Bumblebees play an important role in keeping the ecosystem healthy and balanced. However, many people misunderstand these creatures (usually confusing them with honey bees or carpenter bees) and assume that all they do is sting people.
While it’s completely valid to be wary of bees that can sting you, many will be surprised to learn that bumblebees are quite docile and gentle. So, if you’re worried about stings and want to get rid of bumblebees in your home or garden, it’s best to do it in the most humane way possible.
Today, we’ll take a look at why these insects frequent your garden and how to get rid of bumble bees without harming them or the environment. Keep reading this guide to learn more!
Why Are There Bumble Bees in My Garden?
Before we talk about shooing away bumblebees from your home, let’s first discuss why they’re there in the first place.
Bumblebees are known to be very social insects. Their life’s purpose is to live in their colony with the queen bee and bring back pollen. To do that, they go through the process of pollination on flowers and bring the food to their colony.
Queen bees (aka the leader bees, which are always female) produce a nest with wax cells that hold bumblebee eggs together until they are ready to hatch.
Once the eggs hatch and grow into adult bees, they are ready to take on the important work of pollinating flowers and bringing home nectar and pollen for the colony.
Because bumblebees hunt for pollen, they’re immensely attracted to gardens with lots of beautiful flowers. Some bumble bee colonies might even build their nest or beehive in the soil of a garden to have easy access to flowers. If you love to plant flowers, your garden is a hot spot for bumblebees.
If your garden has lots of blue and purple flowers, it may be even more attractive to bumblebees. See, bees are way more sensitive to blue and purple light than humans. They’re incredibly attracted to the nectar of flowers of these colors.
Curious about how bumble bee workers hunt down pollen? Watch this cool slow-motion video of a bumble bee dislodging pollen from a flower to bring it back to its colony:
Spotting a Bumble Bee Nest
There are many places where queen bumblebees build their colonies’ nests. Most of the time, however, the nest will be built in abandoned rodent burrows under garden soil. Other colonies might form nests in birdhouses, trees, or a compost heap in the garden as well.
The hallmark of a bumblebee nest is high bee activity, especially on a sunny day. If you see tons of bees buzzing around a hole in the ground or a birdhouse, it’s a tell-tale sign that there is a nest around. At this point, you must decide if you want to let the nest be or to get rid of the bees.
Another sign that there is a bumblebee nest nearby is a constant, ringing, buzzing noise you can’t shake off.
If you’re trying to look for a nest by following its buzzing sound, be extra careful. You never know how close you might get to the hive. If you accidentally make contact with it, it may aggravate the bees and cause them to attack and sting you.
Why You Must Be Humane When Getting Rid of Bumble Bees
While it’s very valid to want to keep bumblebees away from you as much as possible, it’s also important to recognize that these bees do more good for the world than bad. Their pollinating abilities create biodiversity in the ecosystem.
Another thing to keep in mind when getting rid of bumblebees is that it’s a dying species. The number of bees is declining slowly but surely since more people are using pesticides to kill insects in the modern age. If you can, try your best to conserve the bees even as you try to get rid of them.
Having said all this, the best course of action is to simply let the bumblebees live out their season. Note that bumblebee colonies only survive for around a year. If you can tough it out and avoid the bees for that long, it might be good to consider leaving them be. The environment will thank you!
4 Ways to Get Rid of Bumblebees
But if you’re sure you want to get rid of the bumblebees in your home for safety and peace of mind, we’ve got you. Here are five humane ways to get rid of bumblebees so you never have to worry about getting stung by them:
1. Use strong scents as natural repellents
One of the most humane ways to get rid of bumblebees is by using strong but natural scents to repel them from staying in your garden. These repellents will drive them away because of their overpowering smells, but they won’t harm or kill the bees.
Essential oils with overwhelming, strong scents are perfect for this job. Eucalyptus, peppermint, citrus, and tea tree oil are among the most distracting scents for insects. Sprinkle some drops of these oils near the bees’ nest. Hopefully, this will force them to look for a new place to live.
Cinnamon is another scent they can’t stand. Mix some water with cinnamon powder and put the concoction in a spray bottle. Then, spritz away in the soil near the bumblebee nest. Just make sure you don’t spray this mixture directly on a bee, which can retaliate and sting you.
While citronella candles are more popular as a mosquito repellent, they’ll work excellently for bumblebees as well. Light up some of these candles and keep them near the nest.
Lastly, bees hate the smell of vinegar because it’s so pungent. You can also spray white vinegar or apple cider vinegar near the nest entrances to deter the bees.
2. Plant flowers and herbs that are less attractive to bees
As mentioned earlier, bumblebees love blue and purple flowers. If your garden has primarily followers in these colors, it will be difficult to drive the bees out. So, if you want to make your garden look less attractive to these bees, plant flowers they may not like as much.
You can plant flowers that are outside of the color family the bees like. Instead of violet flowers, go for red, orange, and yellow ones.
Consider planting flowers that are known for their overpowering smells as well. Flowers like marigolds, chrysanthemums, and geraniums may be pretty to look at, but bees don’t always flock to these flowers because of their distinctly strong aromas.
You can also plant herbs with strong smells to deter the bees, such as garlic and mint.
3. Water your grass and soil regularly
Bumblebees enjoy living in dry soil. To get rid of bumblebees, you want to make sure that your garden has the opposite.
Water your soil regularly so that it stays wet. This will make it a less attractive habitat for bees and may push them to find a new place to stay.
The easiest way to do this is to hose your garden down every day. To make it less tedious for you, install some automatic sprinklers that will water your garden every couple of hours. You might also want to add some mulch to the area to keep it moister.
Aside from dry soil, bumblebees also love thin grass. Grow some thick grass in your garden to make it less attractive to the colonies.
4. Call a beekeeping professional to relocate the bees
If you call pest control services about a bumble bee infestation, they might just use harsh, professional-grade pesticides to kill the bumblebees in your home.
This isn’t humane at all and is quite unnecessary, seeing as how bumblebees are gentle and don’t usually harm people. So, instead of calling an exterminator, contact a beekeeping professional instead.
Beekeepers know exactly how to handle bumblebees while keeping themselves safe from being stung. They can take a look at your bumblebee situation and create a plan to relocate the bees to a better home where they won’t bother people, like a bee apiary where they can continue pollinating.
It’s understandable if you want to get rid of the bumblebees in your garden, no matter how harmless and beneficial they are to the environment. No one wants to put their safety at risk of painful, harmful stings.
But when you’re trying to hatch a game plan for how to get rid of bumble bees, remember to be as humane as you can. Don’t kill them or do something drastic to destroy their nest. Instead, repel them with strong scents or wet soil. Better yet, call a professional beekeeper to relocate them.
There are many ways to get rid of bumble bees in your garden or yard without harming them. Take your pick from the methods we listed above. In no time, you’ll have a bumblebee-free home and more peace of mind that you won’t be getting stung by an angry bee any time soon.