Sweat bees or halictid bees thrive in temperate regions. They love the summer heat when people are sweating. Of course, it gives them the opportunity to get their fill of consuming valuable salt that comes from human sweat.
Most people find this scenario a nuisance. And so, they keep on looking for ways how to get rid of sweat bees naturally.
Why do I Have so Many Sweat Bees on my Property and Landing on Me?
During the summer days, right when you are sweating, you may have noticed bees hovering around you. It’s not just the weather and the flowers blooming that gets these bees out for the day. They are attracted to your sweaty skin.
While these bees are beneficial pollinators, they can be extremely annoying when they keep landing on you. When they hover around you, you think of nothing but swatting them away or getting rid of them.
These bees are not considered aggressive, however, female sweat bees do have stingers. These sweat bees sting when they are threatened.
A sweat bee sting is not too painful compared with that of other species (like honey bees). However, the mere presence of these ground bees is really troublesome. Of course, you cannot spend your whole day shooing these annoying sweat bees far away.
Lucky for you, there are ways to get rid of sweat bees WITHOUT killing them!
What Will Keep Sweat Bees Away?
With their beneficial role in the environment, it would be best to let sweat bees live their lives and leave them as they are. Sweat bees are important pollinators and would benefit gardeners, farmers, and the ecosystem.
However, keeping them at bay is important for one who is bothered by them hovering near. A sweat bee infestation can be quite an alarm for one who has bee allergies.
Here are some ecological ways on keeping these bees away from you WITHOUT killing them:
1.) Natural Repellants
It is best to use natural and non-toxic repellants to keep these bees away.
A non-toxic and natural repellant with lemon or eucalyptus oil is one effective way to naturally keep these bees at a safe distance from you. Some insect or bug repellant sprays like this do the trick for these small bees.
Or, you could make your own sweat bees repellent spray by mixing a few drops of lemon or eucalyptus oil with water. Place this mixture in a spray bottle and use it as a bee spray. Spray it on your exposed skin before going to spend time doing some outdoor activities like gardening.
2.) Keep your Land Moist
A sweat bee would not thrive on wet or moist land. Ground bees do not like living in places where it is moist or wet.
Keeping your lawn and garden wet most of the time would definitely keep them from living on your property.
Most sweat bees build their nests underground. They prefer taking up residency on dry land that seldom gets their share of watering.
When you have identified a portion or area in your garden that is infested with sweat bees or where they have their nests, mulching may help solve this problem.
Mulching provides a cover for the soil that would help retain moisture. In areas covered by mulch, the area remains moist, hence, would deter these bees from building their nests therein. When the nests are covered by dead leaves and other organic materials, they will start to moisten up and discourage the bees to continue living in there.
Having not many dead leaves and compost materials around would not be a problem. There are some online options like this one here. When there are lesser nests on your property, fewer sweat bees would be visiting you during the hot summer days.
4.) Get rid of rotting wood
Not all sweat bee species live underground. Some sweat bees love living in weathered wooden structures such as rotten wood.
Remove any rotting or weathered wood away from your property. Doing this will limit the places of residence for these six-legged insects. It will be one less place for these bees to build their nests. This will be one other way to repel sweat bees from your property.
5.) Remove burrows and holes
Some underground bees have a preference for nesting in abandoned burrows and holes left by other animals such as rodents. Uninhabited burrows are an attraction for any sweat bee to cave in.
Cover up these burrows to deter these bees to make a residence within your property. A landscape rock like this will not only do the trick but will add more aesthetics to your lawn and garden too!
6.) Grow Some Plants
Some flowers and certain plants are known to be insect repellants. Basil is one herb that repels sweat bees with its strong smell and aroma. Wormwood also repels most insects, including wasps and other bees. Other plants that keep bees and other insects away are:
7.) Avoid insecticides
While these insecticides are an easy quick fix to the problem, chemicals in these insecticides could not only kill these bees but other beneficial insects and animals as well. And not only that. It can harm the environment and disturb the ecosystem too.
How to Keep Sweat Bees Away When it Lands on You?
When a sweat bee lands on you, gently and slowly brush or shoo it away. Most of the time, this will do the trick of getting them off you. And most likely, it will not come back and will leave you alone.
Do not make sudden movements, as it might cause alarm. Deliberately trying to swat, press, or squeeze a sweat bee would encourage defensive behavior. Once on defensive mode, it might cause this bee to sting you.
And as a precautionary move, when you have the intention to go outdoors and do some gardening, it is best to wear protective clothing. This would be extremely helpful, especially to one who suffers from an allergic reaction.