Bees and wasps are two insects notoriously famous for their annoying buzz and painful stingers. They descend from the same insect order Hymenoptera and are outdoor insects that love flowers and plants of various varieties.
If you’re an outdoor person, you’ve most likely encountered these insects on several occasions, disturbing your picnics or building hives where they shouldn’t. If you’re looking for a way to naturally deter them from encroaching in your space, you should consider adding plants that repel bees and wasps to the vegetation in your garden.
Even though bees, wasps, and flowering plants share a close relationship, there are some plants that repel bees and wasps. They include;
- Common thyme
- Lemon grass
- Pitcher plants
- Canna Lilies
7 Plants That Will Keep Bees And Wasps Away
Bees are flowering insects and pollinators, often found where flowering plants are. This means if you have a lot of flowers in your garden, there is a high chance that you may find a honeybee nest nearby.
Even though wasps are majorly carnivorous, they are often found in the same environment as bees as they usually co-habitat in the same area.
If a sweet-smelling garden only attracts bees and wasps, how can you naturally discourage them from coming close without harming your existing garden?
By growing certain plants in and around your garden, you’re forming a perimeter that protects your flowers from attracting bees and wasps.
Here are some plants that help to get the job done;
This green vegetable is highly nutritious and does a fine job of keeping bees and wasps away. Cucumbers contain a chemical called Cucurbitacin in their peel, which emits pungent smells bees and wasps often run away from.
Cucumbers are creeping plants, which makes it easy to grow as a border around your garden. If you’re growing this vegetable, ensure you plant it in slightly acidic soil and water it as often as you can.
Besides planting cucumbers, you can also chop the vegetable and use it as a bee and wasp deterrent in your garden.
To do this, occasionally spread cucumber peels around your garden, as the bitter skin will keep bees away even without planting it. However, this method may not be sustainable, and it is advisable to grow the cucumber plant itself for long-term results.
Besides adding a lovely pop of color to your garden, geraniums are popular flowers that are ironically effective in keeping bees and wasps away. Even though they are flowering plants, they do not contain a lot of pollen and emit scents pungent to bees and wasps.
Red geraniums are particularly preferred because bees do not see the color red. Besides the pungent smell of red geraniums, bees do not notice them in your garden and are not attracted to them as they would normally be to other brightly colored flowers.
When planting geraniums, remember that they require four to six hours of sunlight each day and will not thrive on cold nights. Hence, it is advisable to plant them in pots that can be transported around your garden. Alternatively, you can plant them in strategic locations around your garden where they can receive enough sunlight but will not be affected by cold weather.
3. The Mint Plant
This ornamental spice is a worldwide favorite food ingredient and a cocktail garnish. However, as loved as it is by humans, it is equally hated by bees and wasps. The scent of mint leaves will keep your garden smelling fresh while chasing away bees and wasps. It’s a win-win for you.
When planting mints, keep in mind that they are fast-growing plants and will try to take over your garden if you don’t keep them in check. As such, experts advise that you plant them near plants like tomatoes and cabbages as they help to regulate the nutrient uptake and growth spurts of mint plants.
Additionally, you can grow mint plants in flower pots, which allow you to trim them as often as needed, keeping their growth in check. If you plant them in light soil and keep them where they can access adequate sunlight, mint plants will thrive and release a fresh fragrance that spells trouble for wasps and bees.
If you are skeptical about planting mint in your garden, you can keep bees and wasps away by crushing fresh mint leaves and sprinkling them around the perimeter of your vegetation. However, the mint leaves will lose their fragrance once they dry up, so you must repeat this every few days to keep the scent strong.
This unique plant is portable, low maintenance, and an effective bee and wasp repellent. Pennyroyals emit scents similar to mint and are hated by all varieties of bees and wasps. They are portable, smaller plants that grow six to 12 inches.
Pennyroyals are best grown in moist loamy soil that has a good amount of organic matter. When grown properly, they not only keep bees and wasps from entering your garden, but they also repel other insects like mosquitoes, gnats, ticks, and fleas.
Because of their size, these plants can be grown in several small pots and distributed around the perimeter of your garden. They require little maintenance and will thrive on occasional watering schedules.
An additional advantage of growing pennyroyals in your garden is that they will help to keep bees and wasps away from your skin too. When crushed, they can be applied to your skin as a natural insect repellent.
5. Pitcher Plants
Unlike the previously mentioned plants, the pitcher plant does not keep bees and wasps away by emitting a spicy scent; instead, it digests them. Pitcher plants are carnivorous and feed by trapping insects and digesting them slowly for nutrition.
The downside to planting pitcher plants is that they are challenging to grow and only thrive in tropical climates with direct sunlight and adequate rainfall. They act as trap crops by attracting bees and wasps with their glossy and colorful appearance. When bees and wasps come near, they are trapped and used as food by the carnivorous pitcher plants.
These plants are also quite tricky to maintain. If you’re using this method to keep bees and wasps away, it is best to plant other plants like mint or geranium and use them simultaneously for maximum efficiency.
Wormwood contains a powerful compound called absinthe. This makes it an effective repellent against bees and wasps. Wormwood is also known as Artemisia and can be grown in small pots.
A disadvantage of planting wormwood in your garden as a bee deterrent is that the absinthe it emits can be toxic to other plants. As such, it should be grown reasonably at a distance within the perimeter of your garden.
Besides planting it in pots, you can also cut off the leaves and stems of wormwood, dry them, and hang them around your house to deter bees and wasps. However, this is the more traditional method.
In modern times, wormwood oil can be extracted and used as an essential oil which is also effective in keeping unwanted insect pests away.
Citronella grass emits a strong, citrus-like smell that spells bad news for bees and wasps. This plant blooms in the summer to produce beautiful pink flowers. However, it remains a strong bee and wasp repellent due to its smell. Hence, it will do a fine job keeping your garden beautiful while warding wasps and bees away.
Citronella not only thrives outside but will also grow well as an indoor plant. When potting it, ensure you grow it in an area with easy access to filtered sunlight and air. It should also be planted near taller plants and trees to help shade it from sweltering and sunny days.
For optimum growth, experts advise planting citronella in soft, warm soil with proper drainage after frost has melted away. It is also a good mosquito repellent and can be planted in areas infested with mosquitoes to keep them away.
Other Ways Of Keeping Bees And Wasps Away
Besides growing the numerous plants mentioned above, here are some simple ways you can keep those pesky stingers away from your garden;
1. Avoid Brightly Colored Plants
Bees are attracted to brightly colored plants. While these may do wonders by beautifying your garden, they also attract bees in their numbers. Therefore, if you are planting brightly colored flowers in your garden, ensure you grow bee and wasp-repellent flowers as well.
2. Avoid Flowering Plants
Besides brightly colored plants, plants that produce flowers often attract bees and wasps due to the nectar they have. Once bees smell nectar, they will troop into your garden, looking for ways to pollinate. While that may be good news for the environment, it might cause problems for you.
3. Keep Sugary Substances Away
Bees and wasps love sweet and sugary substances and will visit your garden frequently if you keep any of such substances around. Hence, keep sweet things inside your house and always keep your garbage cans tightly closed to avoid accidentally inviting these unwanted guests.
Among the thousands of plant varieties known to man, certain plants keep bees and wasps away. These plants include citronella grass, lemon grass, wormwood, mint, basil, eucalyptus, pitcher plants, pennyroyal, and geraniums.
When growing these plants, ensure you pot them strategically to form a boundary around your garden. Additionally, avoid growing flowering or brightly colored plants, as these attract bees and wasps.