How to Keep Bees and Wasps Out of Your Pool

This one bugs. There’s nothing worse than changing into your swimsuit, smearing on a thick layer of sunscreen, throwing a towel around your shoulders, and walking out to your pool—just to be swarmed by a couple of curious or not-so-curious bees or wasps (or, if you’re really unlucky, both). As it turns out, just because you’re the one paying for and maintaining your pool doesn’t mean you can ignore Mother Nature.

Bees and wasps are buzzkill for relaxation—but their behavior isn’t beyond understanding. By learning about why bees and wasps love your pool and implementing DIY ways to work with their natural impulses, you can make sure that both you and your flying friends enjoy a perfectly safe day—albeit far, far away from each other. And believe it or not, I’ll show you how to do all this without taking a single small, striped life.

Why Are There Bees or Wasps in My Pool?

This might sound strange, but bees probably like your pool even more than you do. This is because they’re not in it just for the relaxation and the fun. Ever heard the phrase “rest like a bee”? Yeah, me neither.

To a bee, your pool is daily hydration, baby food, and life-saving air conditioning all in one. They bring water back to the hive, and as it evaporates, it keeps the temperature of the hive low enough to continue to sustain life. In some cases, this water even keeps their combs from melting in the heat. They also use the water to dilute honey for their young. Hey, if your neighbor’s pool water kept your family alive, you’d try to steal some of it, too.

Of course, all of this could be achieved with plain old water, not just your pool. But whether you have a chlorinated or salt water pool, those chemicals you use to keep it clean is exactly what draws both bees and wasps. There’s no way around it: your pool has a strong scent, and it’s like a personally signed invitation card for winged creatures who have a powerful sense of smell.

Bees might like the smell of your pool treatment, but it’s essential for a clean, safe swim. Make sure that the sanitizing chemicals you add are circulating properly with the the 1.5 HP Variable Speed Blue Torrent Thunder In-Ground Swimming Pool Pump—it’s extra-thorough at slower speeds, pays itself off in under a year, is eligible for rebates, and comes with a lifetime warranty.

how to keep bees and wasps out of your pool

Bees and Wasps Are a Nuisance. But Don’t Kill Them!

Both bees and wasps contribute to the ecosystem of your neighborhood, but bees have an even greater hand is sustaining your (yes, your) life. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one out of every four bites of food people take is courtesy of bee pollination.

Since bee populations are increasingly at risk (in the winter of 2019 a whopping 40% of honey bee colonies in the U.S. died off), it’s probably best to save any bee lives you can.

Let’s also talk about the less hairy, more scary cousin of those cute honeybees. While not exactly adorable, wasps are also important pollinators. And while they may be slightly less directly vital to our agriculture, they do also keep other pests at bay.

The best part? You don’t need to kill bees or wasps to get them far away from your pool. You can keep both your conscience and a peaceful pool. That’s a win-win.

Easy Do-It-Yourself Ways to Keep Bees Away.

You already know by now that I’m a major proponent of the DIY approach (why not save yourself money and gain some know how)? Most of these tips can be done cheaply and easily at home—and you might even already have some of these tools on hand. Keep in mind that the earlier you implement these hacks, the better. Like the rest of us, bees love a routine. The longer they’re used to drinking from your pool, the longer they’ll want to stay.

Give the Bees Water—Away from Your Pool.

Sometimes it’s better just to give the bees what they want—especially since they are so vital to our livelihood. If you’re looking to set up an alternate water source for the bees in your yard, the options are almost endless. Perhaps the easiest method is installing a shallow birdbath, which is inexpensive and can add a bit of color (hello, local birds) to your property. A trickling fountain could also work as both a bee-attractor and decor. If you’re feeling ambitious and are a lover of koi fish, this could even be the time to install that pond you’ve been thinking about. The list goes on, and you can get creative.

Want to sweeten the deal? Add a bee attractor to the water, like Honey B Healthy. See? Everyone could be happy, including any flowers you might have.

If possible, do this before you open your pool for the season. If they’re already used to drinking in a place that feels safe, they’re less likely to bother with your splashing, trafficked pool—no matter how delicious it smells.

Are bees hanging around even before your pool is open? If you have too much water on your pool cover, they’ll establish their water source well before you open your first tube of sunscreen of the year. Thankfully, the Sunnora 350 GPH Automatic Cover Pump will keep your cover dry and secure. According to customer Richard Hogan, “works great.”

how to keep bees and wasps out of your pool

Food and Drinks Are None of Its Buzzness—Cover Them Up.

Just like the bees share your love of pools, they’ve also got a serious sweet tooth. They make honey, remember? Keep your food and drinks covered as much as possible. A mosquito net might be perfect here.

Don’t Those Bright Colors Look a Lot Like Flowers?

