The sunny summer months bring a lot of backyard fun with all the family cookouts, playdates, and lots of splashing in the pool. However, the sweet sounds of laughter and excitement can quickly be interrupted by the buzzing of bees. While bees offer many benefits as pollinators, their stings can be annoying, painful, and even life-threatening to those with severe allergies. Although bees gain nothing from stinging you and are not trying to get you, you may unintentionally provoke them. Protect those who are most vulnerable and keep your family and friends safe by making your swimming pool area less attractive to bees.
Why Do Bees Suddenly Appear?
Your swimming pool is not just a refreshing body of water to you; insects and animals also appreciate a cool body of water. You have probably noticed bees, insects, and maybe even a few other critters in the water from time to time. Bees need water just as much as humans, and your swimming pool water is enticing to them for a few reasons. Water contains essential minerals for bees, and honeybees also use water to dilute their honey for their brood. In addition, bees take water back to their hive and fan it with their wings. As the water evaporates, it cools the hive and helps regulate the internal temperature.
Bees are also guided by their sense of smell, which means they are attracted to various scents that are plentiful around your pool during the summer, such as:
- minerals and chemicals in the swimming pool water
- salt in a saltwater pool or hot tub
- open drinks and uncovered food
- flowery fragrances like scented sunscreen, hairspray, or perfume
- Knowing how to control these factors can make for a more pleasant outdoor experience.
9 Tips On Keeping Bees Away From the Pool
No matter how beneficial the local bee population is, it is not convenient or even safe for some people to have them flying through the backyard all summer. Fortunately, there are several tips you can follow to deter the bees from congregating in the same place as you and the family. You may need to combine these methods to keep bees away from the pool, but hopefully, you’ll have a pest-free backyard oasis in no time.
- Provide an Alternate Source of Water
An attractive source of water near a hive may potentially be enough to keep bees away from your swimming pool water. Since biologists believe bees find water by scent rather than sight and tend to prefer mucky water, many beekeepers suggest that your water source have a smell that is attractive to bees. You can include some aquatic plants, organic debris, or aim for some other type of earthy aroma. You can also spike it with a tiny bit of chlorine since bees are attracted to that smell. You will want to ensure the water source is not shared with pets or livestock and that it does not go dry throughout the year. If the water source is not reliable, the bees may end up right back at your pool when searching for a more consistent water source.
Ideally, you will want the new water source to be in the bees’ flight path between their hive and your pool area but far enough away from your pool that they are not bothering you. However, it can be difficult to get bees to leave their water source, so you may need to lure them away over the course of several days. You can do this by filling a shallow tin pan with sand and then adding pool water. Gradually move the pie pans a few feet further from the pool each day until you reach the new water source.
- Avoid Fragrant Flowers
The landscaping you choose around your pool area is essential. Bright colors and fragrant flowers can be very attractive to pollinators, with flowers and bees both benefitting from a symbiotic relationship. Recognizing which flowers are attractive to bees can help you decide if you need to make changes to your landscape. For example, you may opt to go with non-flowering shrubs or less attractive flowering plants.
- Repel the Bees
There are a few different ways you can repel bees. While certain scents are particularly appealing to bees, others tend to repel them. Take your pick from some of the following ideas.
Landscape with Scented Plants – If you don’t want to get rid of your favorite flowers just yet, consider adding in plants such as mint or lemongrass, which are known to act as repellents. You can also try some potted plants around your pool area. Talk to a local beekeeper or landscape architect about which options are best for keeping bees away.
Dryer Sheets – You may try tucking dryer sheets under patio furniture or around the pool area. It is believed that bees are repelled by the scent, leaving you with a fresh-smelling yard while they head the other way.
Mothballs – Though this particular scent may not be desirable to you, the unpleasant odor of mothballs may also help deter bees and other pests. Try hanging them in a decorative cloth bag near the pool to keep the area free of bees.
Essential Oils – In addition to mints, there are other scents that are effective at deterring bees. You can use essential oils and spray items like patio furniture, pool toys, and towels. Bees tend to avoid eucalyptus, thyme, lavender oil, citronella oil, lemon, and lime.
- Check for Nests
If bees feel threatened or territorial around their nest, they may become aggressive. Be proactive and look for nests around your pool and yard. Hives may commonly be found along fences, under decks or porches, and even in playground equipment. If you notice a nest, keep people and pets away. Contact an experienced beekeeper or exterminator in your area to have the hive safely removed and relocated. If your backyard invaders are coming from a local beekeeper’s hive, you may have to work harder at deterring or redirecting them to another water source. Take time to talk to the beekeeper and try to find the best solution for everyone.
- Use Unscented Sunscreen
Remember, scented sunscreen can attract bees. Sunscreen is essential, of course, but choose an unscented variety for the best results. Also, consider washing off your perfume or cologne and hairsprays, and encourage guests to come fragrance-free if you’re dealing with a bee problem. This is also better for your pool water, as residues from products that swimmers wear just make the water dirtier.
- Cover Food and Drinks
Sweet and sticky beverages are especially attractive to bees, with soda cans being a major culprit. Pour your beverages into a cup or bottle with a secure lid. Keep food in closed containers.
- Clean the Pool
Keeping your swimming pool clean is important. Leaves, sticks, and other debris floating in the pool give bees a place to rest as they collect water. If you’re wondering why a good pool skimmer matters, this is just one of the many reasons. Using a quality pool leaf rake daily can help you get the debris out as quickly as possible. If you let organic matter start to break down in the pool, it can create more odors that will continue to attract bees.
- Use the Jets
If your pool has jets, use them when you are swimming. Bees are not good swimmers and tend to avoid turbulent water. Pool jets, waterfalls, and other water features that make ripples in the water can signal danger to bees, causing them to steer clear of the water.
- Change Your Wardrobe
Bees are attracted to bright colors and see a broader range of colors than humans. If you are currently dealing with a bee invasion, try to avoid colorful clothing and swimsuits or using brightly colored towels. You may also want to wear a hat while lounging around the pool. Bees are hyper aware of hair and fur, so wearing a hat will not only protect your eyes and face from the sun, it’ll help you blend into the environment better.
Having bees by the pool isn’t always fun, but luckily a clean pool shouldn’t have too much of an issue if you follow our steps.
Bees are annoying and can even be dangerous, but they are vital to the environment. Learning how to deter bees, rather than exterminating them, is helpful for the local ecosystem. Following the above steps or working with a local beekeeper is the best way to create a peaceful poolside experience. As a pool owner, keeping your pool clean and well maintained is essential for deterring a variety of pests and other issues. At ProTuff, we pride ourselves on offering the best pool tools and a variety of pool maintenance resources to make pool ownership as straightforward as possible. If you have questions about our products or your pool, contact us today. One of our friendly staff will be thrilled to help you!
Disclaimer: Pool ownership and maintenance is very complicated, and we know every situation is unique. While we’ve done our best to cover the best practices here, we encourage you to reach out to ProTuff directly at email@example.com with any specific questions you may have.