To us as beekeepers, the most rewarding part of our jobs is seeing busy bees buzzing around our plants and hives. However, this may unfortunately not be the case for you, and bees are unwelcome guests in your home or backyard. How do you keep bees away?
You can keep bees away by avoiding flowers and plants that attract them, preventing them from nesting, using home remedies and bird feeders, avoiding bright colors, wearing hats, altering your landscaping, or looking for nests. Spraying your plants with a soap solution will also keep bees away.
To keep bees away, you need to understand why they make their way into your home or yard and what they like or dislike. Bees usually rely on their sense of smell, and as a beekeeper, I can tell you exactly how to keep them away without hurting them!
Understanding How Bees Get Into Your Home
Usually, when you see a single bee flying around in your house, your brain immediately thinks it flew through an open window or door. If you regularly see many bees in your home, they might come from more than one entrance.
Bees can come through attics and gutters, bathrooms or laundry room vents, chimneys, and everyday holes. If you assess where they come in, you are one step closer to keeping them away!
13 Ways To Keep Bees Away
Besides being advised to check all the holes you can patch, there are numerous ways you can effectively keep bees away from you and your home without hurting them in the slightest.
Below are thirteen ways to keep bees away that might work for you:
Avoid Planting Plants And Flowers That Attract Bees
If you’re a gardener who loves spending time in the garden but highly dislikes bees, you will be happy to hear that you won’t need to get rid of all your flowers entirely.
However, putting these plants close to areas bees may like to nest may only make it more enticing for a swarm. Bees are very attracted to flowers such as clovers, honeysuckles, and poppies. They also like the smell of herbs such as thyme and oregano.
Any brightly colored plant will attract bees, and if the plants that are attracting bees are potted, you can move them out of the way if you want to spend some time in the garden.
Prevent Bees From Nesting In Your Backyard Or Garden
Although the bees may not be in your home anymore, some of your favorite outdoor activities or spots may be creating the perfect location for bees to invade and build their nests. If you have an outdoor shed or grill area, bees may see this as the ideal opportunity to create a perfectly-sized hive.
This is why it is essential that you cover your grips and seal your shed. It would be best to keep a minimal amount of outdoor materials and items, as bees will stay away and won’t have any place to make their nests.
Don’t Mistake Wasps For Bees!
Although wasps are not bees, several people get confused and go into a panic. Wasps enjoy human food, whereas bees do not.
So, if you notice some black and yellow buzzing and flying around your trashcan or social gathering, it is most likely wasps and not bees.
You can easily avoid wasps by throwing trash away in sealed containers and sealing your food correctly.
Knowing the difference between bees and wasps could be difficult for non-beekeepers, but trust me: you would rather get stung by a bee than a wasp!
If you are interested on identifying wasps, you can read my article on “What’s the difference between bees, wasps, and hornets?” here.The article will open in a new tab so you can continue reading this one.
Making Use Of Natural Home Remedies
There are several natural bee repellents you can use to repel them without hurting them at all. The following natural home ingredients can make bees go away without the use of harsh chemicals or insecticides.
Lemongrass consists of safe organic compounds known as potent insecticides. For this reason, you may find it most useful to make use of a non-toxic spray that contains a concentrated form of lemongrass.
You can spray this solution on all your flowers repeatedly during late summer and early spring. However, never try to spray this solution very close to a beehive, as the bees will likely get agitated and defend their hive against the threat.
Also, do not use Lemongrass spray on any trees, gardens, or flowerbeds with flowers you want the bees to pollinate.
Rosemary is a very popular household weed, and it contains several natural compounds that can be deadly to insects.
However, Rosemary’s scent is also very effective in keeping bees away without causing them harm.
You can simply mix two parts water with three parts rosemary and spray the area where you would like to keep the bees from. It would be good to spray surfaces roughly twice a year.
You can apply a very small amount of Tea tree oil to the jars or frames of containers where the bees are entering. This will keep them away in a natural way.
Essential oils are 100% natural products that are free of any harmful chemicals that could harm people or the environment. You can apply the essential oil bee repellent straight onto the jars or frames where the bees are entering.
The essential oil will not harm them or their hives. These natural products offer many beekeepers, including myself, a safe way to stay away from harmful insects without hurting them or taking their lives.
You may want to try adding vinegar to the unwanted beehive. Loads of apple cider vinegar brands use an active ingredient known as malic acid to repel bees.
However, similar to essential oil, vinegar containing malic acid should only be applied to the frames and never directly to the beehive or your garden.
The scent of vinegar would be most effective when the bees are in the area looking to pollinate close flowers or plants.
However, it could be used anywhere you want to repel honey bees if you place it correctly.
Citronella Bee Repelling Candles
Many people use Citronella, and a popular alternative is the use of Citronella-flavored candles. If you notice a new beehive, you can place the candle holder several inches far from the beehive.