Bees have an instinctual impulse to check out bright colors. Not only are they naturally curious creatures, but bright colors could resemble the flowers they’re looking to pollinate. If you’re choosing between a lime green swimsuit and a navy one, I’d go with the navy. This applies to any pool accessories you have—but don’t let the bees take all the fun. This is a temporary solution, so try the other more permanent options first.

Adjust Your Landscaping: Plants Can Attract or Detract.

Bees might live outside, but they don’t love all foliage equally. Place your flowery shrubs and other bee-friendly plants as far away from the pool as you can. Add mint and lemongrass close to the pool. These herbs are great because they smell amazing to humans and are the bee-equivalent to smelly, hot garbage. They’ll naturally avoid the area.

No Still Water Here: Turn On Your Jets.

They’re great fliers, but bees are terrible swimmers. You might have even notice a few casualties that you’ve had to net out in the past—R.I.P., little dudes. Bees know that they’re not up for a dive, and if your pool water is moving, they won’t even try. Go ahead and turn on your jets or your automatic pool cleaner. Of course, this is just a temporary solution—or you won’t want to see your next energy bill. Want to cut that bill down, no matter what? Make sure you’re using a variable-speed pump.

Is your pump not powerful enough to really get your jets flowing? Try the 3 HP Variable Speed Blue Torrent Thunder In-Ground Swimming Pool Pump—it pays itself off in under a year, comes with a lifetime warranty, and can be super high-powered when you need it to be. As customer Jordan MacDonald says, “it truly is super quiet”—and that was while it was running at full capacity.

Aromatherapy, Anyone?

Time to get crafty. Essential oils have a ton of benefits, but bees will hate a blend of peppermint, spearmint, eucalyptus, and thyme. Mix this with some water in a spray bottle, and use it on poolside furniture, your towels, even yourself. The bees will buzz elsewhere. 

how to keep bees and wasps out of your pool

Make a Call—But Not to the Exterminator.

If you find a hive on your property, you can make a call to your local beekeeper, whose job is to make sure bees are happy, safe, and continuing to contribute in the ways that all humans need. They’ll relocate your hive, and as long as you haven’t sprayed them with pesticide, many will do it for free or a nominal fee. Just make sure to call them an apiarist for brownie points.

Easy Do-It-Yourself Ways to Keep Wasps Away.

Okay, so it’s a little easier to remember when faced with a slick wasp that they pack quite a sting. While most of the tips to keep away bees also applies to wasps (including their sweet tooth... keep that soda covered!), they also have their own mixture of scents that will repel them—plus, one tip that might seriously surprise you.

Bees and wasps are one problem. But what about the unwanted guests inside your pool—like algae? Scrub it away the patented 360-Degree Bristles Blue Torrent Pool Brush, developed by long-term pool professionals. As customer Scott Hinds notes, “Definitely the best pool brush I have ever owned. Far superior to other brushes.”

Get Some Plant Wasp-free Greenery.

Just like mint and lemongrass reeks to bees, wasps will do everything they can to stay away from eucalyptus, thyme, citronella, and wormwood. Plus, any kind of mint will do the trick. Plant some along the side of your pool to keep the wasps away and have easy access to fresh mint for lemonade. Two birds with one herby stone not exciting enough? That citronella will also keep away mosquitos. Boom.

Aromatherapy Part Two: Wasp Edition.

The mixture that will make wasps want to run away and never come back? That’ll be clove, geranium, and lemongrass. This one is especially good to spray before a big pool party, where you can’t exactly request everyone wear black (and anyway, that’s no fun). Think of this blend as wasp-repellent perfume for your yard.

how to keep bees and wasps out of your pool

Let’s Get Weird: String Up Some Raw Meat.

I bet you weren’t expecting this one. And no, this isn’t just to make wasps seem scarier—though it’ll do that, too. Wasps love raw meat. If you cut a few very small strips and place them far away from your pool, they’ll swarm them. Again, don’t leave a lot out—the last thing you want to deal with is rotting meat.

Like thinking creatively to save money and time? Get a 1.5 HP Variable Speed Blue Torrent Thunder Pump. Since it pays off itself in energy saved, this robust and thorough pump is the most reasonable decision any pool owner can make, and isn’t nearly as common as it should be: but federal law in 2021 is about to change that.

When You’re Seriously Outnumbered: Call a Professional

If the situation is too big for a DIY approach, don’t hesitate to call a professional. But my advice? If you get an exterminator to the scene, don’t use any toxic chemical. In addition to hurting the good bugs your yard needs, toxins could blow right over into your pool—and nobody wants that.

how to keep bees and wasps out of your pool

You Saved the Bees. Now Take Some Time For You.

Do you hear that sound? I’ll tell you one thing: it’s not a stress-inducing buzz. Now that you’ve found the bee and wasp deterrent that works for you, you don’t have to worry about sharing the pool with anyone—except the guests you invited. Take a celebratory dive, and enjoy.

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