Bees are beneficial flying insects that help pollinate plants and produce honey. However, having a hive take residence in your yard or home can put you at risk of bee stings. For those allergic to these stings, the presence of bees in and around the home can be life-threatening. While larger hives and infestations often require professional bee control and management, some home remedies can help you eliminate or prevent bees from taking over your home and yard.
- Learn how to distinguish the different types of bees you may find around your home.
- Learn different home remedies that can help you eliminate bees or prevent them from moving in.
Types of bees
To better understand bees, how they live, and how effective treatment and preventative measures may work, you must be familiar with the different types of bees. Generally, there are two distinct bee classes: social and solitary.
Social bees live in a caste system run by the queen bee. She is surrounded by male bees for breeding and worker bees, which are female, that perform all the tasks necessary to keep the hive alive. This includes gathering food, pollinating plants, building nests, and maintaining the hive.
Solitary bees tend to live alone, however, it is not uncommon to find multiple female solitary bees creating nests together.
Whether the bees you find in your yard are solitary or social, only the female bees have stingers that they use to sting when threatened.
Bumblebees are large, round, and fuzzy social bees with black and yellow stripes. Their hives are often found in attics or under roof beams, but they can also create a hive in the ground. They feed on pollen and nectars, helping to pollinate plants in your yard or garden. While bumblebees rarely sting, female bees will sting when threatened and can repeatedly sting a person. In fact, if they feel the threat remains, they will actually chase a person down to continue stinging.
Ground bees are dark in color, with areas of a dull yellow or light brown. These bees make burrows in the soil, where they nest and store their food. While they are solitary bees, it is not uncommon to find multiple females burrowed together. These bees are considered non-aggressive and rarely attack.
Honeybees are small social bees with golden yellow and brown bands around their body. They play a major economic role in the pollination of plants and the production of honey. They live in hives that they build just about anywhere, including chimneys, attics, and trees. The female bees will sting when they are threatened but are not eager to sting. Unlike other bees that are capable of multiple stings, honeybees have barbs on their stingers designed to lock the singer into the skin. When a honeybee stings you, the stinger is locked in and ripped away from the bee’s body, resulting in death.
Carpenter bees can look similar to bumblebees, but they lack the fuzzy yellow and black striping on the abdomen. Certain species can also come in a blue variety. These bees are solitary, and they get their name from the fact that they drill through the wood to create a nest. Their nest includes a tunnel system with different rooms to lay eggs and store food. It is not uncommon to find multiple females nesting in the same tree or other wood location. This bee type can sting multiple times, but only stings when threatened. They can, however, destroy wood construction.
Home remedies to get rid of bees
While bees can be beneficial to your yard and garden, most people do not want to find a hive in their yard. When it comes to large hive management or removal, it is recommended to contact professionals as trying to deal with a large colony can prove to be dangerous. Here we look at some ways to eliminate bees around your home, as well as help prevent them from becoming a neighbor that you really don’t want.
1. Bee spray
Bee spray offered at various stores is a pesticide spray designed to kill and eliminate bees. They work by causing paralysis and eventual death. However, these sprays have strong chemicals that can cause harm to pets and humans and, in many cases, do not work effectively against a large swarm of bees and actually increase your risk of being stung.
2. Soapy water
Soap can suffocate bees, so using a mixture of soapy water sprayed throughout your yard can work as a deterrent. In addition, setting out a bucket filled with soapy water can work as a bee trap. Simply line the edges of the bucket opening with something sweet that will attract the bees and when they enter the bucket, the soapy water will suffocate them.
3. Softdrinks or soda
Another simple bee trap you can make at home is a simple can of soda. Bees are attracted to a sweet smell, so they are likely to enter the can looking for a sweet treat. Unfortunately, they are also likely to get stuck in the can and drown. To be even more effective, consider adding a few drops of dish soap to the soda can.
