Carpenter Bees and Wooden Swingsets What You Should Know

March 13, 2023 12:00 pm

Carpenter Bees can be a nuisance, even for those who have top-quality Cedar or Redwood swing sets or wooden playground accessories in New Jersey. If you are wondering, “Are bees attracted to cedar wood?”, you are correct. These bees are common across the Northeast and love these types of woods as much as you do!

Carpenter Bee Tunnels

While they do not pose a significant threat, treating Carpenter Bee tunnels is necessary. The female Carpenter Bee will drill down about 1” into the wood of wooden playsets before turning to run her tunnel either left or right, following the grain of the wood. Her tunnel will go about 6” or so with sections for her eggs, separating them with nectar and pollen for her young to feed on.

While Carpenter Bee swing set damage may not be problematic, leaving them untreated may weaken the structure over time. It is important to take action as soon as you notice the first signs of Carpenter Bee playset activity.

Carpenter Bee Nesting Prevention

If you notice the signs of Carpenter Bees, you can address the issue yourself or call an exterminator. Prevention is not foolproof, but these different methods are effective at deterring bees from nesting in your swing set. You don’t want to end up with a bumble bee swing set!

One effective way to prevent Carpenter Bees in your swing set is to paint or stain the wood.Oil-based playset stain is a great option, adding color and pizzaz for your children.

You can also try applying a natural Carpenter Bee repellent, such as citrus oil or tea tree oil, to the wood. These oils have a strong scent that Carpenter Bees find unpleasant.

Finally, you can try installing traps around your property.These traps lure the bees in and trap them, so they can’t cause damage to your wooden playground or property.

What if Carpenter Bees are in My Swing Set?

If there are already Carpenter Bees in the wooden playground, you can follow this tactic to prevent further activity. Get a stiff wire that you can insert into the hole/tunnel, making sure it is long enough to reach all the chambers of pollen, nectar, and eggs. (Don’t worry, the wire is just to give the pesticide a better chance of reaching the back of the tunnel when you spray.) Once you’ve cleared the hole/tunnels with the wire, you’ll need to spray the Carpenter Bee repellent or pesticide (any bee or hornet spray) into the hole and at/around the entrance. The following day, plug the hole with a durable wood putty so no new Carpenter Bees will enter.

Call An Exterminator

If you continue to notice Carpenter Bee activity, your best solution is to call an exterminator to treat Carpenter Bees in your swing set. An exterminator will most likely come to your home and treat Carpenter Bee holes and entrances with a pesticide to kill the bees. Some companies also offer to fill the holes/tunnels; if your exterminator does not offer this service, make sure to do it yourself, even if just with wood putty. As mentioned above, bees will use unfilled holes/tunnels upon their return, possibly even branching off the original tunnel to dig more.

*If you don’t notice holes in your swing set until late summer (end of August or in September), you can probably just fill the hole in with putty, as there likely aren’t any bees still active in the tunnels around that time of the year.


1. How long do wooden swing sets last?

Our wooden playset accessories will last for years of use with just basic maintenance. Preventing bee problems by using Carpenter Bee repellent and other preventative measures is the best option for a long life cycle.

2. Does cedar attract bees?

People often ask, “Are bees attracted to cedar wood?” and the answer is always yes. Applying oil-based playset stain effectively limits the bees from making tunnels in your wooden playsets.

3. How to keep bees away from swing set?

Keeping Carpenter Bees from a playset requires preventive measures. Staining the wood playground and using wood putty to seal up existing tunnels are effective ways to limit the damage.

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