What Beekeepers Need to Know About What Repels Honey Bees

If you’re a beekeeper, you know how important it is to protect your beekeeping operation from unwanted pests, such as honey bees. But what repels honey bees, and what are the best ways to keep your beekeeping safe from these invasive insects? In this article, we’ll discuss the various techniques and strategies for deterring honey bees and other insects from entering your beekeeping environment. We’ll also discuss the various repellents available on the market and how to properly apply them. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of what repels honey bees and how you can use these strategies to protect your beekeeping operation.

What Are Honey Bees?

What Are Honey Bees?

Honey bees are essential pollinators that provide many benefits to humans and the environment. They are social insects that live in colonies, with a single queen bee, hundreds of worker bees, and a few drones. Honey bees collect nectar and pollen from plants, which they use to make honey and other products.

What Repels Honey Bees?

Honey bees are generally docile and can be kept away with some simple repellents. Here are some of the best ways to keep your beekeeping safe from invasive insects:

  • Essential oils: Strong scents like peppermint, citronella, and eucalyptus can help repel honey bees.
  • Pungent plants: Certain pungent plants, such as marigold, chrysanthemum, and tansy, can help ward off bees.
  • Chemicals: Certain chemicals, such as pyrethrin, can be used to create a barrier to keep bees away.
  • Sugar water: A mixture of sugar and water can be used to lure honey bees away from an area.
  • Ultrasonic sound: High-frequency sound waves can be used to repel honey bees.
  • Smoke: Smoke from a bee smoker can be used to disorient honey bees and keep them away.

These methods can be used to safely and effectively repel honey bees without harming them or the environment. Beekeepers should always use caution when using repellents, as some may be toxic to honey bees.

What Attracts Honey Bees?

What Attracts Honey Bees?

  • Flowers: Honey bees are attracted to brightly colored and scented flowers, especially those that are rich in nectar and pollen.
  • Water: Honey bees need a regular supply of water to survive, and they will search for water sources wherever they can find them.
  • Hives: Honey bees will often be drawn to hives or other areas where they can find a safe place to build their colonies.
  • Food sources: Honey bees are attracted to food sources like fruits, vegetables, and sugary treats.
  • Trees: Honey bees will often be found nesting in trees or other areas that provide them with shelter and a food source.
  • Pheromones: Bees release pheromones that can attract other bees to their hive, and this can draw bees from far away.

Honey bees are important pollinators and they play a vital role in the health of our environment. Understanding what attracts honey bees can help us protect these beneficial insects and ensure that they are able to thrive in our world.

What Repels Honey Bees?

What Repels Honey Bees?

Home Remedy Bee Repellent

Home remedies can be effective in repelling honey bees. Garlic, cinnamon, and peppermint are some of the most popular natural repellents. Garlic can be chopped and sprinkled around the area, while peppermint oil can be sprayed around the perimeter. Cinnamon should be ground and sprinkled around the area.

Other Natural Bee Repellents

Other natural bee repellents that can be used include anise oil, eucalyptus oil, and lemongrass oil. Anise oil can be sprayed around the bee-prone area, while eucalyptus and lemongrass oils can be blended and sprayed, or diffused in the air.

Commercial Bee Repellents

Commercial bee repellents containing pyrethrin or permethrin should be used with caution, as these substances can be toxic to bees. Be sure to read the label and follow the directions carefully. Spraying these substances around the perimeter of the bee-infested area can be an effective way to keep bees away.

Preventing Honey Bees from Invading Your Home

Keep the Surrounding Landscape Clean

Maintain flower beds and gardens, cut weeds and remove dead plants. Keep the grass trimmed and remove overhanging branches or shrubs. This will help reduce the availability of food sources for honey bees.

Seal Gaps Around Doors and Windows

Inspect your home and seal up any possible entry points. Use caulk or other materials to cover small gaps and openings.

Use Screen Doors and Windows

Install window and door screens. Check to make sure they are properly sealed, and replace any that are torn or ripped.

Keep Trash Cans Sealed

Keep trash cans and compost piles covered. This will reduce the likelihood of honey bees being attracted to the smell of food and garbage.

Remove Potential Nesting Sites

Remove any old equipment or debris from around your property. This includes old furniture and construction materials, which can provide a perfect hiding spot for honey bees.

Frequently Asked Questions

What other insects does the same repellent work for?

Repelling honey bees is important for the safety of beekeepers, but what about other insects? Some insect repellents can also be used to keep other pests away.

  • Mosquitoes – Repellents containing DEET, lemon eucalyptus oil, and picaridin can help to keep mosquitoes away.
  • Flies – Repellents containing permethrin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and citronella can help to keep flies away.
  • Spiders – Repellents containing DEET, lemon eucalyptus oil, and picaridin can help to keep spiders away.
  • Ants – Repellents containing boric acid, lemon eucalyptus oil, and peppermint oil can help to keep ants away.
  • Fleas – Repellents containing DEET, lemon eucalyptus oil, and picaridin can help to keep fleas away.

It is important to note that some repellents may not be effective against certain insects, so it is important to read the product label for specific directions.

How often does the repellent need to be applied?

The effectiveness of the repellent will depend on the type and frequency of application. Generally, it should be applied every two weeks or after heavy rain or wind. Always follow the instructions on the product label for optimal results.

Are there any Natural Repellents that are Effective?

Natural repellents like essential oils, herbs, and spices can be effective at deterring honey bees. Citronella, peppermint, and eucalyptus oils are all known to repel honey bees. Sprinkling or spraying these oils can help keep honey bees away from areas you don’t want them to go. Similarly, dried herbs like bay leaves and rosemary can also be used to repel honey bees.

Are there any special precautions that should be taken when using repellents?

Yes. When using repellents, it is important to take the following precautions:

  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use and safety.
  • Do not apply repellents directly to the bee colonies.
  • Do not apply repellents to the beekeeping equipment.
  • Do not apply repellents to plants or flowers frequented by honey bees.
  • Keep repellents out of reach of children and pets.
  • Do not exceed the recommended application rate.
  • Be aware of any restrictions or regulations on the use of repellents in your area.
  • Dispose of any unused repellents safely.

Are Honey Bees Attracted to Certain Colors or Smells?

Honey bees are attracted to bright colors, particularly yellow and blue, and sweet smells such as those from flowers. The nectar and pollen from flowers are a major food source for honey bees. They are also attracted to certain smells from other insects like wasps and beetles. Honey bees may also be attracted to the smell of food, such as fruit or meat.


It is important to be aware of the common and uncommon pests that can harm honey bees and their colonies. To help keep beekeeping safe from invasive insects, use preventative measures such as using physical barriers, predator insects, and chemical treatments. Additionally, beekeepers should inspect their hives regularly for signs of invasion or disease and take corrective measures to prevent damage to the colony.


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