Sweat Bees Taking Over Your Yard? How to Naturally Keep These Pollinators at Bay

It may seem like sweat bees are impossible to get rid of, but it's possible.

Kori Williams - Author

Mar. 5 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

A sweat bee in a pink flower collecting pollen.
Source: iStock

Bees are amazing parts of various ecosystems — but they aren't always wanted in every environment. Sometimes we are nervous about getting stung or just aren't crazy about bugs. But there's a particular type of bee that has an interesting name: Halictidae bees, aka sweat bees, get this nickname because they are attracted to people's perspiration. Unfortunately, that can mean that if you get too hot and sweaty, these bugs may linger around more than you might like.

Article continues below advertisement

Fortunately, sweat bees aren't known for stinging — but they do have stingers and occasionally sting, so you should still exercise caution around them. Although sweat bees can be difficult to contend with once they decide to stick around, you can get them to leave. In fact, there are a few ways to do so that are rather straightforward.

Want to learn how to get rid of sweat bees? Read on for a few natural methods.

Two bees in a yellow flower.
Source: iStock
Article continues below advertisement

One way to get rid of sweat bees is to remove rotting wood.

According to Prevention, there are a few ways to repel sweat bees from your home and yard. For one, you can get rid of any rotting wood around your house. This includes old branches in your yard, but if you have an old foundation to the wooden frame of your home, it might be a good idea to get that checked out. These bugs aren't against burrowing into the wood of your house and this can make its base unstable over time.

When you take care of the rotting wood, you take away countless places where the sweat bees could nest.

A bee sitting on wood.
Source: iStock
Article continues below advertisement

You can also make some adjustments to your garden.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources' website points out that not every species of sweat bees likes rotting wood. Instead, some sweat bees prefer to go underground into bare soil (soil where no plants are growing) in sunny spots.

If you have noticed sweat bees populating in these parts of your garden, University of Florida recommends tilling the land and applying insecticide to the area, as these can help increase a sweat bee population — which is actually a good thing to do, since sweat bees are pollinators.

Article continues below advertisement

So if you'd rather decrease your yard's sweat bee population, you may want to do those steps in a far-out corner of your yard. This could divert sweat bees to those spots, and drive them away from the parts of your yard closer to your home, where children are more likely to play.

Additionally, the Maryland DNR says that sweat bees prefer certain types of flowers, including asters and goldenrods.

A bee on a yellow flower.
Source: iStock
Article continues below advertisement

Cover up or cool down to avoid attracting sweat bees.

Sweat bees get their name for a reason: They are attracted to sweat. So if you remove perspiration from the equation, the bees may go away. One option is to simply go inside. If you have AC, you can at least cool down and avoid the bees altogether. But if you have to be outside, Prevention says you should cover as much of your skin as possible.

Luckily, wearing a breathable fabric and cooling clothing will allow you to stay cool while you're outside and avoid attracting sweat bees. Eventually, you could cool down enough that these bugs leave you alone. Protecting yourself from the sun by staying in the shade or walking with an umbrella are also great options that could keep sweat bees off your back.

More from Green Matters

Latest Home News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 Green Matters. Green Matters is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.