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Summertime and warm climates bring pool parties, barbecues, flowers, and consequently bees. Not only are these visitors uninvited, but they can quickly crash a party.
Outdoor activities as simple as mowing the lawn can prompt a bee to feel threatened, causing them to hover, chase, and even sting. Stings can be life-threatening and can happen to friends, children, and pets at any time. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can keep your backyard safe from bees this season.
Grilling outside with open drinks and uncovered food is an invitation for stinging pests to join you, but that’s not the only thing drawing them in. Here are some methods to deter bee populations from your home so your family and guests can soak up the sun in peace.
Since nectar is sweet, it’s no surprise that bees are attracted to sugar and floral perfumes. This includes heavily scented sunscreen, hairspray, and cologne. Always wear sunscreen outdoors, but select one that’s unscented. Hairspray and perfumes should be avoided entirely as these can attract a variety of insects in addition to bees.
While scent is the easiest way to attract these unwanted guests, it’s also the easiest deterrent! Simply incorporate scents that humans find pleasant and bees find repulsive.
Some of these off-putting fragrances are peppermint, spearmint, eucalyptus, and thyme. Add a generous amount of essential oil containing one or all of these herbs to a bottle and spray it on poolside items like floaties, pool noodles, towels, chairs, etc. or anywhere else you plan on spending time with family and guests.
Bees also have a distaste for lavender oil, citronella oil, olive oil, vegetable oil, lemon, and lime. These are all topical defenses you can add to your skin to keep bees away. Unlike other flying insects, bees are not attracted to the scent of humans; they are just curious by nature. Once a bee gets a waft of any of the scents above, it will head the other direction.
Another tool you can use to deter bees from flocking to poolside plants and patio furniture is dryer sheets. This will leave your yard bee free and smelling fresh.
Uncovered, sticky beverages increase your chances of getting stung tenfold. Soda cans, in particular, are notorious for harboring these stealthy invaders. Remember to always pour beverages into a cup with a lid and use containers to hold food. Plastic wrap and aluminum foil may seem like secure options, but they’re not foolproof.
Avoiding colorful clothing, swimsuits, and towels will lower your chances of looking like a meal. While bees do not feed on humans, colorful attire can confuse and attract them. Bees see a much broader range of colors than humans. What looks like a pale yellow tie-dye shirt to us may look like a bright, appetizing sunflower to them.
Bees have a heightened sense of awareness around hair and fur as these are traits of honey hijackers. Dogs should avoid bee-ridden areas completely for this reason, but humans can wear a hat to blend in better.
Modifying the landscape around your home doesn’t necessarily mean removing flowers in the garden. Simply adding mint or lemongrass plants to your display will act as a powerful repellent.
Regularly inspect areas around the home for nests as this is where bees may become aggressive and territorial. Common places to find hives include under decks and porches and along fences. If you notice a nest or other areas of concern, don’t attempt to treat it yourself. Call Western Exterminator at 800-937-8398 to assess and safely remove hazardous breeding areas.
Bees see pools the same way humans do—a refreshing body of water to cool off in on hot summer days—but they also use pool water to hydrate their young and maintain temperatures in the hive. Optimal conditions like this will cause bees to flock by the dozen.
Pool treatments are expensive, and the last thing you expect to be servicing is the local bee population. The truth is, it is these very chemicals that lure them in! Bees see saltwater and chlorinated pools as sweet, enchanting bodies of water. Pool owners can take these extra steps, in addition to the ones listed above, to avoid sharing their pool with unwelcomed swimmers.
All types of bees are poor swimmers, so homeowners should take advantage of this weakness. Turbulent water signals danger, thus deterring bees from landing. Turning on pool jets will make ripples in the surface of the water, causing a bee to hightail it out of there.
This step isn’t limited to pool owners, but since mothballs have an unpleasant odor, it’s unlikely to be a preferred repellent method. Add mothballs to a decorative cloth bag or pantyhose and hang it by the pool. This will act as an effective defense against bees and the chemicals in the water should mask the fragrance for humans.
Following these steps will lower threats by your pool, but where do they go now? Try coaxing them to another nearby water source like a birdbath or fountain. Rerouting them to a new location where they feel safe could make for a permanent solution.
Bees are essential to the ecosystem, so killing them is not recommended. Remember, bees only attack when provoked so stay calm and don’t panic. Contact the experts at Western Exterminator to safely and humanely remove bees from your home so you can enjoy the great outdoors.
Want to learn more? Here's everything you should know about stinging pests!