Carpenter bees are relatively peaceful insects that aid in vegetation pollination and rarely attack humans. This is mostly because carpenter bees cannot bite, and only the female bee has a stinger. However, these bees are known for making nests inside wooden structures, like your home, which can impact its structural integrity and lead to water damage, rot, and potential collapse.
Carpenter bee traps are designed to keep your home protected from these burrowing pests. By hanging one or more traps around your home, any invading carpenter bees will be drawn to the traps. Carpenter bee traps come in two forms: bee collectors use confusing tunnels and simple physics to trap bees, while sticky traps use adhesive to trap the insects. Keep reading for tips on how to select the best carpenter bee trap for your yard.
- BEST OVERALL: CBS Our Best Carpenter Bee Trap
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Mac’s Set of 2 One of The Best Carpenter Bee Traps
- BEST STICKY TRAPS: RESCUE! TrapStik for Wasps, Carpenter Bees
- BEST LARGE COLLECTOR: Mac’s Natural Wood with Bark Carpenter Bee Trap
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Carpenter Bee Trap
There is a lot to think about when shopping for a carpenter bee trap. Before deciding on the best trap to keep your home safe from burrowing bees, it’s important to determine the type of trap to use. There also are other critical factors to consider, like weather resistance, ease of use, and versatility.
Bee Collector vs. Sticky Traps
Carpenter bee traps fall into two categories, which are based on the way they trap the carpenter bees and their appearance.
- Bee collector traps are designed to look like a birdhouse made from a simple block of wood. The wood has a single hole that is large enough to be seen by invading carpenter bees looking to build a nest. After the bees enter, they are funneled through a series of winding tunnels that lead to a plastic or glass jar at the bottom of the trap. The bees become stuck in the jar and die, then release pheromones that draw more carpenter bees into the trap. One of the benefits of these traps is that they are reusable, so you won’t need to invest in new traps every year.
- Sticky traps use attractants, baits, lures, fluorescent colors, and multidimensional patterns to draw carpenter bees, wasps, yellow jackets, and other flying insects to the adhesive strip where they become stuck and die. Similar to how a bee collector works, the dead carpenter bees release a pheromone that draws in more carpenter bees, ensuring that your home is protected. However, sticky traps are not reusable, so they need to be replaced when they are full or when the adhesive becomes ineffective from accumulated dirt, dust, or debris.
Any pest control solution that is used outside the home needs to have some type of weather resistance to prevent it from becoming completely ineffective after the first rain. Bee collector traps are well suited to outdoor environments. They’re typically made of wood and glass, resembling a bird feeder. The roof on the trap prevents water from running into the hole, but even if water does get into the hole, it doesn’t damage the trap. It just needs to be emptied out after it stops raining, hailing, or snowing.
Sticky traps may be more susceptible to rain, sleet, and snow because they use a chemical adhesive to trap the bees. If the adhesive becomes damaged due to freezing or if rain washes it away, it can become less effective. Due to potential weather damage, sticky traps tend to last for about 2 to 3 months.
Ease of Use
Protecting your home from invading carpenter bees shouldn’t be difficult, and it’s important that traps can be quickly and effectively set before damage can be done. The traps help maintain the structural integrity of the building and prevent rain, sleet, and snow from entering through carpenter bee holes and tunnels where it can cause water damage and rot.
Carpenter bee traps are relatively easy to use. Simply hang the trap in a location frequented by carpenter bees, such as the top corner of the house or inside a wooden shed. Bee collectors are generally made with a natural wood scent to draw carpenter bees in. When the bees die, the jar can be removed, emptied, and replaced without having to move the trap.
Sticky traps can be hung in the same place as bee collectors, but they should be placed out of reach since sticky traps can be a hazard to kids and pets. While they usually need to be replaced every 2 to 3 months, if the sticky trap is very successful, then the adhesive will fill up quickly and will need to be replaced sooner.
Both bee collectors and sticky traps can be baited with a bee and hornet attractant that is designed to be more tempting to carpenter bees. Common attractants use the active ingredient heptyl butyrate to lure bees to the trap with a fruity odor, which can also attract wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets, taking care of more than one pest with a single trap.
Bee collector traps are a great option for drawing in carpenter bees, and their natural design doesn’t impact local insects or wildlife, making them a good option for homes with kids and pets. However, they aren’t useful for treating a wide variety of pests, so you may find the home free of carpenter bees, but still plagued by hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets.
Using a sticky trap is a more versatile option for handling a wide variety of pests. The adhesive is completely indiscriminate about what it catches, and the bright colors and multidimensional shapes draw in a broad range of flying insects. The drawback with these traps is that they can catch unintended wildlife, like butterflies, honeybees, and even small birds, so it’s important to look for a product with a protective design and place it away from flowering plants.
Our Top Picks
This list of top picks features a selection of some of the best carpenter bee traps for protecting your home from burrowing pests. The products were chosen based on the important considerations detailed above with an emphasis on product efficacy, quality, and value.