The smell will be strong enough to cause unpleasantness to the bees, and they will fly away. A simple citronella candle is not expensive, and they work for repelling wasps as well!
Another very popular method to keep bees away is through using cinnamon. The smell of cinnamon is a deterrent, just like citrus smells.
Therefore, you can place some cinnamon sticks in a container or a jar and place them close to the hive.
It is very effective, and you should try to lace your cinnamon stick jar as close to the entrance as you can, as this is where the bees enter their hive to collect their food. Y
You can also use cinnamon to repel them differently by mixing it with honey and placing it outside the hive to drive them away.
Use Bird Feeders To Keep Bees Away
Smaller-sized birds, such as purple martins, regard bees, termites, ants, and wasps as food. Purple martins are natural predators, and they are a significant deterrent to wasps and bees entering your home.
You can place several different bird feeders around your house, garden, and backyard. Good choices are window feeders and hummingbird feeders. You can even paint your bird feeders with bright colors that will attract birds and bees.
Avoid Any Flowery Scented Perfumes
Since nectar is naturally sweet, it comes as no surprise that bees will be attracted to floral and sugary perfumes.
This also includes any heavily scented sunscreen, cologne, and hairspray. However, it is always advised to wear sunscreen outdoors.
It would be best to wear unscented ones that bees won’t find attractive.
Perfumes and hairspray should be entirely avoided, as these can attract so many more insects than only bees!
Spray Or Wear Scents Bees Find Unpleasant
While scent is the easiest way to attract these unwanted bee guests, it is also the easiest way to repel them! You can simply incorporate scents that humans find pleasant, and bees find repulsive!
Some of the scents that bees find extremely offputting include peppermint, eucalyptus, and spearmint. You can add a few drops of essential oil containing one of all of these herbs and spray it on surfaces.
Surfaces such as towels, chairs, pool noodles, or any other surface where you plan on spending time with guests or family. Bees also find lavender oil, olive oil, vegetable oil, citronella oil, lime, and lemon extremely repulsive.
These oils are all topical defenses you can add to your skin to keep bees away.
Different from other flying insects, bees are not attracted to the scent of a human, and they are just very curious.
Once a bee gets a whiff of any of these fragrances above, it will be well on its way in the other direction.
Keep Any Food And Drinks Covered
All uncovered and sticky food and beverages can increase the chances of getting bee visitors. This is especially true for open soda cans, as soda cans are notorious for harboring stealthy bees in need of some sugar.
Remember, it would be best to pour all beverages into a cup with a lid and use sealable containers to hold food. Aluminum foil and plastic cling wrap may seem like secure options, but they are not bee-proof!
Avoid Wearing Brightly Colored Clothes
This is not what you would want to hear, especially during those hot summer times, but it is avised to avoid colorful swimsuits, towels, and clothing. The more colorful your look, the more likely bees are to mistake you for a flower, and they will buzz all around you.
Bees see a much more comprehensive range of colors than we humans, and what looks like a pale, washed-out yellow shirt to us may look like a bright and healthy sunflower to them!
Wear A Sun Hat
Bees have a very heightened sense of awareness when it comes to their hair and fur.
Dogs should avoid areas with bees entirely for this reason, but humans can blend in by wearing a hat to cover their hair!
Alter Your Landscaping
Changing the landscape around your house won’t always mean you have to remove flowers in your backyard or garden.
You can simply add some plants, such as lemongrass or mint, to your beautiful display of existing flowers, and they will work their jobs as powerful bee repellents!
Spray All Plants With A Mild Soapy Solution
Bees are very susceptible to many chemicals, and if you want to keep them away, it is best to avoid chemicals entirely. Instead, you can use very mild soapy solutions to repel them away from your home or garden.
It would be best if you never used anything with detergent as that will attract more bees to your home! You should, however, be cautious with what detergents you use to make sure it does not contain bleach.
Bleach is very dangerous to insects, bees included. It would be best to try using any type of organic liquid detergent and avoid any synthetic detergents, as they will attract more bees to your home.
Look For Nests, Everywhere!
If you have been noticing more and more bees in and around your home, you may have to consider that you may have a nest on your hands.
Regularly inspect areas all around the home for nests, as this is where bees may become territorial and aggressive.
The situation can worsen to the point where bees will attack you in your own home or garden, which can be frightening if you are allergic or fearful of bees.
Common places where you would locate hives would be under porches, along fences, or under desks.
If you notice a nest, or another area of concern, you should never attempt to treat it yourself. Call an exterminator to assess and safely remove any possible bee breeding areas.
You can also check out Rosenbloom Pest Control for help.
There you have it! Thirteen tried and tested, foolproof ways to keep the bees away! It would be best to keep in mind that bees are overly curious insects, and they will sit on you without hurting or stinging you.
Bees will only hurt you when they feel threatened, and you should never, ever kill bees to keep them away!