Tip: Your first port of call when removing bees is to contact your local beekeepers. Their contact details can be found online or in the Yellow Pages.
This time of year many people will find bees a problem; more especially when they swarm, using the right method of pest control is very important. With the decline in bee populations it seems a shame to exterminate them when they do in fact provide us with necessary services of pollinating plants and flowers and of course making honey.
A solitary bee many inadvertently find its way into your premises and can be shushed outside relatively easily; if it’s a little stubborn you can always place a glass over it, slide a piece of paper under the glass and let it free outside. However, if you, or a member of your household, has an allergy to bee stings it’s wise to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Unlike wasps or hornets, bees won’t sting unless they are aggravated; it’s their last method of self-defence. You can use chemical sprays if needs must.
Swarms of bees can be extremely scary, the sheer number of bees and their noise should alert you to their whereabouts, typically a tree, but they may also take a fancy to your chimney stack or a wall cavity. Never try and approach swarming bees as they are liable to sting and we’re not talking one or two stings here!
Local bee keepers will be able to help you and will relish a phone call. They’ll come and assess the situation and tell you whether they want to take your bee swarm or nest away to replenish their own beehive stocks. If the bees are in your chimney don’t try and smoke them out; in reality it’s rarely successful and the chances are they’ll return, especially if they have built honeycombs.
For commercial premises, such as schools or hospitals, pest control companies may be able to help. However, they will only exterminate the bees as a last resort; which is a great shame when beekeepers will usually offer a free service and keep the bees alive to make honey and help pollinate fruits and vegetables for us.
Having said that, if you’re responsible for a public external or internal space you may well have a duty of care to help protect the public for what could potentially be a life threatening situation (for those who are allergic to bee stings) and consult pest control experts.
If you are looking for advice on pest control for bees, please contact us.
Choosing Your Party Location
Choose Your Picnic Location Carefully
- Avoid choosing your party spot near trash cans, as they tend to attract lots of bees.
- If you do see a nest of bees nearby, or notice bees flying to and from a particular area, choose another location. Observe the area around your chosen spot to check for bees before you start to load in.
- Bees like tall grass for ground nests and quiet places such as unused play structures and sheds for hives. Watch for those.
Try These Tips to Prep Your Picnic Area and Help Keep The Bees Away
- Take a banana peel, cut into thin strips then insert strips into an empty 2 liter bottle. Combine 1 cup sugar with 1 cup vinegar, stir, then pour the mixture into the bottle. Fill the bottle up with water to 2 inches below the neck. Tie a piece of string around the neck and hang it from a nearby tree branch.
- Moth balls are another effective repellent for bees. Cut the feet off of a few pairs of pantyhose and fill them with moth balls. Tie the pantyhose off and hang them around your picnic area. The pungent odor will discourage bees and also keep other insects away.
- Bees are very territorial and by nature will attack anything that comes near their hives. Bees typically will avoid enemy hives, or what they think are enemy hives in fear of being attacked. Trick them by making fake hives. Blow up a few brown paper bags and tie them off. Hang them around your picnic area. I haven’t tried this, but it makes sense that the bees might be fooled that you’re surrounded by hives of another colony and stay away.
- Set out a bowl or cup with some flat soda, fruit juice, maple syrup, or sugar water a few yards away from your picnic. Bees are attracted to the sugary scent and will pursue this instead of your lunch. If possible, set out the bee bait 20 minutes or so before you begin your picnic. Bees can actually “talk” to each other, so this will give them time to all gather at the same spot and hopefully keep them busy while you enjoy your picnic. It may not get rid of all of them, but it will distract most of them.
- If you’re really bothered by bees, bring one of those netted tent canopies to seal the bees outside. It will keep the bees from being attracted to your food, and give you a safe environment to enjoy your day.
- Use a pot of marigolds as a centerpiece on your table. They’re pretty, and they naturally repel bees and other bugs. They find the scent unpleasant.
