Natural bee repellents
Source: Getty Images

Tell Bees to Buzz Off With These Natural Bee Repellents

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May. 20 2021, Published 12:32 p.m. ET

Bees are a great way to improve our garden ecosystems, but you don’t always want them buzzing around the yard, especially if you have children who might be allergic. With summer right around the corner, many homeowners might be looking for ways to keep bees at arm’s length. Still, finding an all-natural bee repellent that doesn’t outright kill these beneficial buggers isn’t always easy. Thankfully, we have a few good suggestions. 

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Natural bee repellents:

Bees in a hive
Source: Getty Images

Though comprehensive, the following list of natural bee repellents is by no means complete. There are plenty of other ways to get rid of bees in your yard and some infestations might be large enough to warrant the intervention of an exterminator or professional bee removal company. Still, these options should work as a stop-gap so long as you handle them with care, especially if you’re allergic to bees. 

Citronella

According to MyMove, one of the best ways to turn bees away is to just burn the same citronella candles you’re already using to keep mosquitoes out of your yard. If you want to go even bigger or cause them to vacate the premises entirely, then you may want to spray the liquid form around your home, the garden, or the nest itself. It won’t harm the bees, but it might make them rethink their living situation. 

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Avoid bright colors

This might seem like an old wives’ tale, but according to Tips Bulletin, bees are as attracted to your bright Hawaiian shirts as they are to the flowers they depict. For that reason, if you have bees in your yard, you might want to wear more muted colors when hanging outside or doing yard work. They are drawn to colors like red, yellow, purple, and green most of all, and they will also mistake floral patterns for their favorite food.

Garlic powder

According to MyMove, bees are repulsed by the smell of garlic. It can also kill bees, so bear that in mind. Sprinkling some garlic powder around their nest or in places where you don’t want them is a great way to deter them from hanging around. 

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Bee hive
Source: Getty Images

Plant peppermint

In the same way, Tips Bulletin suggests using the smell of peppermint to force bees to buzz off. Bees are one of several species of insects that don’t love the strong scent of peppermint because it interferes with their sensitive sense of smell. You can either plant peppermint in your yard (and reap the benefits of the occasional peppermint-flavored cocktail), or dab peppermint essential oil in places you don’t want the bees to roam. 

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Distilled vinegar

Tips Bulletin also suggests using distilled vinegar as a natural bee repellent. That’s right, in addition to being a handy cleaning product and a great acidic addition to many different recipes, distilled white vinegar is a great and all-natural way to drive bees away. Simply open small containers and leave them around your patio to keep bees and other insects away from the area. You can also clean birdhouses and hummingbird feeders with vinegar to keep bees from bothering those as well.

Cucumbers
Source: Getty Images
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Fresh cucumber

This one is particularly interesting. If you cut up a fresh cucumber and lay the peels on a single layer of an aluminum pie dish, the ensuing chemical reaction will create a scent that neither bees nor wasps can stand. Set the pie pans at intervals around your yard and the buzzers might just bugger off. 

DIY bee repellent

According to Earth911, the following recipe for bee repellent is a surefire way to keep bees out of your hair. It’s safe for indoors as well as outdoors and it’s all-natural. Simply combine 2 or 3 teaspoons of liquid soap with water in a spray bottle and add a bit of peppermint oil, powdered cinnamon, and cayenne pepper to the mix. When sprayed upon patio surfaces or the hive, this concoction will drive away hornets, wasps, bees, and even a few mosquitoes. 

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