Bees are essential to sustaining life on Earth. They pollinate trees, bushes, and herbaceous plants, without which there would be no food. Not for the animals and birds, nor for humans that survive on those animals and birds, or the plants themselves.
However, none of this changes the fact that they are annoying and have stingers that hurt. Not to mention, someone in your household might even have an allergy problem. Here are some tips and remedies on how to keep bees away without killing them.
Why Are Bees Coming to Visit?
You need to understand why bees enter your homes and gardens before you can think about how to keep bees away.
A bee’s purpose in life is to collect nectar from fruits and flowers for self-consumption and to take some back to their nests for honey production. Everything about their biology and natural adaptations has, therefore, evolved to be able to locate flowers. And flowers are colorful, large when compared to a bee, and fragrant.
Anything in your garden or household that even roughly matches the profile of a flower is likely to allure bees. That includes you.
If you’re wearing a colorful shirt or flowery scents or even have plants in your home, all of these things stimulate a bee’s senses into believing there may be a flower in your direction. They’re not intelligent enough to distinguish between flowers and non-flowers as humans can, so they don’t wait.
Understanding How Bees Get in Your Home
Just to quickly recap, bees are attracted to two major things — smells and colors or patterns that resemble flowers.
Being as small as they are, there are several ways that bees can enter your home. Their number one medium of entry is the obvious one you’ve probably already thought of — open windows. Closing your windows does significantly mitigate the odds of bee intrusion, but if you’re still seeing bees, here are some reasons why that may be:
#1. They may have sneaked in unnoticed through the door with you or someone you opened the door for.
#2. They may have discovered where your chimney leads to.
#3. If you have air ventilators that lead outside, that’s another possibility.
#4. There may be gaps and cracks in your walls you aren’t aware of.
#5. Although unlikely, they can get in through your drainage system or pipes too.
How the bees got in matters. Bees are notorious for building hives in chimneys or the corner of walls and windows if there’s room to get in and out. You may need to call a house inspector or extermination services to get to the root of the problem.
How to keep bees away without harming them? Use a natural repellent. You can make one using things available at home.
Bees strongly dislike the smell of peppermint and will avoid it best they can. There are two ways of going about repelling bees with peppermint.
One way is to simply plant a peppermint plant and place it strategically.
Another method is making your own peppermint spray by adding peppermint oil to unscented baby shampoo into an empty spray bottle. And simply spray it in different areas of the house. Without a doubt, the bees will avoid those areas.
2. Cucumber Peel
Bees will avoid areas filled with the scent of cucumber peels. The best place to lay cucumber peels is close to the door and outside your window. It’s not a very strong deterrent, but if that’s all you have to work with, it will still make a difference.
If you already have a bee in your home, shaking a cucumber at them vigorously might also do the trick. Although one of the disadvantages is that it may draw ants.
Bees loathe the strong earthy, spicy scent of cinnamon. Plus it has no nutritional value for them. Purchase a low-quality cinnamon powder and sprinkle it in all the areas of your house from where bees might enter, such as window sills.
Spread some around your home plants too. They may get close for just a few seconds to inspect it but will eventually be driven away by the unpleasant smell and taste.
4. Crushed Garlic
Bees are not particularly fond of garlic either. In fact, consuming garlic kills them in many cases. Take dried or roasted pieces of garlic cloves and crush them into powder, or you could just purchase garlic powder from your local supermarket. And just like with cinnamon, spread it across all the possible areas of your house that bees can enter from.
Alternatively, you could make your own garlic spray by dissolving powdered garlic and water into a spray bottle. The only drawback to this is that you will have to put up with the garlic smell in your house too.
5. Vanilla Mixture
Despite its pleasant scent, bees aren’t fond of vanilla. You can make your own vanilla spray by adding a few drops of vanilla essence to a soapy solution and spray it in all the areas bees like. Unlike with garlic or cinnamon, you’ll have a more pleasant home smell.
6. Baby Powder
Baby powder also has a pretty strong scent that can mask any of the pleasant scents emanating from your house. And since it’s also colorless, there are no chance bees will mistake it for something else.
Sprinkle the baby powder in strategic locations in your house such as near the window, fireplace, and door. One of the drawbacks to this, however, is that baby powder is ultra-light. It only takes a light breeze to blow it away.
Avoid Flowers and Plants That Attract Bees
Did you know that bees can perceive color nearly 5 times faster than humans? They cannot see the color red but they can see colors in the ultraviolet spectrum that humans cannot. A bee’s senses and intuitions are far more acute when it comes to identifying flowers than humans.
Having certain plants and flowers at home will drastically increase your chances of encountering these fuzzy yellow intruders.
Here are some examples of common house plants and flowers that have often proven to be the homing devices for bee invasions:
#2. Blue Borage
#5. Pussy Willow
If you want brightly colored and fragrant plants around, it’s best to keep them in your garden.
Prevent Yard Nesting
Preventing bees from making nests in your yard is tricky and gets even trickier once they’ve already begun constructing the hive. But don’t worry, there are some safe ways to prevent them from creating nests without having to kill them.
#1. Brown Bags
Bees are highly territorial in nature. If they see another bee colony in your yard they won’t build their nest within the area of the existing one. You can create the illusion of there already being a beehive by hanging up some brown paper bags on trees or the wall. Make sure you find a dry spot to place them with shade from the rain.
#2. Use Repellants
If you’re suspicious that bees are planning to create their hive in your yard, the same house repellants from earlier can deter them from building their nest in your area. But make sure you only spray it on the nesting spots, not your entire garden. Otherwise, the bees won’t come to pollinate your plants either and you don’t want that.
#3. Call a Bee Service
Dealing with a swarm of bees on your own is difficult. If they’ve already begun constructing their nest, you can’t harass them with repellants because they’ll retaliate in numbers.
The best thing to do in this situation is to step back and let the professionals take care of this. They can safely remove and relocate the hive, or if it’s still early, scare the bees away with smoke guns.
A wasp’s sting hurts about the same as a bee’s sting. But what makes wasps more dangerous is that, unlike bees, their stingers don’t get stuck or disconnected. This means, one wasp can sting you repeatedly.
Wasps are also important pollinators, but they’re far from tolerable as house or backyard guests. There are some things you can do to avoid wasps that are the same as with bees, such as placing repellants around your house, keeping the windows shut, removing food sources, and checking for nests. Wasps are attracted to the same things as bees.
However, if you ever come across a wasp nest or even a swarm of wasps that just won’t leave, do not engage. The best way to avoid any casualties is to call a professional wasp removal service.
A Few Parting Words
Albert Einstein once famously said, “If the bee disappears from the surface of the Earth, man would have no more than four years left to live.” Natural remedies and repellents are the best way to get rid of them; not killing them.
After all, bees, like earthworms and many other creatures, are more than just pests. They are the veins of the ecosystem. With this information at hand on how to keep bees away, you can use several other safer methods to get rid of bees.