Prepping the Eating Area
- Set up the food table away from where everyone will be gathered.
- Bring some mint leaves with you and sprinkle them around your eating area. This plant will help to mask the sweet smell of your food so the bees will possibly completely ignore you and your feast.
- Avoid bright colors and floral prints for your tablecloth or picnic blanket. Be careful when selecting plates and napkins. Make sure they are all white or another non-floral color. Especially avoid using floral printed plates or accessories at your picnic.Bees notice bright hues as well as sweet smells. If something looks like a flower, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll have some bees coming to check it out.
- Buy a few of those toilet bowl cleaners that you attach to the rim of toilets. Stick them to the bottom of your picnic table, chairs and BBQ grill. Pull the wrapper open slightly. Bees don’t like the smell.
- Put out 4-5 cloves on the table. Bees hate the smell and should stay away while your eating.
- When planning food for your outdoor party, try to avoid any foods with strong smells, as these will attract bees. Stick to foods that are bland, with very little odor. Basically, if you don’t want to attract bees, don’t bring fried chicken, smoked salmon, etc. or barbecue any food that smells good while it’s cooking. Whaaaat? ALL food smells good on a BBQ!
- Don’t bring out your food until you’re ready to eat. Open food will attract bees as well as a variety of other insects.
- Keep your food items in closed containers as much as possible. Use lids for your food containers and your beverages, or cover them with a plate, foil, or plastic wrap, in order to prevent the bees from climbing into the food and stinging someone in the mouth. If you can hide some of the aromas of your meal, the bees may not pick you up as quickly on their radar.
- Be particularly careful to cover high-sugar foods and drinks (like sodas). Bees are especially attracted to them. Yellow jackets, in particular, love to crawl into sodas, especially Dr. Pepper.
- The scent of barbecue is especially attractive to bees and wasps and brings them in to see what you’ve got cookin’! Do what you can to keep that delicious odor downplayed as much as possible.
- Keep the food and trash bins tightly covered when not in use. This will help reduce the wafting aromas that might entice these pesky insects.
- Dispose of any garbage right away.
What to Wear to Your Picnic
Kidding. Bees are attracted to scents and colors of flowers because they are gathering nectar for food. So if a person looks or smells like a flower, they are more likely to attract the attention of a bee.
How Do You Look?
- Don’t wear clothing that features highly contrasting patterns or colors. Bold, darker colors like red and black resemble natural predators and are likely to cause bees to become more aggressive towards you. Don’t wear floral patterns. Pastels are a good choice. White is best.
- Loose-fitting, flowing clothing may attract and trap bees.
- Wear clothes that have a smooth texture. Corduroy and other fuzzy clothes, such as wool, resemble the fur of predators (like skunks and badgers), Wear cotton or a lightweight fabric.
- Avoid wearing shiny buckles and jewelry. Any shiny metal on you creates a homing beacon of interest in the sun for them.
How Do You Smell?
- Don’t wear scented body lotion, flower-scented body sprays, scented soap, heavily scented shampoo, scented deodorant or other scented personal care products. Bees use their sense of smell to find flowers to pollinate. If you smell like one, you could be a target!
- The scent of perfume, hair spray, hair gels, suntan lotion, aftershave lotions and many other cosmetics attract bees. Try to avoid them.
- If you’ve washed the clothes you have on in scented laundry detergent, you may smell more delicious to bees. Also, if your laundry detergent contains UV brighteners, bees may be able to pick up on that, even if you’re wearing light colors.
- Wear a hat. Hairy animals often try to invade bees nests, so you may be misjudged as the enemy if your locks are flowing. According to our research, it has been proven that bees pay less attention to humans who wear hats to cover their hair.
- Wear close-toed shoes, not sandals or flip flops.Long grass can house ground nests. Be careful.
- Even though outdoor parties are usually held when it’s warm out, wearing long sleeves and pants reduces the amount of exposed skin available for stinging.