Keeping Bees at Bay Naturally

The self-grooming behavior of wild honey bees like these can be affected by pesticides. CREDIT: University of Guelph
The self-grooming behavior of wild honey bees like these can be affected by pesticides. CREDIT: University of Guelph

Thunder Bay – LIVING – At this time of year, as weather across Canada starts to warm up, bees, butterflies and other insects in a few short weeks will start to make their presence known again. Of course so will wasps, hornet, and our famous mosquitoes.

It is important early in the spring, especially through the last half of April and into early May, not to get too carried away with yard work. Your early season yard work might make it harder for some of the very desirable species of insects.

One of the most important pollinators are bees. Having bees around isn’t something you should fear. These ‘Busy Bees’ are what keeps life on our planet going. Without bees, almost all plant life on earth would seize to exist, and so too would all the animals and humans.

Keeping bees alive is important

If you end up with a hive of bees near your home, while grabbing insecticide might seem like the thing to do, it isn’t.

If you do end up with bees near your home, there are some natural ways to discourage them that won’t kill them.

Garlic Powder

Bees are not fond of the smell of garlic, so to discourage them from being near your house, sprinkle some garlic powder near where you’ve seen them. Be careful with the powder and do not put it directly on a bee if you see one because it can be deadly to them.


Bees do not want to be near peppermint because they dislike the smell. One way to keep them away from or out of your house is to plant peppermint around the perimeter of it. Not only will it keep the bees away, but you can use the plant to make tea.


Cinnamon is another spice bees would rather avoid. Sprinkle it daily, or at least once a week, where you’ve spotted bees going in and out of their nest. It will drive them away and help keep them away for good if you sprinkle it often.

Distilled Vinegar

This ingredient can be used to keep bees out of your garden or house. Place small, open containers of white distilled vinegar around the garden to prevent bees from hovering around.

You can also use distilled vinegar to wipe out birdhouses and hummingbird feeders after they’ve been emptied to repel bees.

Citronella Candles

If you want to keep honeybees and bumblebees out of the yard or your house, burn citronella candles. It masks odours bees may be attracted to, such as the nectar in a hummingbird feeder. By using citronella candles or torches in larger areas, it will keep bees away.

Hire a Removal Service

If you tried a few remedies, but the bees keep coming back, or if you’ve found a colony in your house, hire a live bee removal service to take care of the problem. If they are honeybees, most services will save them and provide them with a new home.


You can also put mothballs in some old nylons or cheesecloth and hang them near their nest. The mothballs have an overpowering odour, which masks other smells. The bees will not like it and will avoid it if possible.

Plant Marigolds

If there are bees in the neighbourhood, plant marigolds to keep them at bay. Marigolds bloom throughout the summer and give off a pungent odour that bees do not want to be around. They can be placed in flower beds or as a border around swimming pools to repel bees.

These solutions will help prevent bees from overtaking your yard or patio, or making your spring and summer barbecue a battle of swatting them away, if you properly use them, they are safe, natural remedies the repel bees without killing them.

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