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How To Stop Sweat Bees From Ruining Your Outdoor Activities

Looking for a way to repel sweat bees and stop them from ruining your time outdoors? As late summer arrives, so does the onslaught of sweat bees. And can they ever be annoying!

The tiny glowing-green bodied bees seem to always find you – no matter where you are. It can be bad enough as they hover all around your arms, legs and face. But they are also certainly capable of stepping it up a notch with an occasional little sting as well.

One thing is for sure, sweat bees can certainly be a problem. Especially if you happen to be trying to enjoy outdoor activities or a nice meal on your back patio or deck.

how to stop sweat bees
Sweat bees seem to come alive in late summer and early fall. Not only is their constant hovering annoying, their occasional stings can be quite painful too.

So is it really possible to keep them away? Believe it or not, with a bit of preparation and a few simple repelling methods and techniques, you can. And in the process, learn to co-exist with these tiny creatures that actually serve as a huge benefit to Mother Nature.

Sweat Bees, Nature’s Pollinating Machines – How To Stop Sweat Bees

The first thing to realize is that sweat bees serve a huge purpose in nature. Especially when it comes to pollination. So spraying to eliminate them can actually cause way more harm than good.

There are actually more than 1200 hundred species of sweat bees. And they all belong to the Halictidea family of bees. One of the most beneficial aspects of the sweat bee is that they are non-discriminatory when it comes to pollinating flowers.

Where some bees or pollinators choose only a select few plants, sweat bees pollinate any and all flowers they come upon. In doing so, they help to keep thousands upon thousands of flowers viable and flourishing from year to year.

And it’s exactly why they are important to keeping our habitat and wildlife blooming. Especially with the current struggles of the honey bee. So instead of spraying or trapping the sweat bees to eliminate them, it’s far better to simply find ways to repel sweat bees from the outdoor spaces you want to enjoy.

sweat bees pollinating asters
Sweat bees are one of nature’s best pollinators. Here, a sweat bee is pollinating an aster flower

Here’s the good news – there are actually some pretty easy ways to keep them away from your outdoor space – and still allow them to continue their pollinating ways far away from your activities.

How To Repel & Stop Sweat Bees

Why do sweat bees happen to love humans so much? The biggest reason of all is that sweat bees are attracted to salt. And there is no easier and more available source of salt than human sweat. It is, after all, how sweat bees first obtained their name!

That is exactly why, as soon as the weather turns warm and humid, sweat bees emerge to begin spoiling outdoor activities. But there are a few things that work well to repel sweat bees once the “hot season” has arrived. And here are 3 of the best:

#1 Fans / Air Movement – How To Stop Sweat Bees

One of the best ways of all to repel sweat bees is with good air circulation. And the more air the better!

As mentioned earlier, the Halictidea family of bees are highly attracted to humidity, sweat and salt. And by providing good air flow and a breeze, all three of the above are reduced greatly. Even more, if the breeze is strong enough, the tiny flying bees have great difficulty navigating to your skin.

fans on a porch
A ceiling fan placed over a patio dining area can greatly reduce sweat bees and all insects.

If you will be dining outside, a strategically placed fan can keep your table and the food on it clear of bees. Patio and outdoor ceiling fans are another great investment to greatly reduce the number of sweat bees that will congregate in the area.

#2 Keeping The Ground Covered Around Patio And Outdoor Spaces – How To Stop Sweat Bees

Believe it or not, one of the best ways to keep sweat bees away is by keeping the ground covered around where you enjoy the great outdoors. In fact, it is the absolute best first line of defense when it comes to repelling sweat bees.

Unlike the honeybee, which lives in a colony, the sweat bee is a solitary insect. And they create their nests in bare, exposed soil. Keeping flowerbeds full of plants and covered in a thick coat of mulch around your porch, patio and other outdoor living spaces will keep them from having their “home” right next to you.

Another great way to keep them from living in your backyard is to keep your lawn mowed at a higher level. Mowing your grass higher encourages thicker grass, which means less open soil spaces below for them to nest. As an added benefit, of course, it also creates a healthier lawn!

By keeping any and all exposed soil away from where you enjoy the outdoors, you force the sweat bees to nest far away. And the farther away they nest, the less likely they will become a problem!

One final important note on this topic – don’t forget your potted plants and hanging baskets! Sweat bees love to reside in the soil in container plants. To keep them away, top coat your container plants with an inch or two of mulch.

Not only will it help keep them from nesting, it will also help to conserve moisture in your plants as well. See : 5 Simple Tips To Keep Your Hanging Baskets Blooming All Summer Long

#3 Mint, Mint, And More Mint To Repel & Stop Sweat Bees!

When it comes to repelling sweat bees – mint can be your best friend. There is a long list of insects that simply do not like the smell of mint. And sweat bees are at the top of the list! You can actually use mint in a wide variety of ways to help keep them away from you and your outdoor spaces:

  • Growing Mint Pots – Grow pots of mint on your porch, patio or deck. The strong smell of mint will help to create a natural barrier as the sweat bees shy away from the scent. You can even place small pots on tables to help repel sweat bees when dining outdoors. Peppermint is one of the most effective, with spearmint a close second.
  • Mint Rub – Crush a few mint leaves and rub on the exposed areas of your skin. Not only will you smell “minty-fresh”, the sweat bees won’t come near you!
  • Mint Oils / Sprays – There all types of natural mint and oil sprays available that can help repel sweat bees as well. Many can be used as an all-natural deterrent spray for exposed skin, while others can be sprayed on surfaces or in the air via a mister or diffuser.

Product Links : Pure Peppermint Oil Pure Spearmint Oil

repelling sweat bees with mint
Both peppermint and spearmint are excellent for repelling sweat bees. A small potted plant as a centerpiece can help keep outdoor dining areas sweat bee free.
The Repelling Power of Herbs

In addition to the mint family, there are actually a wide variety of herbs that when grown nearby, can help to repel sweat bees, mosquitoes, flies and more. It is actually quite amazing just how many plants that nature can grow that help us to live better!

Here’s to controlling the sweat bees in your outdoor activity spaces this summer.

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