How to Kill Carpenter Bees & Wasps


A house is a veritable playground for carpenter bees and wasps, as carpenter bees bore their homes into soft wood siding and trim, while wasps build their nests under protective roof eaves.

Killing both types of insect yourself is possible, though killing carpenter bees is a bit trickier, as the tunnels they bore are only about ½-inch wide, with the ends bent at a 90 degree angle to protect larva.

Eliminating both carpenter bees and wasps effectively is a two-stage process. The first stage is the destruction of their habitats, while the second stage involves sealing off potential entry points.

Things You'll Need

  • Long stick or pole
  • Long rubber gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Respirator
  • Hat
  • Mesh netting
  • WD-40
  • Caulk
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Exterior primer
  • Exterior paint
  • Remove all wasp nests under the eaves of your house at night, when wasps are least active, by knocking them to the ground with a long stick or pole.

  • Destroy nests by throwing them into an outdoor campfire or by saturating them with WD-40. Do not throw a wasp nest into a fire after having sprayed it with WD-40. Choose one method or the other.

    Wear protective clothing when knocking wasp nests to the ground, such as long sleeve shirts and long rubber gloves to overlap with the sleeves, long pants and a hat with mesh netting around your face.

  • Locate carpenter bee entry points from a safe distance during the day, and then spray WD-40 into these entry points by inserting the "straw" protruding from the top of the can into the holes.

    This should be done at night, when the carpenter bees are inactive and the female carpenter bees are present in their holes. Killing the female greatly reduces future infestations.

  • Wait a few days to see if the spray treatment has been successful, and then fill the hole by applying a small bead of caulk and then smearing it flush to the wood siding or trim with a plastic putty knife. You may have to repeat this step numerous times over several years before you find all the active areas.

  • Paint all exterior surfaces of your home that have bare wood poking through with four coats of paint: one coat of high quality exterior primer, two coats of paint and a coat of finish. This will help prevent the carpenter bees from finding bare wood spots into which they can drill tunnels and lay eggs.

    Unfortunately, if a large swath on the side of your house has peeling, flaking paint, the whole side will have to be completely repainted. Bare wood spots just a ¼-inch in diameter are enough to let carpenter bees enter.

Tips & Warnings

  • When spraying WD-40, use rubber or latex gloves, eye protection and a respirator.

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  • Photo Credit wasp image by Marian Maier from
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