Bees serve a vital function in nature. But having bees come to visit is very different than having bees who come and stay.
How to Deter Bees from Making Your Home Theirs
In case you’re wondering how to deter bees from building a hive in or around your home, we’ve got some things you need to know.
The Truth About Bees
Worker bees are attracted to flowers and budding trees, landing on open flowers and picking up pollen on their legs and bodies as they suck up the nectar in the flowers. The pollen is then distributed across the area as they land on each flower. Once full, bees return to their hive and deposit the nectar they’ve picked up. The deposited nectar is stored and used to feed the queen and the rest of the hive, creating the honey we use in our tea, on toast and when baking.
Bees do not go looking to sting someone when they’re away from their hives. As a matter of fact, bees would rather go about their business than pay attention to anything a human is doing. It’s when they feel threatened that they pose a problem, especially when there is a threat to their hive and their queen.
Not all bees sting, either. Male bees do not have stingers; only the female worker bees sting. When they do, they release hormones that draw others into the fray, causing them to join in on the attack.
When Bees Become A Problem
Bees are always on the lookout for nectar and pollen, so they are typically in search of open flowers. However, there are certain times of the year, such as midsummer and fall, when open flowers are scarce. During those times, bees will take the opportunity of grabbing anything that’s sweet, including the remnants of sugary treats available in trash cans and recycling bins.
In the spring, a queen bee may leave her existing hive and go in search of another place to establish her colony. When she leaves, she takes a large group of worker bees with her, up to 60 percent of her old hive population. As they fly toward a new resting place, they will swarm, like a large cloud of bees.
A swarm of bees is typically not a danger because they’re mostly interested in finding a new hive for the queen. That doesn’t mean they won’t attack; again, bees will attack if they feel threatened, but if you’re around a swarm of bees, they most likely won’t hurt you if you don’t approach them.
Bees will, however, become a problem once a hive is established, especially if that hive is within the walls of your home, your garage or your shed. A hive can literally take over your home, as more bees are added to the hive and it expands within a wall.
How To Deter Bees
The best way to stop bees from establishing a hive in your yard or home is to take some precautionary measures.
Keep the area around trash and recycling containers clean
Bees are attracted to sugary syrups and juices. Be sure to wash out your soda cans and juice drink boxes before disposing of them to keep bees away. And be sure to wash away any spills outside the containers as quickly as possible, especially if any has spilled on the handle or the top; you will get a nasty surprise if you reach to open your recycling bin, only to get stung by a bee hiding just under the lip of the container.
Lock down your trash and recycling containers
As an added precaution, make sure your trash and recycling containers are as sealed as you can get them. You don’t want bees to get into your trash container.
Check your house each spring and fall for loose caulking and other holes
Bees are opportunistic. Even a small hole where caulking has come loose can provide a way in for the queen to establish a hive. Be sure to walk around your house each spring and fall and recaulk around your windows and doors, as well as closing any other holes in your siding.
Clean up any standing water
Bees are also attracted to standing water, so make sure there are no areas of standing water, especially in the middle of summer. A bird bath may be nice to have most times of the year, but in the middle of summer, it will attract bees along with the birds.
Use low-impact bee repellants
There are various products that you can use in your yard which have varying levels of toxicity for bee species. The lowest toxicity options to incorporate into your landscape include Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), neem oil, garlic extract and kaolin clay. If you have a serious aversion to bees, you might consider avoiding bee-friendly plants in your landscaping.
ABC Can Help With Outdoor Pests
If you are still having trouble with bees on your property, or if you don’t want to risk painful stings, call in the experts for advice. The pest control pros at ABC Home & Commercial Services can recommend other steps to take to control pesky outdoor insects and any uninvited animal guests that might have taken up residence in your yard.