Simplified Carpenter Bee Trap

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Simplified Carpenter Bee Trap

    A previous thread about carpenter bees and traps for them.

    In that discussion I showed a trap I made of a 4x4 block.

    Here I simplified it even further to use a single piece of 2x4 5-3/8" long. I made mine of treated pine,pretty much any wood will do. I know that carpenter bees don't mind treated pine because they have bored into the TP rails of my fence.

    Here's a picture showing one on my fence that has caught looks like several bees this season and I didn't empty it out. The web references say the smell of the other bees is an additional attractant on addition to the inviting holes. These bees like to re-inhabit used holes so apparently the smell of previous occupant is helpful.
    Click image for larger version  Name:	P9151104.jpg Views:	0 Size:	81.5 KB ID:	852344
    My 4x4 design had entrances on four sides but apparently 2 sides is plenty so scrap 2x4 material is easier to come by,

    So here's the details
    1. Cut a 2x4 to 5-3/8" long.
    2. Drill a 3/4" hole from the center bottom. 3-1/2" deep. A spade bit works OK, Forstners are good but I had to use a shank extender.
    3. Mark the center of the skinny sides 1-1/2 inches up from the bottom. Drill a hole centered at the 1.5" mark angled upwards 45 degrees and 3" deep to intersect the center 3/4" hole. The hole can be 3/8" to 1/2" I find 7/16" or 3/8" works well.
    4. Repeat from the other side..
    5. Make sure the holes all intersect in the middle of the block and clean out as many chips as you can so the passage ways are all clear. Hold each hole up to a strong light and look in the other two holes to make sure you can see the junction of the three holes clearly.
    6. I drilled some 1/4" through holes about 1/2" down from the top on the wide and narrow faces for hanging as you wish...
    7. I cut a couple of bevels on the top for appearance. I think about 1"".
    8. Take a small clear see-thru plastic pill bottle and drill a 1/2" hole in the center of the plastic cap. Mount the cap centered over the 3/4" hole in the bottom. I used two small brad nails but I imagine small screws or some hot melt adhesive or other adhesive will work well. I use a bead of hot melt glue to prevent hard rain from leaking into the bottle. I found that glass jars with screw lids would work but the glass caused condensation to form on the glass every morning and it accumulated water over time in the jar, a bit of a mess.
    9. The plastic pill bottle can be attached and removed for cleaning. I used non-safety caps but the safety caps probably work OK, too.
    10. Add a hanging strap of your choice in either direction. some string, wire, zip ties, or old string trimmer cord work equally well.
    11. I just hang these on a three inch nail head hammered into the fence rails a little bit.
    12. I have them about every 10-12 feet apart. I make 3 or four at a time. No finish is required; the bees like unfinished wood, apparently
    The hardest part is drilling a medium sized hole at 45 degrees. I made a jig to hold the wood because at that angle it wants to walk away. Also you might try starting the bit perpendicular to the face and drill about 1/8" deep and then turn the work 45 degrees.
    I like using a drill press so the holes don't wander.
    Make some for your neighbors, if you have bees they probably do, too.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	P9151105.jpg Views:	0 Size:	76.0 KB ID:	852346 Click image for larger version  Name:	P9151106.jpg Views:	0 Size:	90.2 KB ID:	852347 Click image for larger version  Name:	P9151107.jpg Views:	0 Size:	72.0 KB ID:	852343 Click image for larger version  Name:	P9151108.jpg Views:	0 Size:	83.3 KB ID:	852341 Click image for larger version  Name:	P9151109.jpg Views:	0 Size:	99.8 KB ID:	852345 Click image for larger version  Name:	P9151110.jpg Views:	0 Size:	99.1 KB ID:	852342

    Basically they just take a few minutes. The material cost if you scrounge your scrap bin and medicine cabinet is nil. The dimensions are not critical. And I finished by with a few bevels of the long edges to look nicer. The bees are not fussy.
    Last edited by LCHIEN; 09-17-2022, 12:13 AM.
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
    BT3 FAQ -

  • #2
    I like the simplicity of it. Thanks!
    Hank Lee

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!


    • #3
      What a great use of my bushel basket full pill bottles!


      • #4
        Thanks Loring. I am amazed they don't mind munching into treated wood. They seem to love my PT deck just fine. I made one a couple years ago from a scrap 4x4 block but got no visitors. I set it up towards the end of summer, though, but it seems the traps are busier in the spring.

        Is there any reason why the vertical shaft is wider than the angled one? I guess it makes that turn easier for the bee at the apex.


        • #5
          I like your design, think I will copy it. I too dislike the large mason jars and clear plastic soft drink bottles for catchment’s. They look nasty and gross. The pill bottle design is great because can just throw it away and pop on a fresh on since I seem to have an endless supply.

          Carpenter Bees lifecycle seems to vary year to year. This year I probably didn’t see more than a dozen the whole spring/early summer. Last year there were 50+ and the year before there were hundreds. A nearby state park on a Corps of Engineers waterway has such a problem with Carpenter Bees that the have actually weakened the rafters to a point that the roof is caving in, and their old fashion outhouse restrooms don’t stand a chance as they are in the woods where Carpenter Bees really thrive,