Sure bumble bees and honey bees are cute, but let’s be real, nobody likes to have bees around when they’re camping (because bee stings suck). Especially “meat bees” aka yellow jackets who like to prey on other insects and food garbage (they’re nasty little critters).
In this article, I’m going to tell you how to get rid of bees while camping with 21 easy and effective ways to get rid of/deter them. Let’s make your next camping trip a more enjoyable one!
How to Get Rid of Bees While Camping? (In Summary)
- Entice bees with sugar water.
- Avoid scented products.
- Start a campfire.
- Avoid vibrant colours around camp.
- Keep your campsite clean.
- Cover sugary drinks.
- Wear neutral or pastel colours.
- Use essential oils (like peppermint).
- Burn some citronella candles.
- Bring mint or lemongrass plants.
- Inspect the area for nests.
- Hang mothballs around.
- Use a screen tent.
- Hire a professional.
- Use some meat bee traps.
- Use cucumber peels.
- Store food properly.
- Trick them with decoy wasp nests.
- Create a homemade bee spray.
- Set out some citrus and cloves.
- Use some garlic.
From simple tips to natural remedies and more, there’s sure to be a way here that can help clear out those pesky little critters so you can enjoy the rest of your time outdoors. Now let’s take a closer look at each one.
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How to Get Rid of Bees While Camping? (In-Depth)
1. Entice Bees With Sugar Water
This is the best way to attract bees elsewhere: provide them with a delicious sugary food source. Make it by mixing together 2 parts of white granulated sugar with 1 part water in a container.
Put the container far away from where you want to hang out for a bee-free camping experience (they can’t resist this sweet food).
2. Avoid Scented Products
Bees are generally attracted to sweet smells (that’s why they often end up in a can of pop.) For this reason, you’ll want to avoid wearing perfumes or colognes, scented sunscreens, hair products or any other sweet scents if possible.
3. Start a Camp-Fire
Smoke is one of those natural bee repellents it’s good to have one burning. If you can handle it, start with a “smoky fire” by burning cardboard and dry brush to get them out of the area before you sit down to relax.
4. Avoid Vibrant Colours Around Camp
Vibrant colours and bold patterns attract bees (which is the exact thing that we’re trying to avoid here). If you have a lot of brightly coloured ornaments, decorations, flags, tarps (or whatever) around camp, they could very well be attracting bees.
Keep things neutral and pastel as much as possible.
5. Keep Your Campsite Clean
We know that bees (and many other insects) are attracted to garbage, sweet foods and empty cans (mmmm, sugar) so an easy solution to keeping bees away from your campsite, is to keep your site free of garbage and sugary empty cans.
Sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes it’s the simplest thing!
6. Cover Sugary Drinks
Have you ever taken a sip of your favourite beverage and come out of it with a fat lip (aka an allergic reaction)? I have. And it sucks. Not only will that open beverage attract bees to your site (like maple syrup), but (worst-case scenario) you could also end up with a nasty sting.
Keep your beverages in closed containers at all times (tumblers are great) to avoid attracting painful wasp stings in your mouth.
7. Wear Neutral or Pastel Colours
Just like you want to avoid bright, bold colours and patterns in your campsite, it’s also a good idea to avoid wearing them. Try to wear neutral or pastel colours as much as possible and leave the floral prints at home when you’re camping (because you don’t want to be the person wearing the bright yellow shirt that is attracting all the bees)!
8. Use Essential Oils
In particular, bees do not like peppermint oil, clove, geranium eucalyptus, lavender, lemongrass, citronella or any oils made from citrus fruits (like orange or grapefruit).
In a spray bottle mix several drops of any one of these essential oils with water and a drop of dish soap. Shake well and spray corners and any areas outside that look like a good place to build a nest.
9. Burn Some Citronella Candles
Not only will they keep the mosquitoes away, but citronella candles may also keep bees away from your campsite. Rubbing a bit of citronella oil on your skin can also do wonders for keeping them away! Eau de citronella anyone?
10. Bring Mint or Lemongrass Plants
Maybe it’s weird to bring a plant camping with you but if you’re into natural bee repellents, then this is it. While plants generally do everything in their power to attract bees (for pollination), there are some that bees are less attracted to like wormwood, mint, citronella and eucalyptus.
11. Inspect the Area for Nests
This is something that you should do before setting up camp. Although you’re not always going to be able to spot a bee hive, doing a scan of the area you’re thinking about camping in is always a good idea.
If nests are present then I would just move it along (although some years they’re just really bad and we have no choice but to cohabitate with them)!
12. Hang Mothballs Around
Bees and wasps hate the smell of mothballs so hanging some around the areas where you like to hang out will keep them away. I like to make little cheesecloth pouches with 2-3 mothballs inside and hang them under my awning, the picnic table and such.
Keep in mind though that mothballs can be toxic to humans and pets so use them accordingly.
13. Use a Screen Tent (Or Insect Screen)
We know that food attracts insects so setting up a screen tent to have your meals in is a great idea. Not only will it keep the meat bees away, but it will keep all of the bugs away (yay!)
And of course, it doesn’t just have to be for meals, I sit in my screen tent all of the time because mosquitoes suck too (and I hate wearing bug spray)!
14. Hire a Professional Bee Keeper
If they’re in a really bad spot, you don’t want to kill them (like me) or you just can’t live with them in the area, then hiring a professional to move the colony could be your only option if the colony is too invasive.
15. Use Some Meat Bee Traps
I like to look at these as a last resort (as I don’t like to kill anything) but I understand how dangerous they can be at times. There are lots of bee traps to choose from (or you could just DIY one with some attractive sugar water inside)!
16. Use Cucumber Peels
Fun fact, bees do not like the smell of cucumber peels (apparently they find them bitter and repulsive). Now I wouldn’t waste a cucumber just for this purpose but, if you’re one of those weirdos who peels your cucumbers, then this could be a good use for them.
Simply place cucumber peels around your campsite or on a plate next to you. However, keep in mind that this method could attract other critters to your campsite (aka bears) depending on where you’re camping.
17. Store Food Properly
Always keep your food and beverages covered if possible. Just like we’re drawn to the scent, human food will also attract bees so keep all the food locked up in airtight containers at all times (especially sugary foods and drinks).
18. Trick Them With Decoy Wasp Nests
Bees are very territorial so if they think there’s another colony in the area, they won’t bother setting up shop. You can hang these decoy nests from the awning, in the trees and anywhere else you think would be a good spot to build a nest.
You can also create your own “bee hive” by using brown paper bags filled with air.
19. Create a Homemade Bee Spray
This is another last resort (because it will kill them) but you can create a homemade bee spray with 1 part dish soap to 4 parts water. I would only use this if there was a nasty bugger flying around who wouldn’t leave me alone (some people just can’t take a hint)!
20. Set Out Some Citrus and Cloves
The smell of lemons and cloves together is a natural repellent for both bees and wasps (even though we find it lovely). All you have to do is cut a lemon in half and stick some WHOLE cloves inside (the more the merrier).
Then place these sliced lemons wherever you’d like to keep the bees away. Don’t you just love a harm-free solution?
21. Use Some Garlic
Fun fact, bees are actually repulsed by the strong smell of garlic and simply sprinkling some garlic powder around their nest (not on it) could help get rid of bees and make them relocate their nest.
You could also mince some garlic cloves and set them on the table next to you (YUM)!
I hope you can enjoy camping and your outdoor activities more with these 21 ways to get rid of bees from your camping site. These are some of the best tips out there because they work.
Home remedies and natural products are always my go-to as I don’t want to harm the bees, I just want them to buzz off!
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