While your first instinct might be to kill bees with harsh chemicals, you can keep them away from your home in more natural ways. These tactics are better for bees themselves as well as for the environment, and often your wallet as well.
After all, we may not want them as house guests, but we still need honey bees to pollinate local flowers and continue the growth cycle of many plants. Killing them can hurt the flowers and other plant life in your area.
You can create a home that bees, hornets, and wasps alike will hate by following these simple steps to repel them from your area in a safe manner.
1. Mix Soap and Water
Homemade bee repellent doesn’t have the same harshness as commercial, chemical repellents since almost all household soaps are intended for safe household use. Unlike powerful insecticides, soaps don’t have chemical compounds that can break through the living tissue of bees or the compacted material found in beehives.
Instead, a soapy solution will work by attacking bees in two different ways using the same basic principle. When a soapy solution adheres to a bee, it alters the strength of the bee’s body surface.
The insect’s natural waxy coating becomes heavier, reducing the bee’s ability to navigate through the air. The added surface area also absorbs more moisture, and this increasing weight constricts the bee’s ability to breathe.
When sprayed upon beehives, the soapy mix forms a sticky coating that cuts off the air supply to the entire hive. This suffocates multiple bees at once, eventually killing them.
Additionally, unlike most chemical bee repellents and sprays, soapy solutions don’t leave a heavy reside. Whatever minimal coating is left behind can be easily wiped off or comes off naturally over time with a little water.
To use soap and water, start by gathering your soap of choice, water, and a spray bottle. In an empty spray bottle, combine a few teaspoons of liquid dishwashing soap with the water.
This will create a sticky, soapy mixture that you can safely spray on anything. Add more or less soap depending on the brand that you use, how sticky you’d like your homemade bee repellent to be, and what you’re spraying it on.
For indoor applications, you should use more water and less soap so that you don’t ruin furniture or create a particularly pungent environment. While this may not be the worst smell in the world, it is not desirable when it can be so easily avoided.
For plants and outdoor areas, use more soap and less water so that the spray won’t easily wash away due to natural moisture in the air or when it rains.
2. Add Peppermint Oil
Many bugs, including hornets, hate the smell of peppermint oil, while to most humans, it is a great smell reminiscent of the holidays. While peppermint plants are just as susceptible to bee adoration as any plant, the distilled oils are another story.
Get some peppermint essential oil from your local health food store, and after the soapy water is mixed together, you could put a few drops of the peppermint essential oil into the sticky soap solution.
Make sure you add enough peppermint oil to your homemade bee repellent so that you can smell it when you spray. This is optional but is a great step to consider as it offers added protection against bees and will make the solution smell better than it would without the peppermint oil added.
TIP: Peppermint oil can also be dabbed on rags or tissues and stashed around the house as a natural indoor repellent.
While peppermint oil is safe to apply to most furniture, floors, and skirting, by using something removable like tissues, you can make a change if you ever get sick of the whole house smelling like candy canes.
3. Add Some Spice
To really ensure that the bees hate your mixture, you could also add 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon to your sticky mint spray and 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Again, this is optional but will improve the potency of your solution and how well it will work to get rid of the bees you are hoping to use it to get rid of.
Hornets, bees, and wasps hate the scent of cinnamon and spice, so with the help of these two ingredients, your mixture should be strong enough to make pesky bees buzz away.
These are also both ingredients most people will have lying around their homes anyway and are inexpensive, making them an easy way to help with your mission of getting rid of bees.
4. Spray Away
You have now added all the ingredients you will need to your spray bottle. Give it a good mix and it is now time to get to work. If you’re dealing with pests buzzing around your home, this new homemade bee repellent should do the trick. While you can spray directly at the insects, your best bet is to prevent them from entering your home in the first place.
For indoor issues, spray your mixture on windowsills and door frames to prevent pests from entering your home again. If your problem is mainly outside the home, try to find surfaces that won’t be damaged or made unusable by the mixture. For example, you could spray the mix on the underside of lawn chairs, underneath tables, and on sidewalks.
The water from your homemade bee repellent will evaporate, but the peppermint, cinnamon, and cayenne smells will be left behind to deter insects from spending time in the areas, and the sticky soap left behind will stick to them and fight them off meaning this mixture will work for long after you finish seeing or even smelling it.
Bees do their part for nature and the garden, but they can cause trouble at home. They present a threat to small children and those allergic to their sting, so unfortunately, not all families can keep them around.
However, learning how to get rid of bees is not as difficult as you might think. There are several ways to keep bees at bay so you can enjoy your backyard and your home environment without getting stung.
Here are a few simple and safe ways to keep the bees away from your home, patio and other outdoor areas, and hopefully from stinging you and your family.
