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Environmentally Safe and Natural Bee Control Methods

A swarm of bees try to enter wooden siding. Learn more about all natural bee control.
Sushaaa / Shutterstock

Has a large swarm of bees decided to call your property home? Bees pose a threat of stinging you, your family, or your pet, and if any of you are allergic to bees, the threat is tenfold.

Bees, however, are one of the most important insects in our ecosystem, as one-third of the food we consume each day relies on their pollination. Therefore, it’s important you look to environmentally-safe methods of bee control to not only protect the bees but your family, too.

How Can You Check for Bees?

Before you focus on bee pest control, you’ll want to make sure you have a bee infestation. Visiting bees are fine, but if you start to notice an excessive number of them buzzing around, particularly within a specific area, then an infestation is likely.

Other tell-tale signs include an active nest, so check in trees, under the roof eaves, in your garden shed, or any other surface you suspect could house a nest. Some bees also create hidden nests under floorboards, in holes in wooden structures, or even within a wall cavity. These are harder to confirm, so listen carefully for buzzing and observe the bees’ flight paths for a better idea.

Some residents also turn to natural bee control methods after finding dark patches on their wall or ceiling. These dark patches are honey, which can seep through where the nest is. When honey decomposes, it can have a bad smell, so even if you can’t see the honey, you may be able to smell it.

How Long Can Bee Infestations Last?

A bee infestation can last from 30 days up to seven months if left undisturbed. This period also largely depends on the species of bee, as some prefer to nest in places longer than others.

Thankfully, with environmentally-friendly bee control methods, you can get rid of a bee infestation in your home or backyard rather easily.

5 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Bees

Often, people associate bee pest control with harmful chemicals, but there are many natural bee control methods. And don’t forget the important role bees play in the formation of our fruit and vegetables, so try to only remove them — not kill them. Here are five natural ways to get rid of bees, including three options that won’t harm them.

Method 1: Hire a professional beekeeper

If you’re in luck, there will be a beekeeper in your local area who will be happy to take the bees off your hands. Beekeepers make honey and give bees a safe home, plus they may remove the entire nest to take with them.

Method 2: Sprinkle garlic powder

Bees are repulsed by the smell of garlic, so sprinkling garlic powder around their nest or other places they frequent will deter them. The aim is to make them relocate, but keep in mind that direct application of the powder on the bees could be lethal.

Method 3: Burn citronella candles

Turns out it’s not just mosquitoes who hate the smell of citronella. Burning these candles near the nest and around your home or garden will encourage the bees to relocate. Citronella doesn’t harm the bees but may take some time to prove effective. Just keep children and pets away.

Method 4: Try tarping the nest

Tarping can prove effective for a nest that is on the ground but know that this method is lethal. At night, when most of the bees will be in the hive, place layers of tarp over the nest. Then, quickly put bricks or other heavy items on the edges of the tarp to ‘seal’ the bees in. By depriving them of light and an exit, they will starve to death over the next several days.

Again, try to remove the bees, not kill them. Only resort to tarping if other methods have not worked.

Method 5: Use a vinegar spray

Mix equal parts vinegar and water and place the mixture in a spray bottle. At night, spray the mixture on the nest, but be sure to wear protective clothing and beware of agitated bees. This mixture is lethal to the bees, and the process may have to be repeated to remove the entire swarm. Like tarping, this method is lethal. Try other deterrents before resorting to vinegar spray.

All-natural products you can use for bee control

  • Peppermint Essential Oil: Bees (and basically every other insect) hate the smell of peppermint. This natural repellent is highly effective, so add it to some distilled water and spray it around your home or yard.
  • Ultrasonic Pest Repeller: This can be plugged into your home and uses ultrasonic and electromagnetic waves to repel all insects—including bees who have set up a nest within the ceiling, walls, or floor.
  • Indoor SPICA Bee Zapper: This electronic zapper attracts and kills insects and can be used day or night. Simply place something sweet in the bottom tray to attract them.
  • RESCUE Trapstik for Carpenter Bees: You can place this near a bee nest to reduce and eventually wipe out the population. Bees will be attracted to its bright colors and patterns before getting stuck to the surface.

When to call a professional exterminator to treat the bees

If you’ve tried multiple natural ways to get rid of bees and have had no luck at all, then it may be time to call a professional exterminator. Additionally, if the nest is in a hard-to-reach place, or a member of your household is allergic to bees, then you might want to call in professional bee pest control more quickly. They can eradicate the nest, remove the bees, and (if required) seal up the area to prevent further infestations.

How to keep bees out of your home

Prevention is better than cure, so why not practice preventative bee control starting today?

Watering your lawn can prevent ground bees from building nests, as they prefer dry and sandy soil. Additionally, you can place bee-repelling plants in and around your home, including mint and lemongrass.

Strangely, bees also detest the smell of cinnamon and mothballs, so you can place both in areas where bees are likely to build a nest. Finally, you can create a DIY bee repellent spray using one drop peppermint oil, tea tree oil, or cinnamon oil (or all three) with one cup unscented baby shampoo.

The bottom line on environmentally-friendly bee pest control

When it comes to effective bee control, forget toxin-loaded chemicals. Instead, opt for environmentally-safe options to protect both your family and the earth. If you have a bee infestation, it’s recommended you try to safely remove the nest and bees first, before killing them. If you have no success with these natural methods, then calling professional bee pest control is always an option.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many species of bees are there? 

There are approximately 20,000 different species of bees, of which 3,500 live in the United States.

Can all bees sting?

Only the female bee can sting, as the stinger is a modified version of her egg-laying organ. No male bee (of any species) can sting.

Do all types of bees live in nests? 

Only honeybees and bumblebees live in colonies. Surprisingly, 98% of bee species are naturally solitary, living without a queen or hive.

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