With summer coming soon and warm weather already here in the south, you decided it was time to get the pool ready. So, you went to the store to stock up on chemicals and cleaning supplies. You knew it might be a big job, but nothing could have prepared you for what you found: bees. Dozens of them. Treating your swimming pool like their own personal drinking fountain.
This is not an uncommon scenario for pool owners. Not just bees either, but other stinging insects, such as wasps. Maybe you just want to take a dip in the pool, but you can’t go more than a few feet without worrying about getting stung. If a family member of guest is allergic to bee stings, this is especially important. Or, perhaps, your poolside barbecues don’t just get invaded—they get swarmed.
You’re not too keen on the idea of getting stung while trying to escape the heat—to say nothing of your family and guests. You also don’t, however, want to taint the water with dangerous sprays. Or, even worse, kill off an entire hive just so you can have a stress-free swim. So, what are you supposed to do?
First, don’t panic. There are numerous tools at your disposal to get stinging insects to leave your pool alone, so you can enjoy it without fear. In this post, we’ll describe a few methods for how to keep bees out of your pool and protect you and your family from other stinging insects.
Before we dive in though, it’s important to understand exactly what’s bringing bees and wasps to your pool in the first place.
Wasps And Bees Around Pool: Why Are They Attracted To The Water?
This probably seems obvious. After all, bees and wasps have to drink just like every other living creature, right? Why wouldn’t they make use of such a big, inviting source of water?
That’s true. But there’s a bit more to it than that.
Bees aren’t just using the pool to quench their thirst, but as a form of air conditioning for their hive that in some cases can keep the waxy combs from melting in the summer heat. They bring water back to the hive. As it evaporates, it cools the place off, so the whole colony isn’t destroyed.
The other reason bees need water is to dilute honey that they use to feed their young. This task is vital for the survival of the colony.
Why go after the water in your pool? Beyond the fact that it’s big and seemingly available, both bees and especially wasps are often attracted to swimming pool water due to the strong smell. That’s right, the very chemicals you use to keep your pool clean and purge it of other nasty pests can encourage more stinging insects to stop by. This is true both for chlorinated and saltwater pools.
Then, of course, there are the other tantalizing elements that have little to do with the water itself. From the perspective of bees and wasps, if you’re grilling out and drinking soda next to the pool, you’re basically putting out an invitation mat for these creatures to join you.
Now that you know why these insects are in your water, let’s talk about what you can do to send them packing.
What Are Some Methods to Repel Bees from Swimming Pool Areas and Send Them Elsewhere?
Both repelling and attracting—that’s the key here to keep your pool from being a buzzworthy haven for these stinging insects. Although, all you really want is to divert the bees away from your pool, so you can enjoy it.
There are four things you can do on your own if you want to learn how to deter bees and make your next pool party buzz-free.
For obvious reasons, bee removal is usually best handled by a professional. If you want to take steps first to try to deter them on your own, there are a few DIY suggestions that have worked for some homeowners.
Remove Food And Water Sources
If you have noticed more bees or wasps around your pool area, be vigilant about cleaning up spills of sugary liquids and rinsing out and then discarding or recycling open drink and soda containers. Cover garbage and recycling bins and place these receptacles away from doorways. Add screens or nectar guards to hummingbird feeders to keep bees away.
Cover your pool when it is not in use, repair any leaky outdoor faucets and address any drainage issues that might make areas of your backyard more enticing to bees and wasps.
While most visiting bees will move on when they get the moisture they need, you’ll want to make sure your property is not appealing as a place for a colony. After you are sure all bees have been removed from along the exterior of your home, fill any weep holes, cracks, knot holes and other voids with caulk or wire mesh that’s less an eighth of an inch wide. Put a cap on your chimney, if you don’t already have one.
Experiment With Essential Oils
Some homeowners have had success keeping bees and wasps away by using peppermint oil. A mixture of clove, geranium and rosemary was found to be effective in one study with wasps. You can mix these oils with water and spray the mixture on patio furniture and your pool deck to see if this is effective to keep bees away.
Attract Bees Elsewhere
While you are trying to keep bees out, provide them with a more satisfying alternative. Bees don’t really care where their water comes from—they’ll usually choose whatever’s closest to their hive. So, if you can find the hive, one of the best ways to attract them away from your pool is to provide a closer source of water.
If possible, do this before they start heading to your pool. Once they’ve found a water source, they tend to stick with it, unless you work hard to coax them away. There are many ways to set up an alternate source of water. Get a birdbath, install a fountain (make sure it doesn’t do more than trickle) or put a pond in your yard. The options are pretty limitless. You can even set up water and put a product like Honey B Healthy in it. Bees will be drawn like magnets.
