While many people like to encourage bees to come to their outdoor space, plenty of others prefer to keep them away. Whether you’re allergic or simply don’t like insects, knowing the best prevention methods can help keep your space bug free.
Below are 7 tips for how to keep bees away from a balcony. They all use natural products, but be aware that some still aren’t safe to use around pets and kids.
1. Reconsider What You Grow
Bees are pollinators, and one of the easiest ways to attract them is with brightly colored flowers. So, if we want to keep them away, we must do the opposite. Pretty much any flowering plant will be a no-go if you don’t want bees coming your way.
You could grow:
- Pennyroyal (although this is poisonous for dogs)
Of course, you can still grow any plant that doesn’t flower!
- Easy way to keep bees away
- Cuts down on balcony maintenance
- Can limit the amount of greenery you have
2. Tidy Your Balcony
Some bee species live alone and don’t build nests. An easy way to avoid them moving into your balcony is to keep it clutter-free. Equally, you’ll want to seal any cracks or gaps you can, as these make great napping places for lone bees.
- Helps deter bees from nesting
- A good excuse to keep your balcony tidy
- Isn’t the most effective tip
3. Use Essential Oils
There are plenty of natural repellents you can use to keep bees away from your balcony. Unsurprisingly, they include some of the plants mentioned above. Citronella candles (such as these) are a good option, as is peppermint oil (such as this). Other options include thyme, fennel or lemongrass oil.
You can either soak cotton balls in oil and leave them around your balcony or spray surfaces with a watered-down solution.
- Many essential oils smell nice to us
- Easy to apply
- Some can be toxic to animals
- Requires you to regularly reapply
You’re almost spoilt for choice with the number of natural repellents you can use to deter bees. Along with essential oils, the following can help:
- Vinegar – spray it on surfaces and allow it to evaporate
- Cinnamon – sprinkle it around your balcony
For the last 2, boil them in water and strain off the pulp. Spray the water around your balcony. Of course, these solutions can be problematic with kids and pets. While they’re not toxic, you could have a difficult situation if your pet licks a surface covered in chili!
- Possible to make with things you’ve already got lying around
- One of the least expensive options
- Many of these don’t smell nice
5. Grow Cucumber Plants
Although cucumber plants flower, their smells repels bees, both during growth and flowering cycles. Luckily, you don’t need bees to pollinate them, as you can do it by hand.
This tip is a good compromise if you still want to grow something over the summer but don’t want to deal with bees all the time. You can check out our guide on how to grow cucumbers for all the information you need.
- Cucumbers are a good compromise between deterring bees and growing plants
- Means you’ll have tons of cucumbers!
- Cucumber plants can need lots of space to grow
Granted, this won’t always be possible, but if you have access to another outdoor space, you can try to bait the bees away. For example, if your balcony is on ground level, set up some bee bait elsewhere.
There are plenty of options for this. You could use flowers or a shallow dish of fruit juice or maple syrup. Don’t fill the dish up too much, as you’ll risk drowning the bees.
- Tempts the bees to go elsewhere
- Doesn’t require you to use smelly oils around your balcony
- Requires access to another outdoor space
Bees, like moths, are attracted to bright lights. While this might not be too helpful during the day, it can make a difference in the evening. Try to keep your balcony as dark as possible to prevent bees from coming for a look around. If you do need light, either use red light (such as this) or citronella candles.
- Prevents bees from looking for a nest
- Helps deter other insects
- Does mean sitting in the dark
Natural bee repellent methods do require a bit of work. However, they’re much better for insects (and you) than chemicals and pesticides. You should try to avoid these altogether, especially for keeping bees away. It’s not great to kill any insects but bees are just too important.