4. Vinegar solutions and sprays
Vinegar is a natural pantry staple that bees do not like. Spraying a vinegar and water mixture around your yard may make it smell like a pickle, but it will likely keep bees away. Other options involving vinegar include placing bowls containing water and a few drops of vinegar near the hive. The bees may investigate and then drown in the water. Spraying a bee directly with a vinegar solution may cause respiratory distress and suffocation but spraying an entire hive is likely to get you stung.
5. Cinnamon and mothballs
Using mothballs or cinnamon around your home or property can work as both an elimination method and a preventative measure. Bees react negatively to the compounds found in cinnamon and mothballs and, if the exposure is strong enough, it can kill the bees. Using both these ingredients around your yard or in your home can work to keep bees away. Consider using cheesecloth or old socks with a few mothballs and cinnamon in them and hang them near a hive or around the yard to keep bees away. Use with caution around pets or children as they can be toxic if eaten or inhaled. You can also add cinnamon to water in a spray bottle and spray around the property and home.
6. Citronella candles
You probably already know that citronella candles are a great deterrent for mosquitos and flies, they also work well at repelling bees and wasps. If you have an active hive in your yard, placing and lighting a citronella candle near the hive may be enough to encourage them to find a new location. Do this in the evening when bees are in the hive and less active.
Marigolds are beautiful flowers with a strong scent that bees do not like. If you are looking to repel bees from your yard, a marigold garden is a beautiful way to create a natural repellent.
Bees are highly sensitive to smell, and peppermint is another smell they just don’t like. Mixing peppermint with water in a spray bottle allows you to spray around your property and home, deterring bees from entering the area. Peppermint is also a great repellent for other insects, spiders, and even rodents.
9. Garlic powder
While you may love the smell of garlic bread or garlic in general, bees hate it! In fact, coming into direct contact with garlic powder can actually kill them. You can sprinkle garlic power directly near or around a hive or create a spray mixture of water and garlic to spray on the hive and around your property.
10. Bee-repelling plants
While bees are known for plant pollination, there are certain plants that the bees find offensive and will stay clear of. These can include mint, cloves, eucalyptus, citronella, pennyroyal, cucumbers, red geraniums, and marigolds. In addition, pitcher plants are carnivorous plants that will actually trap and eat the bees they catch. For an increased deterrent, you may want to replace flowering plants that attract bees with leafy foliage plants instead.
11. Cucumber peels
As we mentioned above, cucumber plants are a great repellent against bees. If you don’t have room to plant cucumbers, consider sprinkling cucumber peels around the perimeter of your home to help keep bees away.
12. Electric bug zapper
Electric bug zappers are a great way to address bees that enter your personal space both inside and outside. These work by emitting ultraviolet rays designed to attract bees and other insects. When the bees fly too close, they receive an electric zap that kills them instantly.
13. Ultrasonic pest repellent
Ultrasonic pest repellents plug into an outlet and emit bionic waves, electromagnetic waves, and ultrasonic waves that affect a bee’s sensitivity to sound vibrations. While this will not harm bees, it will keep them from entering the area, making it a great pest deterrent.
14. Bee traps
Bee traps are sold at your local hardware store and consist of a small hanging bag or container that includes a pheromone that attracts the bees into the container. While entering the container is easy, these specially made containers make exiting difficult.
15. Water your lawn
If you have noticed an increase in ground bees, you may want to consider watering your lawn more frequently. These solitary bees burrow into the soil of your yard and they prefer dry soil as it is easier to burrow. Keeping your soil moist will help act as a natural deterrent.
Keeping your home and yard bee-free
Using one or more of these tactics can help to repel or eliminate small solitary bee infestations. However, dealing with larger hives can be a dangerous task, and, while some of these repellent ideas may encourage them to move on to a different location, trying to remove an active hive can put you and your family at risk of multiple stings. If you have a large beehive that is determined to call your place home, it may be time to call in the professionals.
Arrest A Pest provides bee and other pest removals
The team at Arrest A Pest understands bees and their behavior. We are experts at bee elimination and removal and can quickly relocate a thriving hive to a new location, allowing the bees to continue pollinating without encroaching on your outdoor activities.
To learn more about our bee control services, request an appointment today.