How to Get Rid of Bees Outside: 6 Safe Ways

While bees are important pollinators that you want to attract to your garden, too many can lead to problems. Outdoor activities such as throwing a pool party or mowing the lawn can disturb bees and make them feel threatened, causing them to hover, chase, and even sting.

Because they are beneficial insects that play a critical role in pollination, you want to do your best to keep them alive. The best way to do this while keeping you and your guests safe is to create an environment that deters bees altogether, in the areas of your yard you don’t want them.

Here are several effective ways to get rid of bees outdoors without harming or killing them.

Add Plants That Naturally Repel Bees

A natural and effective way to get rid of bees in your yard is to add plants that deter bees. Bees flock to flowering plants with a sweet scent, indicating they’re likely full of nectar or pollen, which the bees are attracted to. However, plants with strong and potent smells—mint, marigolds, eucalyptus, garlic, lemongrass, and citronella—are off-putting to bees. To deter bees away from certain parts of your yard or garden, add one or several of these bee-repelling plants.

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Spray a Vinegar Solution Around Affected Areas

Vinegar is a great non-chemical solution for deterring bees and other pests. Unlike bug sprays and insecticides that rely on chemicals to repel insects, vinegar is not harmful to humans or plants. Add a 1:1 ratio of diluted vinegar and water to a spray bottle and spray the vinegar solution around any areas you frequently see bees, which will avoid those areas and their strong, unpleasant vinegary scent.

Hang Mothballs Around Your Property

Moths aren’t the only insects deterred by the scent of mothballs. Bees don’t like their unpleasant, acrid smell either. Add mothballs to a cloth bag or pantyhose and hang it by an area frequented by bees. This will act as a defense against bees, keeping them away without harming them.

Keep Food and Drinks Covered

Many bees feed on sweet nectar from flowers, which is sugary and fragrant. That’s why bees so often flock to your outdoor feasts—they’re attracted to the sweet smells of sugary sodas and fresh fruit.

To keep them away from your pool, patio, or picnic, keep all food and drinks covered unless you’re actively consuming them. And if possible, remove any sweet food or drinks altogether.

Avoid Decor in Certain Colors

Bees, like many insects, are not able to see the color red. But they are able to see certain colors that fall on the green, blue, and ultraviolet end of the color spectrum—which is why they are so attracted to flowers with these certain colors.

To prevent bees from being attracted to a certain outdoor area, it can be helpful to avoid furniture and decorations that are blue, violet, or green.

Relocate the Hive

If bees are constantly flying around your backyard or garden, it’s possible they may have constructed a beehive on your property. If their presence is presenting a problem, contact a licensed bee removal expert to relocate the bees safely. They will devise a plan to remove the hive safely. Once they find the queen, the hive can be relocated.

Other Tips For Getting Rid of Bees Outside

  • Bees rely on vision and smell to find their food. If you want to keep bees away, make sure the environment doesn’t remind a bee of the color or scent of a flower.
  • To survive, bees need food, water, and somewhere to build a shelter (a beehive). Make the outdoor area more hostile to bee populations by removing one or more of these.
  • In addition to planting bee-repelling plants, you can sprinkle strong-smelling spices like cinnamon, garlic powder, or cayenne pepper to deter bees.
  • There are more than 20,000 bee species in the world, 4,000 of which are native to the United States. Make sure you remove the food or shelter source for the specific bee species you’re targeting. Carpenter bees, for example, burrow into wood to make their nests, whereas bumble bees nest in underground burrows.


  • To keep bees away, add bee-deterring plants and decor with strong smells that bees find unpleasant. Some of these off-putting scents include mint, eucalyptus, thyme, and vinegar. You can also hang mothballs outside to keep the bees away.

  • Yes, the scent of vinegar deters bees and many other insects. Spray vinegar around any areas you frequently see bees.

  • Mothballs have an unpleasant odor that repels both moths and bees. Hanging mothballs outside is an effective defense against bees.

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