Pool Problem: Keeping Bees Away From Your Pool

A close-up of a bee in flight against a white background.

A common pool problem for many homeowners is keeping bees away. Understand what drives them to the water can help you in deterring them from your backyard oasis. Taking some of these preventative measures will help as well.

Why Are Bees Attracted to the Pool?

Bees, like all creatures, need water. This is especially true when the weather is warmer since they need lots of it to cool their hives. Bees keep their hives cool in much the way an evaporative cooler (swamp cooler) keeps your home cool— by evaporating water in the environment. So naturally, if your pool is a convenient source of water, bees will be attracted to it.

Bees are particularly attracted to your backyard oasis because they like water sources that emit a strong odor. The chlorinated water you swim in fits that bill. So one way to stop bees is to cut back a bit on the amount of chlorine you use in your pool. Or better yet, provide a stronger smelling alternative water source away from the pool.

How to Keep Your Area Bee-Free!

Some beekeepers advocate setting out a bowl full of water with "Honey-b-healthy" in the water. Add a rock or large sponge so the bees don't drown and can still access the water. Start by setting the bowl near the pool where the bees are currently gathering, then as bees begin using it, gradually move it away from the pool to a more remote area where people don't gather. You can also set this away from where people gather as a preventative measure.

The first time you see bees around your pool mix a 1/4 cup of dish soap to a quart of water. Fill a spray bottle with the mixture and use it to spray the bees. This soapy mixture will kill those forager bees who are spreading the word about your pool. Other foragers in the area will find other sources of water. You will only be eliminating a few individual bees, and not hurting the colony.

Bees are an important part of the ecosystem, but that doesn't mean they are welcome to join the pool party. Using these tips, you won't be bothered by these pesky guys during your next swim!