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.
Step 1: 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.