How to Get Rid of Borer Bees


Borer bees, also known as carpenter bees, are found throughout the U.S. There are several species of borer bees, all of which have similar characteristics and habits. Control methods are the same for any type of borer bees. You can identify a borer bee infestation by the half-inch or slightly larger round hole that will appear in exposed structural wood or wood siding. This is the entrance hole the bees chewed, and they will create a chamber, or gallery, inside the wood. You can often see yellowish staining from their feces on the wood surrounding the holes. Sometimes you can hear borer bees buzzing inside the wall, and you may notice sawdust droppings when the borer bees are actively chewing the wood.

Get Rid of Borer Bees

Step 1

Locate the borer bee holes during the daytime. Look for the staining or sawdust, checking in hidden areas such as under facia boards and in cracks around windows or corners. Wait until evening, when the bees are less active, to treat the holes. Male borer bees have no stingers, and females are not very aggressive, so getting stung is not usually a problem.

Step 2

Insert a wire into the entrance hole of a large, more developed gallery, and probe inside to kill larvae and pupae.

Step 3

Plug and fill the borer bee holes. Use a small bit of crumpled aluminum foil or a piece of steel wool to stuff into the hole, and then patch over it with a weatherproof wood patch putty. Paint over the patch when it is dry. Borer bees rarely try to burrow out by making a new tunnel. Their chewing process is a slow one, about one inch in six days, so plugging the hole effectively kills the bees and their offspring.

Step 4

Caulk all cracks. Female borer bees can crawl through very tiny cracks and create galleries in support timber inside walls.

Step 5

Keep your house paint in good shape. Borer bees will not chew through paint. Wood stain is not a deterrent.

Tips and Warnings

  • Woodpeckers will open the holes in search of the borer bee larvae and pupae, which are incubating in the gallery. Borer bee tunneling can extend long distances, and woodpeckers can do lots of damage in their search for food.

Things You'll Need

  • Ladder (optional)
  • Steel wool or aluminum foil
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Diatomaceous earth (optional)
  • Wasp insect spray (optional)
  • Sevin insecticide (optional)
  • Caulk (optional)


  • Ohio State University, Entomology Department
  • Get rid of carpenter bees
  • Carpenter bee control

Who Can Help

  • North Carolina State University, entomology extension
Keywords: get rid of borer bees, kill borer bees, eliminate borer bees

About this Author

Fern Fischer writes about quilting and sewing, and she professionally restores antique quilts to preserve these historical pieces of women's art. She also covers topics of organic gardening, health, rural lifestyle, home and family. For over 35 years, her work has been published in print and online.