14 Tips For Keeping Bees Away From Your Pool

A honey bee next to a swimming pool

Pool owners often battle with honey bees dropping in for a drink, but having them around the pool isn’t ideal. No one wants bee stings or to spend time scooping dead bees out of the water.

If you want to keep bees away from the pool, then keep reading. We’ve compiled fourteen low-cost, humane ways to keep them at a distance.

How can I keep bees away from my pool?

The best ways to keep pools free from bees are to move plants that attract bees away from the area and replace them with bee-repelling flowers. Try to provide an alternative water supply away from the pool, and never leave food and sweet drinks nearby.

Honey bees greatly benefit our ecosystem as pollinators, so always use a bee-friendly option for warding them off.

1. Remove bee-friendly plants

We’re big advocates of planting bee-friendly trees and flowers, but not next to pools and spas. The alluring smells and colors draw bees directly toward the swimming area. If you can, transfer these plants to somewhere well away. 

2. Use bee-repelling plants

Many plants act as powerful repellents to bees. Wormwood, mint, citronella, spearmint, and thyme work well; if you have the space, consider a eucalyptus tree. It provides shade and keeps those fuzzy friends away. 

3. Clear away tasty temptations

Food and drink are irresistible for bees and other aggressive insects like wasps. Always keep food covered, and don’t leave cans or bottles of sugary drinks nearby. Ensure the garbage bins are secure and kept away from the pool area.

A wasp in a glass of wine
Bees and wasps love wine and soda.

4. Make an alternate water supply

Most of us wouldn’t begrudge tired, thirsty honey bees a drink. The trick is to train them to seek out a different water supply.

To do this, fill some shallow containers with a layer of sand, corks, or pebbles, then cover them with water. The bees can safely land and get a drink without drowning.

Move the containers a few feet from the pool daily; hopefully, they’ll follow. Keep the water topped up, or you’ll return to square one with bees floating on the pool surface.

Bird feeders are also a good option if you can locate them a reasonable distance from the pool.

Did you know? Bees can be stubborn creatures; once they find a water supply, changing their habits is challenging. If you notice bees showing up, act swiftly to coax them away before they get too comfortable at the side of the pool.

Bees drinking from a bird bath
Create an alternative source of water.

5. Enlist the help of dryer sheets

Do you have any little white sheets used in the dryer to make laundry soft and static-free? They have a fragrance that bees detest. Hang one or two at each end of the pool to help keep the area clear of bees.

6. Hang up mothballs

Moths aren’t the only insect to stay away from mothballs. Bees hate their scent more than beekeepers hate varroa mites. String up a few in pantyhose or a cloth bag to get the benefits.

7. Create water flow

Bees aren’t good swimmers and see moving water as a threat, so try turning on the jets to see if this keeps them away. It’s unlikely they’ll land if your pool water is moving.

Create water flow to keep bees away.

8. Cover the pool

This advice may sound like a “Captain Obvious” statement, but we had to include it. Covering the pool’s surface cuts the bees’ water supply off. Those fuzzy insects must find another water supplier if they’re thirsty. 

9. Ditch bright colors

Bright colors are a giant target for honey bees. Wear dark-colored swimsuits and clothing near the pool if you want them to stay away. Towels and beach umbrellas also need to be toned down.

While considering what to wear, always wear a hat if you’ve got red hair. It’ll stop the sun’s harsh rays and reduce the advances of bees, which are highly attracted to this color.

10. Spray essential oils

If you don’t want to grow bee-repelling plants, another option is to use essential oils.

Fragrances like lavender or peppermint oil are perfect for warding off unwanted insects. Combine oil with water and spray pool chairs, noodles, floaties, and anything else nearby.

Some essential oils repel insects.

11. Use fake wasp nests

Pretend wasp nests are a genius invention that will deter honey bees and, more importantly, other wasps. Placing decoy nests is a quick and easy solution.

You can find them online or fill a brown paper bag with another bag to resemble a wasp nest. Then hang it from a tree branch, bush, or nearby pole. Problem solved.     

12. Check for nests

You may have a hive nearby if you notice many bees dropping by to quench their thirst. Do a quick inspection outside the house, fences, and backyard to ensure a colony isn’t getting established.

If you discover a hive, don’t kill them with chemicals or fire. Instead, contact a beekeeper to come and remove them humanely.

13. Seal openings

Check your home for gaps and holes that might appeal to bees looking for a new home. A safe place for bees to live and an enormous water supply will tempt honey bees into becoming your new neighbors.

Use wire mesh or caulk to block access to these areas and cap your chimney if you have one.

14. Avoid floral fragrances

Bees can’t resist flowery aromas but also can’t distinguish between natural and artificial smells.

The best solution is to avoid wearing floral perfumes, hairsprays, and anything else that smells like a flower. Replace heavily scented sunscreens with unscented products.               

A Carpenter bee swimming in the water
A Carpenter bee swimming to get out of the water.

Commonly asked questions

Why are bees attracted to pool water?

Bees are attracted to the smell of chemicals used in chlorinated and saltwater pools. Pollen and nectar contain low amounts of minerals like sodium, potassium, and magnesium, so they look for them elsewhere.

The odor from swimming pools tells the bee’s antennae there could be some nutritional benefits on offer. An enticing aroma is why honey bees often choose a muddy puddle over clear fountain water. 

How do honey bees use pool water?

Bees visit pools to quench their thirst and, on sweltering days, transfer it back to the hive to cool inside. They also dilute honey with water to feed their young ones.

How do I keep wasps away from the pool?

To rid a pool area of wasps:

  • Combine equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle.
  • Apply a light misting to tables, chairs, and other objects around the pool. You can plant natural repellents like citronella, basil, peppermint, geranium, bay leaves, or cloves.
  • Ensure no drinks or food like meat and sweet snacks are left nearby the pool. 

Does chlorine keep bees away?

Bees use their sense of smell to find water, so chlorine encourages bees to stop by and take a drink.

Summing up

It’s hard to hate on the bee species, but there’s a time and a place for these lovable insects. Poolside isn’t one of them. Not only is there potential for getting stung, but overzealous bees often drown.

There are numerous ways to eliminate bees from pools without harming them. Usually, some strategic positioning of bee-deterring plants will go a long way to solving the problem.

If you’re a pool-owning beekeeper, always provide an alternative water source for your colony. A well-located drinking spot should mean you can organize that pool party without gate-crashing bees showing up.

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