5 Plants That Will Keep Bees Out of Your Yard, According to Pest Experts
Though bees are good for your garden, keep them away from social areas with these plants.
Summer's here, and for many of us, that means more time spent in the backyard. But with all of the benefits of being in the great outdoors come a few drawbacks—including a higher likelihood of being pestered by bugs. And perhaps no insect is more unwelcome than bees. Luckily, if you're worried about being stung, certain plants will keep bees out of your yard. However, experts note that the insects' presence shouldn't be entirely unwelcome.
"Bees are vital for pollination and an important part of our ecosystem," says Ricky Young, owner of the UK-based company Young's Pest Control. But he adds that it's "understandable" if you'd prefer not to have bees buzzing around certain areas of your yard—especially if you have allergies or safety concerns.
Bryan Clayton, CEO of GreenPal and a landscaping expert with 22 years of experience, agrees that bees should be granted at least partial access to your garden, and suggests creating a bee-friendly area in your yard away from where your family spends the most time. Then, you should feel free to fill the high-traffic areas with plants that keep bees away.
Curious about what you should grow? Read on to learn which five plants will deter bees from visiting your garden and bugging you this summer.
Wormwood is a plant with lacy, green-gray foliage that grows in clusters of stems. Both Clayton and Young recommend planting it in your backyard if you'd like to keep bees to a minimum. In particular, they note that its pungent, sage-like scent is what makes it so unappealing to many insects, including bees.
As a bonus, wormwood is also effective in putting off deer, rabbits, mice, and other animals, which may in turn help prevent the spread of ticks, lice, fleas, and other dangerous pests.
Another plant that can deter bees with its scent is mint. In particular, peppermint and spearmint plants smell particularly strong and are therefore among the most effective types for keeping bees away.
"However, it's worth noting that mint can be quite invasive, so consider planting it in pots," Clayton recommends.
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"Similar to mint, basil is another herb with a strong scent that bees don't seem to like very much," says Young.
To help your basil grow plentifully, plant it in a sunny location that receives between six to eight hours of sunlight per day. Make sure the soil is well drained and that you space your plants at least 12 inches apart so they have space to grow.
Eucalyptus plants give off a distinct, menthol-like smell, making them another good option for keeping bees out of your yard.
"Much like mosquitoes, bees aren't big fans of the potent smell of eucalyptus," says Clayton.
However, planting eucalyptus may not be the right fit if you have pets or children in the house. That's because eucalyptus plants—including their bark, sap, and leaves—are toxic both to humans and pets.
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Geraniums are known for their bold and beautiful blooms, most often in shades of red, pink, or purple. But besides their aesthetic appeal, geraniums come with the added benefit of dissuading bees from entering your yard, Young says.
Once again, the reason is the strong smell of the blossoms, which is similar to the scent of a rose but with a citrusy, lemon-like twist. Though people tend to find the scent of geraniums pleasing, bees think it best to avoid these flowers.