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We’ve all learned in school that flowers need bees for pollination, but that doesn’t mean we want the threat of a sting looming in our backyards. Whether you are allergic or not, bees and wasps can quickly put a damper on time spent outdoors. This summer, don’t let the fear of being stung keep you from enjoying yourself. With a few alterations to your garden, you will notice a big difference. Below, we’ve put together a list of 10 plants that repel bees and wasps, to add some to color to your backyard landscape and get back to enjoying the season.
Of course, if you have a problem with either bees or wasps around your property, contact your local Ehrlich Pest Control office and discuss what one of our Technicians can do to get rid of them and prevent bees from returning.
This popular vegetable not only makes a great addition to summer salads, but also keeps bees and wasps away. Bees and wasps are not big fans of the bitterness of the acidic cucumber peels.
Utilizing cucumbers in your garden can be done in a couple of different ways. You can plant cucumber plants themselves, yielding fresh produce for snacks and cocktails, or you can place peels throughout the garden. If you do choose to plant them, cucumbers are tropical vegetables, requiring warm weather and plentiful moisture.
Basil is another great choice for your garden that doubles as a kitchen resource and a pest repellent. As humans, we may enjoy the aroma of basil in a rich tomato sauce, but bees and wasps are put off by the fragrance. Basil needs heat to grow effectively and prefers a location that receives 6-8 hours of full sun each day. Though the soil should remain moist, it must be well-drained to avoid drowning the basil plants and/or causing root rot.
Geraniums can be helpful in repelling bees, particularly red geraniums, as bees cannot see the color red. It may seem counterintuitive that a flower would repel bees, but these flowers contain little to no pollen and have a scent that the stinging pest does not particularly like. Geraniums prefer 4-6 hours of sun each day and can be transported inside during the cold seasons for overwintering.
Wormwood contains absinthe, a substance that is toxic to insects. Its pungent scent alerts bees and wasps of the potential danger so they usually steer clear. Wormwood needs direct sunlight and well-drained soil. Exercise caution in planting wormwood, as it can kill off other plants in close proximity.
A popular scent in the human world, mint is not well-liked by stinging pests. Mint plants can tolerate some shade but be sure to keep an eye on them. Their rapid growth rate can cause them to quickly take over a garden.
Koala bears love this fragrant plant, but bees and wasps not so much. Eucalyptus can be planted in containers or directly into a garden. Either way, it needs a great deal of light. The eucalyptus plant is drought tolerant, so let it dry out a bit between each watering.
The colorful marigold makes an attractive addition to gardens, and like most of the other plants on this list, its smell is what keeps insects away. Though it doesn’t necessarily ward off nectar-seeking honeybees, it is not attractive to wasps. Marigolds are very hardy and require little care, especially when planted in the ground. As with geraniums, try utilizing red varieties to ward off bees.
Citronella is best known for its ability to deter mosquitoes, but its pervasive smell can be offensive to wasps and bees, as well. It can be grown inside or outside but prefers at least six hours of sunlight whether it is by a window or outside in the sun. The citronella plant’s soil should remain well-drained.
Pennyroyal has a similar scent to mint, which means bees and wasps don't like it at all. A relatively small plant, 6-12 inches in height, pennyroyal is a good choice for containers. This plant is relatively easy to grow, but be sure to water it frequently so that it does not dry out.
These plants work a little differently than the others on this list. Rather than deterring bees and wasps, pitcher plants help control them. Pitcher plants are carnivorous, trapping and ingesting insects for their own nutrition. Insects are lured into the flower, within which a slippery surface causes them to fall into a pool of water and drown.
This type of flower can be tricky to care for, as it requires only rainwater or distilled water and cannot tolerate tap, bottled, or filtered water. The buildup of minerals in those types of water can be detrimental to pitcher plants because they have evolved to instead obtain minerals from the insects they capture. Pitcher plants also require full, direct sun.
When it comes to selecting flowers for your garden, try to avoid blue, violet, and yellow-colored plants when possible, as these are a bee’s favorite colors. Bees will be particularly attracted to flowers of these hues. Additionally, trumpet-shaped flowers inherently make it more difficult for bees to access the nectar and are therefore a deterrent.
If you’re experiencing extreme bee and wasp problems or have concerns about your safety, don’t hesitate to call the pest control experts at Ehrlich. We will send one of our highly-trained specialists out to your property to get rid of the problem quickly and effectively. Contact us today.
For more on bees and wasps, check out some of our other blogs: