Bees are flying insects with many benefits like pollination of plants, food production for birds, humans, honey production, etc.
However, they can become pests when they infest your home en mass and unwarranted. This article will discuss the pest management of bees that would be beneficial if they invade your home. We will also discuss how to get rid of bees around your home and how to repel them.
An overview of bees
Like many insects, a bee has a head with a proboscis for sucking, a thorax with wings and limbs, and an abdomen divided into nine segments. A part of the appendages is modified into stingers, which they use to attack people or other oppressors.
A stinger is a modified ovipositor, where the bee’s eggs are stored. The stinger has a poison sac that contains the venom of the bee. The female bees possess the ovipositors, so male bees do not sting. There are stingless bees, which are both male and female bees without stingers.
There are two classes of bees;
The social ones who live in colonies, e.g., bumblebees, honey bees, and the solitary ones, e.g., carpenter bees, ground bees.
The bees who live in colonies have a caste system comprising the queen, male bees that mate with the queen known as the drones, and the worker bees, all females.
The queen is responsible for reproduction by mating with the male bees. The female bees do everything, including gathering food, pollinating plants, setting up the nest, cleaning the hive, etc.
Bees feed on pollens and nectars of flowers in a symbiotic relationship as they pollinate the plants in the process of moving from one plant to another.
There are over 20 000 bee species globally, and they form a large population of insects. Here are four different types of bees:
1. Bumble Bees
Bumblebees are social types of bees with black and yellow stripes. They sometimes nest in the ground but usually live together in a hive, found in attics or under roof beams. They feed on pollen and nectars and help in the cross-pollination of plants.
Bumblebees make loud, buzzing noise to defend their homes aggressively. They sting invaders as many times as they can and pursue them for long distances. The sting of a bumblebee is painful and may cause swelling and irritation in people allergic to insects’ stings.
2. Honey Bees
These social types of bees are golden yellow with brown bands and are found in many places around the world.
They are of economic importance as they are primarily involved in the pollination of many plants and in the production of Honey, which is of health importance. Honey serves as food for bees, other insects, and humans. Honey from the bee is highly nutritious and has many medicinal benefits. In ancient times till date, this is what makes Honey bees very relevant to humans.
The bee colony of these insects can survive for a long time, as they eat their Honey with their young ones during harsh weather conditions like winter. Honey bees live in nests of varying sizes built-in chimneys, tree crevices and attics. The buzzing sound they make is from the “11 000” times per minute flapping their wings.
They only sting once as their stingers have barbs, which attaches to the flesh of their prey. The honey bee dies due to the abdomen ripping out when it moves away after the attachment has occurred. The sting of a honey bee is painful and may cause a severe reaction in people allergic to insects’ stings.
3. Carpenter Bees
These blue-black species of bees are solitary; that is, they do not live in colonies.
They are named after their ability to drill through woods like “carpenter.” They each build a nest by chewing a tunnel through a wood, where they lay eggs and raise and protect their young ones. The tunnels have different rooms where they store food and lay eggs. It is not unusual to find several female carpenter bees live together in a single wood. Each female carpenter bee, however, has her marked rooms for her food and larvae.
Their food consists of nectars and pollens from flowers, which they also feed to their larvae.
The carpenter bees usually pollinate the plants ignored by the Honey bees. A carpenter bee marks her territory as she chews and deposits bits of wood known as “frass” at the tunnels’ entrance. They sting as many times as they can only in defense. They do not pose a public health threat; however, it can be destructive when it comes to woods.
4. Ground Bees
Ground bees are dark-colored with dull yellow or light brown stripes and are solitary, non-aggressive, and beneficial.
They make burrows in dried, loose soil in the ground where they nest, store their food and raise and protect their larvae. Although they are solitary, multiple female ground bees can aggregate in suitable areas to burrow and create a nest.
Ground bees rarely attack as they are non-aggressive. The females only attack when they are threatened or have to protect their larvae. The males are in charge of defending the burrow’s entrance from disturbance; however, they lack stingers; hence, they are harmless. The sting from a ground bee may be painful with a severe reaction for those allergic to bees’ stings.
Bees vs. Wasps
Bees and wasps are closely related as they both are flying insects of the same family.
They both have social and solitary species. They are both of great economic importance but can also become pests. Wasps may look like bees; however, they differ structurally and functionally:
- Bees have hairy robust bodies and flat hind legs, while wasps have smooth, slender bodies with narrow waists and slim, cylindrical legs. Bees are pollinators, while wasps are predators, hence the difference in their physical structures.
- Bees feed on nectars and pollens of flowers, while wasps feed on other insects like spiders, human meals in addition to pollens and nectars from flowers. Bees are attracted to flowers’ colors and scent, while both are attracted to sweet fragrances like fruits and sweets. Wasps feed on insects by stinging and injecting them with their venom to paralyze them.
- The hive of a bee is made of wax cells stacked upon each other, while the nest of a wasp is made of papery pulp that consists of one or more rounded combs. A bee’s hive is usually found in holes in the ground, tree cavities or buildings, while a wasp’s nest is located in remote crevices or under decks.
- Wasps have smooth stingers; hence, they can sting their prey as many times as they want. They are very aggressive when defending their homes and protecting their larvae. Most bees have smooth stingers except the honey bees, which have barbed stingers. They can only sting once as they die from the effect of the attachment caused by their barbed stingers.
Pest management of bees
Bees are highly beneficial to the ecosystem as they contribute to the food chain and cross-pollination of plants. When you sight a bee in your yard or garden, it is best to live it alone as it poses more good than harm.
However, because of accidental disturbance that may lead to aggressive attacks, you may want to get rid of it.
Bees become pests when they invade your space in large amounts and become destructive in cases of carpenter bees.
When this happens, you need to know everything about how to get rid of them. You may choose to use bee repellent to prevent them from coming indoors or kill them instantly. Out of all the pest control options available, it is best to get rid of bees naturally.
What is a home remedy to get rid of bees?
A home remedy is the best way to get rid of bees naturally.
It is a nontoxic way to remove bees since most home remedies are made from plants and other organic products. Several home remedies repel and get rid of bees, and here are some of which you can choose from:
1. Citronella candles
Bees feed on nectars, pollen and other sweet things due to their scents.
Citronella has a pungent smell, and when burnt in a particular area, the smell is dominant for a while, erasing other scents. Burning citronella candles around your home helps mask the odor of sweet things that may attract bees.
When the bees cannot locate any food source, they will leave and relocate somewhere else.
You can mix citronella oil in water and spray to discourage bees around your property. You can prevent bee stings by rubbing the oil on your body. Citronella is effective in repelling bees, and consistent use will keep them away for good.
2. Garlic Powder
Garlic powder is a strong bee repellent as its spicy and pungent smell repels bees.
The powder can also kill bees if it comes in direct contact with them.
For practical use, sprinkle around any hive near your home. If you must spray directly on a beehive, make sure you use protective gadgets, including goggles, gloves, overalls, boots, face shields, etc. You can mix the powder with water and spray the mixture around your property. Consistent use of garlic powder will keep bees away for good.
Cinnamon is also a strong bee repellent with a spicy scent.
If you have cinnamon in your home, bees will stay away since they cannot stand it. Dilute with water and apply in a spray bottle around your property, near any hive or burrows to discourage bee infestation. You may need to do this as often as possible so that its effect does not wear off, and bees can stay away.
Peppermint has a strong spicy and mint scent that bees hate.
They steer clear of areas with a slight smell of peppermint and move elsewhere. Mix peppermint with water and use it in a spray bottle for better results. You can also plant peppermint in your yard or garden and around the perimeter of your home to keep bees out for good.
You can also apply peppermint oil in corners, attics or tree cavities where you can find a beehive. Ensure you spray the bees using protective clothing.
Cucumber peels have a scent that bees cannot stand, which repels them.
To discourage bees from invading your home, sprinkle some cucumber peels around the perimeter of your home. Consistent use can prove to be effective in the long run.
Vinegar’s scent is known to repel bees, affect their respiratory functions and suffocate them.
When these bees come in contact with vinegar, they die almost instantly. Mix water and vinegar in equal amounts and apply with a vinegar spray near your property. You can also use a vinegar spray directly on bees’ hive. Do not spray the bees without adequate protection with overalls, goggles, face shields, boots and gloves.
7. Soapy water
A mixture of soap and water is harmful to bees as it suffocates them.
When your yard has soapy water on its ground, it discourages the bees from there. Add equal amounts of water and dishwashing soap in a bowl and spray near your property. You can also use it as a trap by pouring the mixture in a big bucket and coating its edges with sweet things to attract the bees. The bees will come for the food but end up being suffocated by the soapy water.
Marigold is one of the bee repellent plants as it has an aromatic scent that helps keep bees far from your home. Planting marigold in your garden or yard will discourage bees from inhabiting there. You can also plant them in your flower beds, around your swimming pool, and in flower pots inside your home.
If you use the above remedies, they will solve your bee problem, provided it is a small one and not a massive infestation. The consistent use of these remedies may also serve as a preventive measure for any potential future bee infestation. They are also suitable for pest control of bees, as they prevent their infestation if appropriately used.
How do you make bees go away?
When you observe one or two bees in your yard or garden, it is best to leave them alone, as they may help pollinate flowers.
However, if you notice a hive or nest or holes in the ground, then it is time to consider bee removal options, as an infestation may be imminent. Here are several bee removal options that will keep bees away for good and prevent them from coming back:
1. Make your home inhabitable for them
One way to get bees away from your property is to make it not conducive for them.
First, you have to get rid of every bee food source like leftovers of sweet things, trash cans left opened, rotten fruits, and other delicious things that attract bees. Water your lawn or yard as often as possible to prevent bees that nest in the ground from making homes. Regular watering will also destroy any nest already made in the soil.
Cultivate flowers with nectars at far ends of your property or replace them with foliage to keep honey bees at bay. When bees are outdoors searching for food during peak season, make sure you are clothed in less bright colors. Avoid the use of fragrant perfumes, and if you must use a fragrance, use the one with a scent that bees hate.
Ensure trash cans are closed and that you dispose of wastes properly. Treat or paint woods as carpenter bees prefer dead and unpainted wood for burrowing. When bees find no place to hatch their eggs, no food source and nothing to attract them to an area, they leave in search of a more conducive location.
2. Use Mothballs
The use of mothball is a chemical type of bee repellent.
Mothballs are insecticides in balls’ form. They repel these insects with their scents by sublimating to vapor. The chemical constituent of mothballs is either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. Naphthalene is a more active ingredient than paradichlorobenzene, as it repels and kills bees. Paradichlorobenzene is less potent and serves as a safer option, and it only repels them.
Prevent bees from infesting your property by hanging a sock of mothballs near a hive. Ensure that your pets or children do not inhale the mothballs as they are toxic and can cause severe reactions. Keep pets and children from areas where mothballs are hung for their safety.
3. Use ultrasonic pest repellent
Bees do not have a sense of hearing; instead, they feel sounds through their antenna and legs.
They pick up vibrations, which can sense danger or be used to communicate amongst themselves.
With an ultrasonic pest repellent, sound waves of high frequency that serve as noise to be used are powered through a device. The device is placed on the ground and set at different frequencies to achieve different results.
The bionic and electromagnetic waves are the first two frequencies, respectively.
The sound waves force out bees in the ground out of their tunnels and do not cause noise pollution as humans cannot hear them. The third and highest frequency’ wave is the ultrasonic one, which can be heard by humans. It is used in cases of a massive bee infestation.
This type of bee repellent is convenient, needs no maintenance, efficient and nontoxic. The device is usually powered electrically by plugging into a power source.
4. Cultivate bee repellent plants
There are plants whose scents and active ingredients repel bees.
When you cultivate these plants in your garden or yard or flower pots, they discourage bees from infesting your property. They are beneficial in your garden where you have flowers as you can use their scents to mask those of the flowers. Bee repellent plants include:
- Red marigolds
Their strong scent prevents bees from invading your property.
You can extract essential oils from these plants, dilute them in water and spray them around your home. The oils are useful in places that you cannot cultivate the plants. The oils also have health importance as they prevent and cure many diseases, including bee stings.
Some carnivorous plants feed on bees and serve as traps for them.
For instance, Pitcher plants trap bees and digest them and serve as a good source of bees’ pest control. Bees do not see the color red; hence, they get attracted to red marigolds but are repelled by their scent.
5. Use home remedies
One of the best options for pest management of bees is home remedies.
The remedies are practical methods involving plants and other organic products to repel bees. They discourage bees through their scents, abilities to destruct their functionality, suffocate them and eventually kill them in some cases. The remedies are mostly nontoxic, and some are even more beneficial for other use.
Some remedies that can discourage bees from your home are;
- Citronella candles
- Garlic powder
These remedies are great for small bee infestation of the different types of bees and prevent it from turning into a huge one. You can spray on the hive for Honey bees and bumblebees, spray on wood for carpenter bees and pour into burrows’ entrance those in the ground. When you do most, if not all of the above, you will be solving one big question of how to get rid of bees!
What kills bees instantly?
Getting rid of bees may involve killing the bees, and killing them is a dangerous mission.
The best way to kill bees is to do so instantly as you may be attacked aggressively by any survivors.
So, if you are going to kill the insects, go for the perfect one kill. Here are the things that kill bees instantly:
1. Pesticides or insecticides
Pesticides are chemicals with active ingredients that cause the death of bees.
When applied, the bee suffers paralysis and dies instantly. The chemicals can be in liquid or powdery form, known as dust.
Ensure you adhere to the safety protocols of whatever insecticide you want to spray, and check for rights reserved to understand how to proceed. The chemicals have adverse effects; hence, avoid contact with pets and anything of human consumption.
It is best to use it at night when the bees are in the hive, as you get to eliminate all of them at once, without chances of having survivors.
Use protective clothing to prevent attacks from the bees, and stay at least 15 feet away from the hive before spraying. Take precautions to prevent accidental inhalation of the aerosols and ensure you evacuate pets and children from the area.
It may take a few days up to a week or more before you or anyone else can be near the hive.
For the powder dust, you may apply it directly inside the hive or use a duster for convenience. Place the bottle inside the hive and squeeze to deposit the powder. Fill the duster with the powder, and apply it to the burrow’s entrance or tree cavities with bee nest.
Ensure you are well protected from the aftermath attack of the bees while doing this.
Take precautions to avoid inhalation and contact with skin. Keep pets, children, humans, valuables, and consumables away from such areas.
2. Electric bug zappers
These devices kill insects without toxins or chemicals; instead, they use ultraviolet light to attract them and eventually electrocute them to death.
Electric bug zappers are very popular as a tool for pest control of insects, including bees. Insects, including bees, are attracted to light, especially at night, so an electric bug zapper is useful for capturing and killing them. Its high voltage of electricity electrocutes bees quickly.
You can hang the electric bug zapper on a hook in your yard or on your porch powered through a switch.
The blue light it emits will attract the bees, and they will enter the grid of the bugger in their tens.
Once captured, they will get electrocuted and drop dead immediately. It is highly efficient as it can catch up to a hundred bees at once.
Also, the electricity tariff is minimal despite its high voltage for electrocution. It is toxin and chemical-free and an excellent solution for how to get rid of bees. Check regularly to clear the dead bees off the ground.
3. Bee traps
Trapping bees is one effective way of getting rid of them.
You get to lure them into a container and then choose to either relocate them or kill them by leaving them to suffocate. There are ready-made traps to help you capture and kill bees instantly; however, you can also make yours.
How to get rid of bees using traps
What to use
- A sweet solution
- A two-liter bottle
- A stapler or heavy-duty tape
- Scissors to cut
What to do
- Cut the bottle into two around a few inches from the opening.
- Invert the upper half into the lower one to make it into a funnel.
- Staple the two pieces or tape them together.
- Pour the sweet solution into the funnel-like bottle. The sweet solution can be a mixture of maple syrup or cane sugar with water or artificial nectar if available.
- Pour a lot of solution, as it will prevent the bees from surviving since they will drown from its quantity.
How it works
The sweet solution attracts the bee to the trap, and it enters through the opening. However, it cannot leave because it will not exit the bottle; instead, it will drown in the solution. If you want to relocate the bees, you will need to pour just a small portion of the sweet solution to trap them and not kill them.
The use of traps is one of the best solutions for how to get rid of bees, as it is nontoxic, convenient and easy-to-use. With traps, you can eliminate as many bees as possible, and all you need is readily available.
4. An Exterminator
If you fail to solve your bee problem, then it is time to call in the exterminators.
They are experts at getting rid of bees of a massive infestation. Contact your local authorities for exterminators, specifically bees. Ensure you discuss all your prior pest control activities of the bees and prepare to make before coming to kill the bees.
You may need to leave your home for a few days depending on how long it would take to get rid of the bees and have your home in a safer condition.
The preparation process may take a few days as the exterminators need to prepare adequately for the task. Make sure the exterminators work according to the state’s environmental and safety laws and protocols regarding killing bees.
How do I get rid of bees for free?
The only way to get rid of bees for free is to call a beekeeper to relocate them to a better habitat.
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is against bees’ killing, especially the honey bees.
Hence, they have an association of beekeepers willing to relocate them for free rather than kill the bees. Contact your local authorities to make inquiries about beekeepers ready to help you get rid of bees at no cost within your locality.
How to get rid of bees seems like a big issue due to the delicate circumstances surrounding bees.
The population of Honey bees is known to be declining due to years of killing.
While bees, in general, are of great economic importance, they are still a part of the pest population, and you need to get rid of them. The best option for honey bees would be to call a beekeeper to help relocate them to a better habitat. Other types of bees should be discouraged from invading your home, especially if you have no plants.