Natural and chemical-free Bee And Wasp Repellents 

Updated: 20th April 2021

The bee friendly way to deter bees and wasps without harming them

I’m sometimes asked about my recommendations for a way to repel bees and wasps that can be used without causing harm to either.

There are a number of products available, including very effective natural based ingredients that can be used on the skin, and elsewhere.  This page focuses on some of the ways in which you can discourage bees and wasps by using items you might find in the store cupboard, or at the very least, you could make at home.

Natural and chemical-free  repellents

Wasp nests deterrents

You can deter wasps from making a nest with a Waspinator.

These items are not very expensive to purchase, but if you have time and a suitable material available, you could have a go at making one yourself. Waspinators mimic wasp nests, discouraging actual wasps from making a nest (they're very territorial).

Other Natural Bee And Wasp Repellent Ingredients You Can Try

Personally, I have never tried any of the following, for the simple reason that I have never wanted to repel bees and wasps, but I understand the following might work:

Do not spray these mixtures directly at bees or wasps, and be sure the surface where you are spraying can tolerate the mixture:

  • Garlic
    Crush garlic and add it to water.  Spray around the area where you wish to deter bees and wasps.

  • Coin And Bag Method
    It is said that a plastic transparent bag with a shiny coin inside, then filled with water and suspended from in the air close to an area where wasps might be a problem, helps to deter wasps.  Apparently, this causes subtle, high pitched vibration waves the wasps can detect, but humans cannot.  The wasps are deterred by the vibrations.  I have received feedback telling me this method is successful.

  • Aluminium Foil
    Attach aluminium foil around eaves or structures where you wish to prevent wasps and bees making nests.  Apparently, the reflection is disturbing to them and keeps them away.  I have no idea whether or not it works - if you try it and find it is successful, please let me know (images would also be appreciated).

  • White Vinegar
    Again, sprayed onto the area you wish to protect, it is said to help but, please be aware that vinegar can damage or kill plants.

  • Catnip Essential Oil
    Create a spray with this to deter bees and wasps.  I must admit, I'm surprised if this works.  Bees love catnip (nepeta) and can't resist foraging on it.  With regard to wasps, I have no idea.
  • Tea Tree Oil
    I have no idea if it works, but some people do believe it to be effective, and it’s something you can try on your skin as long as you have no allergies to the ingredients.

wasp sitting on a leaf - side view, with orange flowers in the background

Bee And Wasp Repellent Products I Do Not Recommend

  • Moth balls

    It really depends on the circumstances.  Moth balls are not safe to use around bees in enclosed bee hives.

    Moth balls release a gas that is toxic for bees, although if they are used in a non-enclosed space, they should act to repel the bees, rather than actually kill them.  In any event, you could instead use an aluminium foil lining stapled under the eaves, or better still, use a Waspinator as described above.

    However, I tend not to recommend moth balls because there are natural alternatives.   See help with bees.
  • DEET

    This is basically a toxic insecticide. 


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