You know bees are attracted to flowers, so give them what they want, but as far away from the pool as possible. Not only will they be distracted by the flowers, but also hopefully, the distance will encourage these stinging insects to seek out water elsewhere.
How to Keep Wasps Away from Pool Areas
What attracts wasps to your property? During the cooler months, female wasps might find a crack along your home’s exterior to hide and emerge in the warmer months to look for food after this hibernation period. As with bees, you can use a mixture of repellents and attractants to clear wasps out of the vicinity of your pool.
How To Repel Wasps
A mix of different DIY tactics can help keep these stinging insects from spoiling your next swim.
Buy Decoy Nests
Putting in decoy nests can work with bees as well, but it’s incredibly effective for keeping wasps away. They really don’t like living anywhere near other wasps because they’re so territorial.
Grow Wasp Repellants
Eucalyptus, spearmint, thyme citronella and wormwood are all-natural wasp repellants. Plant this greenery near your pool, and wasps will stay away.
It’s not just spearmint wasps detest, but pretty much any mint. So, try some peppermint oil. Spray this mixture around the pool, and it can act as a sort of scent-based fence.
Try Clove Mixed With Geranium And Lemongrass
As with bees, there are essential oils that can repel wasps. Use a mix of the above oils and wasps will head in the other direction.
Send Wasps Elsewhere
In conjunction with what you are doing to keep wasps out, you’ll want to entice them to spend their days somewhere other than your pool. Here are some ways to do that.
String Up Some Raw Meat
Yep, that’s right. You probably wouldn’t have guessed it, but wasps absolutely love raw meat. Cut off a few small strips, place them well away from your pool and wasps will swarm them. Just make sure they really are small strips, or you could be left with rotting meat.
Get Some Diesel
This may sound ludicrous, but another item on the list of “Do wasps really like that?” is diesel fuel. Something about the scent really attracts them. Fair warning though: while many of the tips are non-lethal, this one will definitely kill any wasps that become submerged in it.
How To Keep Bees Away: Home Remedies To Repel Stinging Insects
While many of the suggestions above involve professional help or buying something, the following tips involve using items that most people already have lying around their house.
Paper Bag Nests
You don’t have to go out and buy a more expensive decoy nest. Just grab two regular brown lunch bags. Crumple the first one up and place it inside the second one. Then, crumple that one up as well, and hang it from a tree branch or bush near the pool. Wasps will think it is a wasp nest and steer clear.
Water/Dish Soap Mixes
Combine a bit of dish soap with water in a spray bottle. When you hit bees or wasps with the liquid, the dish soap breaks down their outer layer, causing them to get water-logged if they try to land in your pool to drink. Beware, though—spraying them like this won’t kill them by itself, and it can make these stinging insects quite angry.
Soda Bottle Trap
This one is another water/dish soap mix, but it’s a bit different. The idea here is that you want to trap the insects inside the bottle. How? First, you cut the top part of the bottle off. Then you add water and dish soap to the bottom. Smear some honey around the edge of the top part of the bottle, then turn it upside down and slide it into the bottom section. Bees and wasps will get in, but they won’t be able to escape.
This tactic is pretty much what it sounds like. Mix some sugar in with water and put it in a bowl. Instead of going to the pool to drink, bees and wasps will be more attracted to the sugary nectar. There are a number of variations on this you can try. Put it close to the pool at first. Then move it farther away every day or two as they get more used to drinking there.
DIY Landing Pads
One way to make alternate water sources more attractive is by adding a place for these stinging insects to land and drink without the risk of getting stuck in the water and potentially drowning. Some quick-and-easy landing pads include rocks, corks, sponges and even rags that soak up the water.
Don’t have any repelling plants, essential oils, or mints? That’s okay—dryer sheets can work just as well to keep bees away, because these insects utterly hate the scent.
What If the Bees and Wasps in Your Pool Just Won’t Budge?
What if you try these options and they don’t work? Or if you’re allergic and don’t want to risk getting too close? Or maybe you simply don’t have the time or energy to deal with the issue. Over the years, ABC Home & Commercial Services have helped countless homeowners drive bees and wasps away from their pool. We know a variety of methods that allow us to do it safely—both for you and for the bugs themselves. We’ll get rid of the problem in the most humane way possible and arm you with tools and knowledge to keep your pool bee and wasp free going forward.