How to Keep Bees Out of Your House: 10 Simple and Effective Tips

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The buzzing of bees around your home can be annoying at best and downright frightening at worst. While bees play an important role in pollinating plants, you definitely don’t want them setting up a hive inside your house! Fortunately, there are steps you can take to deter bees and prevent them from infiltrating your home. In this article, we’ll explore why it’s crucial to keep bees out of your house and provide 10 simple but effective tips to do just that.

Why Is It Important to Keep Bees Out of Your House?

Before diving into how to keep bees away, it’s helpful to understand why it’s so important to prevent them from entering in the first place. Here are some key reasons you’ll want to take steps to deter bees from your home:

  • Stings hurt! Bee stings are painful and can cause severe allergic reactions in some people. Even if you aren’t allergic, repeated stings are no fun. Keeping bees away reduces your risk of getting stung.
  • Property damage. If bees do set up a hive or nest on or inside your home, they can cause significant property damage. Bees bore holes into wood and use wax to build honeycomb and nests. This can ruin interior and exterior walls, floors, and ceilings.
  • Disease risk. Bees can carry diseases transmittable to humans, including tuberculosis. Close proximity increases your chance of infection.
  • Safety hazard. Bee swarms around doorways or other high-traffic areas pose a safety risk, especially for children or guests unaware of the hazard.
  • Difficult removal. Extracting a bee colony that’s already settled is much more complicated than preventing one in the first place. Professional removal can be expensive.

Simply put, it’s in your best interest to deter bees proactively instead of reacting after the fact. A bit of time and effort upfront can save you a whole lot of trouble down the road.

What Attracts Bees to Your House?

To keep bees away, it helps to understand what draws them in. Bees forage near food sources and seek out locations to build hives and nests. Here are common reasons bees may be attracted to your house:

  • Flowering plants and trees. Bees seek out nectar and pollen from flowers. Blossoming trees, flower beds, and ornamental plants provide food sources that appeal to bees.
  • Openings. Small gaps or holes on the exterior of your home provide access for bees to get inside. Attics, chimneys, gaps along siding, and cracks around windows and doors are inviting if exposed.
  • Water sources. Bees need water to cool their hives and make honey. Sources like birdbaths, leaky faucets, or rain collection barrels can draw in bees if accessible.
  • Gardens and compost. Plant sugars from garden vegetation and fruits and the sweet scent of compost can lure bees close to your house.
  • Exterior surfaces. The textured, dry surface of wood, stucco or concrete siding provides an ideal spot for bees to build hives and nests.
  • Sweet smells. Bees have an excellent sense of smell and are attracted to floral fragrances and the scent of food and drinks with sugar.

With an awareness of what appeals to bees around your home, you can now focus on tips to discourage them from sticking around.

Tips for Keeping Bees Out of Your House

Here are 10 highly effective methods to deter bees and prevent them from infiltrating your house:

1. Seal Up Any Cracks or Holes in Your Home

One of the most important ways to keep bees out is to eliminate any entry points into your home. Carefully inspect the exterior of your house and seal up any small gaps, cracks or holes with caulk, expanding foam or another weatherproof sealant. Areas to check include:

  • Around windows, doors, pipes, vents and wiring holes
  • Gaps between siding boards, shingles or stucco
  • Openings around chimneys, furnace vents and attic vents
  • Spaces under eaves, soffits and overhangs
  • Hollow fence posts or gaps in exterior walls

Sealing up your home leaves bees no way to get inside and build a nest. Caulking small cracks also helps block other unwelcome critters like cockroaches or mice.

2. Keep Your Trash Cans Covered and Away From Your House

Bees swarm around sugary substances, so a can full of soda cans, juice boxes and food waste is like a lunch buffet. To make your trash less tantalizing:

  • Keep trash cans tightly sealed with secure, clamp-style lids
  • Clean the exterior of cans regularly to avoid sticky spills
  • Place your garbage and recycling bins away from your home’s entrance and keep them out of direct sunlight
  • Take trash to the curb as late as possible before pickup to minimize the bee-attracting period

3. Avoid Using Sweet-Smelling Perfumes or Lotions

Bees have an ultra sensitivity to smell and zero in on sweet scents emitted by flowers to find nectar. Sweet-smelling soaps, perfumes, scented candles and sugary-fresh lotions can have the same effect, drawing bees to you or your home. Consider using unscented toiletries and cleaning products outside during bee season.

