Pool owners often battle with honey bees dropping in for a drink. Having them around the pool isn’t ideal. Painful stings are best avoided, and no-one enjoys scooping dead bees out of the water.
Read on if you’d like to maintain a bee-free zone around the pool. We’ve got fourteen low-cost and 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 are a huge benefit to our ecosystem as pollinators, so always use a bee-friendly option for keeping them at a distance.
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
Having removed all those flowers bees enjoy, you may be left with space to add new plants. There are plenty of options that act as powerful repellents to bees. Wormwood, mint, citronella, spearmint, and thyme work well; if you have loads of space, consider eucalyptus.
3. Clear away tasty temptations
Food and drink are irresistible for bees and other more 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.
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 with water. The bees can safely land and get a drink without drowning.
Move the containers a few feet from the pool each day; 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, it’s challenging to change their habits. If you notice bees showing up, act swiftly to coax them away before they get too comfortable at the side of the pool.
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. It’s unlikely they’ll land if your pool water isn’t still. Try turning on the jets to see if this keeps them 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 their water supply off. Those fuzzy insects will have to find another water supplier if they’re thirsty.
9. Ditch bright colors
Bright colors are essentially 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 over pool chairs, noodles, floaties, and anything else nearby.
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 so that it resembles 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 they also can’t distinguish between natural and artificial smells. The best solution is to skip the floral perfumes, hairsprays, and anything else that makes you smell like a flower. Replace heavily scented sunscreens with unscented products.
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.
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 get rid of 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.