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What Smells Do Bees Dislike? (Read This First!)

With the approaching summer season, bees are becoming more active and are starting to move in search of nectar. People having a pool party or enjoying poolside activities such as barbecues are likely to attract a cluster of bees. 

These uninvited visitors will chase, hover or sting anyone or anything nearby. Let’s find out which smells are disliked by them –

7 smells that bees dislike

Bees use their keen sense of smell to look for pollen and nectar in blooms. While some scents can draw bees, others can drive them away. Generally, bees dislike vinegar, citrus, lemons, almond oil, smoke, cinnamon, peppermint, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.

During the cold winter, bees remain dormant and refrain from coming out of their hives. As a result, during the spring and summer seasons, they become active and set out to collect nectar and pollen from flowers. 

So, you will face the most bees in both the summer and spring seasons.

Usually, poolside activities such as barbecues and flowers and fragrances attract bees. Therefore, you will have a cluster of bees visit you during a pool party in the summer season or if your garden has sweet-smelling blooming flowers. 

Although some scents attract bees, some specific ones can deter them.

Here are some products that can deter bees from your home or surroundings.

Peppermint essential oils:

Besides the various benefits of peppermint essential oils, it is an effective natural repellent against every type of insect, including bees. 

If you wish to use peppermint essential oils to prevent unwanted visits from bees, you can add some of them to a spray bottle with distilled water. Then, spray the solution around your home, and you will no longer have any bees around your home.


Cinnamon is a common spice in kitchens. It has a strong scent capable of deterring bees from an area. If you have cinnamon ground available, sprinkle the powder around your home and on the window sills and door frames. 

Do it regularly for a few days till you no longer see any bees nearby. Doing it every day will ensure optimal results. However, if you do not have ground cinnamon, you can use cinnamon sticks and leave them around bee nests and places bees frequently visit.


Like cinnamon, white distilled vinegar has a strong smell despised by bees. However, vinegar is harmful to bees and can cause harm to them. Therefore, you must use a diluted vinegar solution to deter the bees without hurting them. 

You can create a dilute mixture of vinegar by mixing water and vinegar. Spray the dilute vinegar near the bee’s nest. Before spraying, wear proper protection from bee stings as they will get agitated by the vinegar and will most likely sting in defense.

Lemon and lime juice: 

These products are popular household items, and you will find them in your kitchen. Since they are easily obtainable, you can use them to deter bees.

What smells do deter these bees?

Among the 20,000 species of bees, the honey bees and bumblebees are the most common. Additionally, you may often see some carpenter bees and sweat bees hovering around your home or food source. Here are tips you can use to deter such bees.

Carpenter bees:

Carpenter bees dislike the smell of citrus. They feel repelled whenever they smell any citric material nearby. If you have a problem with carpenter bees and want them to leave your home, you can use lemon juice or lemon essential oils.

Take some lemon juice or lemon essential oils in a spray bottle and add sufficient water to dilute it slightly. Spray the solution around the bees and entrances.

Honey bees:

Honey bees do not feel repelled by a single specific smell. Instead, they dislike various scents, including citrus, citronella, cinnamon, peppermint, cayenne powder, and other items. 

Should you plan on deterring any honey bees from causing problems, you can use any of the products mentioned to compel them to leave your surroundings.

Bumble bees:

Peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils are effective in keeping bees at bay. Bumble bees tend to sting if provoked. So, wear proper protection if you use essential oils to repel these bees.

You can add some essential oils and water to a bottle and sprinkle it towards the nest of bumble bees. Or, you can spray it around your garden to keep them away.

Sweat bees:

Sweat bees do not like the minty smell of peppermint and spearmint. So, you can use peppermint or spearmint leaves or essential oils to keep sweat bees away.

Some people prefer growing these mints in small plant pots and keeping them in places sweat bees frequently visit. Doing so keeps them at bay and ensures they do not come back.

Above are the most common types of bees you will be dealing with. Note that the above procedures do not mean any harm to the bees; you can use those techniques and ingredients to keep them away from you and your surroundings.

Where to place the smells to deter bees?

It is important to understand where you must place the products whose smells deter bees. Here are suggestions for where you can place the ingredients to effectively keep troublesome bees away.


If you are dealing with bees that do not like cinnamon or garlic, you can sprinkle some cinnamon or garlic powder near your window sills and doors to restrict bees from entering your home. 

If the product you are using is in the form of powder or ground, you can sprinkle it around your home and entrances.

On the table:

Some bees do not like mints and peppermints and spearmints are excellent examples. If you are growing peppermint or spearmint in your home in small plant pots, you can keep the plant pots on your tables or in any high location. 

Doing so will ensure the smell of mint covers a vast area and bees will no longer hover in that scented area.

On the floor:

You can also keep mint plants on the floor. Keeping any peppermint or spearmint plant in a plant pot on the floor will add to the aesthetic of your home and keep the bees away. 

Moreover, if you have prepared a solution to repel bees, you can keep it in a bowl on the floor so that the scent covers the whole home. As a result, you will no longer feel troubled by bees because they will not come inside.

If you do not know where to place the products that repel bees, you will not see optimal results. Therefore, place the items appropriately for full effectiveness.

What smells do bees like?

Bright colored flowers with their flowery scents attract most species of bees that are looking for nectar. Bees are attracted to a variety of flowers, scented herbs, and some partial native plants.

Most perfumed flowers have bee-attracting abilities. Some examples of such flowers are phlox, soapwort, honeysuckle, forget-me-nots, jasmine, nasturtium, heliotrope, and nicotiana. 

If you are growing any of these flowers in your garden or around your home, you will attract a significant number of bees.

Additionally, bees are attracted to some scented herbs. Rosemary, borage, sage, thyme, catnip, chamomile, lavender, basil, marjoram, and hyssop are some of the examples which tend to attract bees.

If you are growing wild indigo, black-eyed Susans, swamp milkweed, goldenrod, echinacea, gaillardia, yarrow, foxglove, zinnia, penstemon, and sunflowers, know that bees will come to visit these native flowers.

Tips to make bees go away and prevent them from coming

If you are looking for additional tips to make bees go away, use the following:


If you are planning on keeping bees away from your garden, plant marigolds. Marigolds give off a strong smell in the summer season that bees dislike. 

So, you can effectively keep bees away by planting some beautiful marigold plants in your garden.

Citronella candles:

As mentioned earlier, some bees do not like the smell of citronella. They feel repelled by the smell and immediately leave the scented area. You can use candles made of citronella to make your home smell citronella. 

This will keep the bees away and fill your home with the fresh smell of citrus.

These are the tips you can use to keep bees away if you are not planning on repelling bees using smell.

Final Thoughts

Many different fragrances deter bees. By employing the techniques described, you can use their sense of scent to your advantage and drive them away. Marigold planting and citronella candles are two other options you can use if you do not wish to use any deterring smell.