Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

Bee repellent?

8046 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Michael Bush
With all the posts and literature I've seen about what not to eat and what not to wear, isn't there some type of bee repellent or lotion that would make bees less likely to target beeks when they are doing hive inspections?

For example, if fume boards drive bees away effectively using scented oils, wouldn't a diluted solution of that do well for beeks when they are doing hive inspections? Would keep the inquisitive bees away from hands and such (at least for folks that don't wish to wear bulky gloves and don't wish to have a mass of bees all over them when they accidentally transition bees into the second dimension?

I would think there are folks using scents that might gently repel the honeybees without causing them to flee.. Things like Tee tree oil, lemon grass, peppermint oil, and citronella seem to be listed as natural repellents, but I'm not sure of their efficacy or use by beeks!

1 - 13 of 13 Posts
no magic pill, sorry. if "home remedy" concoctions seem to work, its because the beekeeper is more confident and more aware of the bees reactions. sorry. good luck,mike
If you use a repellant I am wondering how you would keep it off all the equipment as you do your inspection? If there is any residual left on or in the hive it may cause the bees to leave and it may cause future bees to not want to stay in the contaminated equipment. I am sure others have tried new methods but I would stick with the smoke and the slow deliberate movements to explore your hives. It is a proven method that does not harm the girls or their home. I am new and would like to hear what the seasoned beeks have to say about this.
I don't know if I read it on this forum or somewhere else but somewhere I read that if you smoke your hands with your smoker, it will help. It does have some logic but I don't think the bees have read about it. I have not tried it because my bees have been so calm that they don't even act like they know I'm there. This is my first year and I did wear gloves when we installed the packages (2 hives) but have not worn them since. I do wear a jacket and veil but work the hives bare handed. They have a good amount of brood and stores to protect but so far they have been very mild. With the nector source getting scarce I have noticed them hanging around closer to home so they may get a bit more protective. I keep plenty of surgar water in their feeders so hopefully that will help.

Ya, first year beek here too. I have multiple hives, and some are definately more aggressive than others.

After being tagged once last week while doing so, I am now wearing my full suit as I refill the sugar water on three of the hives - the bees come swarming out as I start to fill with syrup. they are either very hungry, or just po'd that I'm in there. I'm moving slow and gentle too.

Go figure. These bees aren't aggressive if I'm near their hive, just as I open it. When I smoked them last week they were pretty calm. I don't know that i want to smoke them just to refill the sugar syrup (hive top feeder). They buzz me, then go back to normal when I leave - only takes 10-15 seconds or so to fill em up.
Some of the Tampa Bay Beekeepers at the club joke about using Off. Lemon grass oil is a good attractant not repellant. Smoke works for me and most everyone at my workshops. There is no absolute in bees. I was doing a live interview for Fox news last Friday. I was not wearing a veil and do not usually except for class to reinforce protection. The anchor's first statement was " I expected to see you in that white suit with a veil." My students wear whatever they are comfortable with I have a few in shorts, sandals and no veil. I have a few in total head-to-toe suits with gloves. We have several tools as beekeepers to keep bees calm and non-defensive, veil (for self assurance as sugggested by other posts), smoker (to calm and cover alarm pheremone) a hive tool to reduce cracking jarring motions, and our senses to know when the bees are reacting to our behavior. Back to the Fox interview - just as I was listening for a question one of my girls popped me in the ear without the live feed earpiece. A bee is louder than any news anchor. I made it through the live cast and I hope a few more people appreciate bees are not dying to sting us.
See less See more
Douse yourself down real good with Bee Go.

You'll quickly decide there are worse things than a few curious bees crawling on your hands.
Time of day also helps. I open my covers very early in the morning to fill or switch out my feeders on the inner cover, wearing my pajamas, no problems. If I go back in later in the day, they are a bit more rowdy :lookout:and I always wear veil, gloves and long sleeve shirt.
Neighbors think I am nuts but entertaining!!
For example, if fume boards drive bees away effectively using scented oils, wouldn't a diluted solution of that do well for beeks when they are doing hive inspections?
As an added bonus this diluted bee-go solution will also repel your wife, kids, dog, cat, and friends..and only one application is needed for a few days of coverage as its tends to "stay with you" :D . Seriously I dont know anyone who has ever come up with something like this other than one person told me dryer sheets (scented) rubbed on hands and arms works :scratch: ....i never tried it. Even if there was a lotion I would sweat it off anyway by hive #5 and still have many more to open.
That could be fun - screaming and running around like a baby girl on fire in your pj's! :O

Was back at the hives again today, refilling a few low on sugar, same thing with my 3 hives - nearly empty, and they were agitated. Wearing a suit, it was no problem. Just gonna have to hope that we start getting more flowers or something soon - I'm tired of the sugar syrup drill!
I hear you on that. Just being out in 80degree weather and I'm all hot and sweaty in the funsun with my full suit on. I can't wait to see how the ****ed thing feels when it's over 100 degrees F and I'm trying to inspect multiple hives...
Bees are not particularlly interested in you as you small now... if you use a smell that has any effect on them, you are getting their attention... that doesn't seem like a good plan. You can use lemongrass oil but then they are attracted... you can use bannana but then they are angry... you can try some Bee Go, but then you'll have to pitch a tent in the yard to sleep in... you can try some Fischer's Bee Quick... but I wouldn't count on it making the bees uninterested in you...
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.