4. Remove Any Standing Water from Your Yard

Bees need a water source while foraging far from their hive. Limit the appeal of your yard by eliminating accessible water:

  • Drain birdbaths and fountains or change water daily
  • Fix dripping spigots and irrigation leaks
  • Clear rain gutters that may pool water
  • Fill in ruts or low areas that collect water after rains
  • Cover sandboxes and small pools when not in use

You’ll deter bees while also eliminating a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Win-win!

5. Plant Bee-Repellent Plants Around Your Home

Certain plants naturally repel bees with their strong scent, sticky resin or prickly texture. Planting these around doorways, patios and play areas helps block bees from approaching your house. Bee-repelling plants include:

  • Citronella grass
  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Lavender
  • Catnip
  • Clover
  • Marigolds
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Bee balm

Group repellent plants together for maximum impact. Reapply crushed leaves or oils from these plants as another layer of defense.

6. Use Essential Oils to Repel Bees

Essential oils like peppermint, lemongrass, tea tree, eucalyptus and citronella have strong aromas that overwhelm bees’ sense of smell and disguise more attractive scents. Try these easy applications:

  • Place cotton balls soaked with oil around problem areas
  • Spray outdoor surfaces with a diluted oil solution
  • Add 5-10 drops of oil to a diffuser on your porch or patio
  • Mix with water in a spray bottle for an all-natural bee repellent

Refresh oils every few days to maintain the repellent effects. Oils diffuse quickly outdoors but still provide an unpleasant barrier for bees.

7. Install Bee Screens on Your Windows and Doors

Physical barriers like window screens provide a line of defense to keep flying pests like bees from entering your home. Ensure screens have holes smaller than bees (about 1/8 inch) and cover all windows, doors, large vents and other openings. Tightly seal any tears with caulk or tape. Screens block entry while allowing airflow and light.

8. Keep Your Lawn Mowed and Garden Tidy

Overgrown yards, weedy flower beds and untidy compost heaps can attract foraging bees. Regular upkeep helps deter them:

  • Mow your lawn frequently to avoid flowering weeds
  • Deadhead spent blooms and prune hedges to reduce pollen sources
  • Weed and mulch garden beds to minimize flowering weeds
  • Turn and moisten compost piles to reduce sweet odors
  • Clear away fallen, rotting fruit and veggies that attract bees

By keeping your yard tidy, you’ll also enjoy a lower-maintenance and more aesthetically pleasing landscape!

9. Avoid Wearing Bright, Patterned or Floral Clothing Outside

Again, bees zero in on flowers by sight and smell. Bright colors, especially floral patterns, can unfortunately mimic the look and scent of blossoms and attract unwanted attention from bees. When spending time outdoors:

  • Opt for solid, light-colored clothing
  • Avoid perfumes or scented lotions
  • Wear opaque shoes and socks instead of sandals
  • Cover skin as much as possible

Yes, this may require temporarily sacrificing your vibrant wardrobe for more muted tones. But it beats getting chased around the yard by a curious bee!

10. Call a Professional Beekeeper If You Have a Beehive In Your Home

If you find honeycombs or a large number of bees invading your home’s interior, you likely have an established beehive that requires expert removal. Don’t attempt this yourself! Call a professional beekeeper or exterminator to safely relocate the colony. Failing to completely remove all traces of the hive will lead bees to return and re-infiltrate your house. Professional removal may cost several hundred dollars but is vital to permanently solving a bee infestation.

Conclusion: Enjoy a Bee-Free Home

Having bees freely buzzing about your home can certainly be alarming and disruptive. Fortunately, you now have plenty of simple, affordable options to deter bees and prevent them from becoming a nuisance around your house. With a focus on sealing up access points, removing attractants, using repellents and keeping a tidy landscape, you can humanely and easily discourage bees from sticking around. Implementing a few of the techniques in this article will help you keep bees out and enjoy a safe, peaceful outdoor living space. Here’s to a lush, bee-free yard!

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