The fit for the bottle cap is good and tight but I put a little Gorilla glue on it. Then I could screw the bottle directly to it. When it gets full just unscrew it, throw it away and screw a new bottle in place.

SmokyMtnGuy1 month ago

Made this a couple of years ago. Traps were ineffective until a neighbor told me to place a dead carpenter bee in the bottle. It seems the scent attracts other carpenter bees. Caught many after this tip. This trap literally saves thousands of dollars in damage.

RbotJ2 months ago

Thats awesome I'll need to make one of these guys

enelson83 months ago
I love the second to last picture, mass production!!!
CAbeachguy8 months ago

Can't wait to make some of these. The carpenter bees have really torn up parts of my log home and my barn. To those upset with those of us that kill these bees you should consider the economic damage vs. their benefit. Carpenter bees have little benefit to the ecology of an average yard, yet drastic economic expense in terms of home repairs or resale value.

elliot544511 months ago

I made this. Can't wait to try it!

carpenter bees bad, mason bees good. I'd imagine this kills both?
kentdvm (author)  Bryan Smith1 year ago
I don't have mason bees to my knowledge, but I believe they are smaller than the big carpenter bees. The hole may be too big to be attractive to the mason bees but I don't have any experience with their preferences. The only thing I've caught in these traps is the larger carpenter bees.
dbows2 years ago
These critters are easily killed by spraying spray lubricant (wd-40) generously into their hole while they are inside. Within seconds, 1-5 bees will climb out and drop to the ground. Insert the straw portion of the can as far into the hole as you can.
dubya3 years ago
I've been at war with these bees for years and never thought of a trap. Thanks.
In Oklahoma, they ruined our redwood deck over several years, and they are now working on a new pressure-treated deck. I found that I can hit them fairly often with a BB gun - one day about 5 years ago, I hit over 50 of them in one day. I also came up with a way to build a "shot shell" for use in a pellet gun that works better than a single BB Perhaps that oughta be another instructable. I'll have traps up by next week. Thanks again
Hey dubya, I would love a shotshell for my Crossman American Classic 1377 (.177 Cal.) pistol! How do I make it ? Need your expertise, ASAP ! Thanks.
shoboli2 years ago
had a guy making byrans bee butter i think thats it but epa shut him down.figures.but great trap. you can always go with a small hive of bees .have been with honey bees my whole life they are fun and they got a good treat at the end of the year.honey and bisquits cant be beat.
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