This carpenter bee trap is an excellent option for homes with kids and pets because it’s made with natural wood that’s completely free of toxic chemicals. The trap appears to be a simple wooden box with a hole on each side, but once a carpenter bee has dropped into the glass jar at the bottom of the trap it cannot escape. The box is suitable for rain, sleet, and snow, and it also has a roof that extends out over the sides to provide some protection from running water.
The bee collector carpenter bee trap is made with wood that has been pre-baited so that the nearby carpenter bees are drawn into the trap without having to use an additional attractant. The size and shape of the trap also are a lure, mimicking the appearance of a natural carpenter bee nest. The jar at the base of the trap unscrews so that it can be cleaned and emptied easily.
- Durable construction
- Safe for honey bees
- No toxic chemicals used
- Made in the USA
- Bees may be able to escape
The affordable two-pack of Mac’s carpenter bee traps features a compact design that can be hung up around the house without taking up a lot of space. The small size of the wooden block makes them a good choice for the front porch, and the small collection cup at the base encourages users to check the trap regularly.
The traps are made with pre-baited natural wood that mimics the appearance of carpenter bee nests, so users can be confident that nearby carpenter bees will be lured into the closest trap. These bee collector traps are a great option for homes with kids and pets because they don’t use chemicals, and the included chain allows the trap to be hung high up on the house away from curious kids and critters.
- Compact size
- Mimics a real carpenter bee nest
- Holds multiple bees
- May require setup for maximum effectiveness
This two-pack of carpenter bee sticky traps feature a bird guard that surrounds the entire trap to help prevent birds and rodents from becoming stuck to the powerful adhesive. The sticky trap at the center has a bright design intended to attract hornets, wasps, yellow jackets, and carpenter bees. Once stuck to the adhesive they cannot fly away, and the pheromones produced by the dead insects attract more carpenter bees to the trap.
The sticky trap comes with a hanging rope that can be used to hang the trap either horizontally or vertically depending on the location and personal preference. The adhesive on the trap is designed for use outside, so it can withstand rain, sleet, and snow, though it isn’t advised to use this trap during the winter. However, the adhesive does become less effective over time, so the trap may need to be replaced every 2 to 3 months.
- Safe for birds and rodents
- Also traps wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets
- Weather resistant
- Will need replacing more often
- Adhesive becomes less effective over time
This pair of bee collector traps are great for homes that have large infestations, because they don’t fill up quickly. When the jars become full, they can be emptied, cleaned, and set back up instead of replacing the entire trap. The wood log trap doesn’t just look natural; it is essentially a piece of a Douglas Fir with several entrance holes, which even includes pieces of the bark.
This natural design is pre-baited to lure more bees to the trap instead of allowing them to take up residence in the user’s home. Each trap also features a large glass mason jar attached by the lid to the base of the trap. The size of the jar makes it possible to trap a large number of carpenter bees before it needs to be cleaned or emptied.
- Natural design is more effective
- Great against infestations
- Jars are spacious and fill slowly
- Pre-baited with natural scent
- Less effective until the area is prepared
For a natural wood trap that can stand the test of time while dealing with a carpenter bee problem, consider the CBS Our Best Carpenter Bee Trap, which is chemical-free and made in the USA. If carpenter bees are not the only flying bug problem in the area, then the RESCUE! TrapStik may be the answer, as it also traps wasps and mud daubers and comes in a pack of two.
How We Chose the Best Carpenter Bee Traps
The best carpenter bee traps are able to mimic an existing carpenter bee nest to attract the pests and prevent infestations from getting out of control. Our research found that natural wood options are highly effective while also being free of toxic chemicals, and they make an attractive ornament for an outdoor area. Our list of recommendations includes several wood options that stood out from their competition in terms of price, effectiveness, and longevity.
Our top picks also make sure to prevent trapping less harmful creatures such as birds and other insects such as honey bees. Since carpenter bees can do serious damage to a homeowner’s wooden structures, the recommended products in this list are specifically designed to only attract carpenter bees. However, we also included an option that is capable of trapping other flying nuisances (like wasps) in addition to carpenter bees.
Pest problems don’t often go away on their own. If you want to be able to enjoy your home without the nagging realization that carpenter bees may also be making it into the home, then it’s important to know how these traps work so you can use them effectively. Read on to find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
Q. When should I put out carpenter bee traps?
Carpenter bee traps should be put out at the beginning of spring and should be left out all summer because the pheromones released by dead carpenter bees actually draw live carpenter bees into the trap.
Q. Where is the best place to put a carpenter bee trap?
The best place to put a carpenter bee trap is high on any corner of the home so that the bees have full access to the trap and so it’s easy for them to see the entrance.
Q. What do you put in carpenter bee traps to attract them?
Baits and attractants are a good option for drawing carpenter bees into the traps. Heptyl butyrate is the chemical primarily responsible for attracting carpenter bees, wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets, which is why the RESCUE! TrapStik is one of the best attractants available.
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Timothy Dale is a freelance writer, specializing in the home repair and construction niche. He spent his post-secondary years working in the plumbing trade, while completing degrees in English Literature and Psychology, before taking on a Project Management position that ended up lasting 10 years. Mr. Dale has worked in residential plumbing and carpentry over his time as a Project Manager and also spent a year of his career in the commercial and industrial sector.