Call a Beekeeper
Bees are very important to our ecosystem and are in trouble worldwide, so before resorting to options that harm or kill them, try to see if there is a local beekeeper in your area.
Beekeepers make a living making honey and giving bees a safe home, so they would likely love to have the nest and will know a safe way to remove it without harming the bees or your home and garden. This is a win-win solution as it helps the bees, the beekeeper, and you out.
In the event that there is no beekeeper in your area to contact and the bees are presenting a safety hazard to you and your family, other natural methods can help.
Spray Vinegar Mix
You can also get rid of bees using vinegar. To do so, mix a half-part vinegar and a half-part water in a spray bottle. Spray the bee nest at night when the bees are not buzzing around or are mostly dormant.
When you do this, wear protective clothing such as gloves, long pants, and a long-sleeve shirt, and maybe even netting tossed over a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and neck from being stung.
Also, make sure to spray the solution on the areas where the bees are congregating, such as flower beds, plants, and bushes, and not just the nest itself. The next day, check for any activity in or near the nest. If you still see activity, spray again. Sweep up any dead bees from the area and discard them accordingly once the vinegar does its job.
More Organic Ways
If you want to remove the bees organically, try mixing a solution of half water and half mild soap detergent into a spray bottle. Spray the nest and other affected areas with the solution in the evening.
You can also get rid of bees using pop. To do so, cut an old soda bottle in half and fill it with a sweet soda like Mountain Dew and place it near the nest or on the ground in your garden, patio, or porch. The bees will become attracted to the scent, make their way toward it, and eventually drown in the solution. At this point, they will be unable to move and eventually die.
Place or hang a bug zapper strip near the hive. The bees will get caught in the sticky material and eventually perish. These can be purchased at any grocery, home improvement, or drug store. While effective, these often aren't the nicest to look at so many will go with a different method of bee removal first.
Plants that Deter Bees
If your area is prone to swarms of bees, hornets, and wasps, in addition to mixing up a repellent, you may want to take stock of your garden and its plants.
You may be growing sweet-scented flowers and plants that are attracting the bees, and if that’s the case any kind of repelling attempt is going to be an uphill battle. If this is the case, you may want to relocate the plants instead so that they are further away from your home and so that the bees will not bother you.
There aren't many flowers and plants that deter bees for the simple reason that plants need bees to pollinate them. However, wormwood (Artemis), eucalyptus, citronella, and peppermint are reputed to be natural bee and wasp repellents. You could plant these around your garden in order to reduce the bee population in your garden naturally.
Deet-Free Insect Repellent
Many synthetic insect repellents contain DEET (Chemical name: N, N Diethyl-Meta-Toluamide) which is a corrosive chemical that can dissolve plastic, nylon, and even paint.
The good thing is that there are now more natural and healthy insect repellants to repel insects from you while you are in the great outdoors or even while you are inside your home. We found this Repel and this Herbal Armor options on Amazon.
Spray your surfaces, not the pests themselves. While you can spray directly at the insects, any direct interaction or agitation like that can cause you to get stung.
Remember that your mixture repels and doesn’t kill, so if you walk up to a bee and spray something it hates directly at it, the bee or wasp may get angry and come after you before it decides to vacate the garden.
Wasps in particular are known for their aggression. Never spray your homemade repellent directly at any wasps you see. If your yard is plagued by wasps that are especially numerous or aggressive, contact your local pest control office for professional intervention.
By following one of the above-mentioned methods, you will be able to get rid of your bee problem. Make sure to be careful when you do so. For example, you may want to wear a long-sleeved shirt in case any angry bees fly out of the nest you are trying to get rid of.
If you have concerns about your ability to relocate or get rid of the bees, call in the professionals. You can call a pesticide company that will come out and remove the hive from the area and spray the bees; many companies now use organic materials versus pesticides.
Make sure to ask what methods they use to remove the bees before you decide which bee removal specialist to use for the task.
Homemade Bee Repellent FAQ
What keeps bees away naturally?
Certain plants naturally repel bees and make areas of your property feel very inhospitable to them. Bees do not like mint or citronella plants because of the natural scents these plants release.
What is a natural repellent for bees and wasps?
There are several smells that will repel bees when they are concentrated in oil form. Clover, peppermint, geranium, and lemongrass are all effective at repelling bees and wasps.
What smell do bees hate the most?
Bees seem to dislike the smell of peppermint above all others, though any plant in the mint family does work as a natural repellent for bees.
What scent calms bees down?
Smoke is used to calm bees down. Lavender smoke is said to be highly effective, as long as you don't use too much.
What smell makes bees aggressive?
The natural scent of bananas makes bees more aggressive, though they may also react to citrus smells and other scents that are repulsive to them with anger.