Bees are some of the most common and most bothersome of household pests. While beehives are often found in garden areas, the residing bees often branch out to invade not just the garden but also interior domestic spaces.
Commercial insecticides are certainly effective as advertised, but what these advertisements neglect to mention is that these chemical solutions can also be harmful to the plants, pets, and people that are in proximity to the bees or hives you’re targeting.
Unlike powerful insecticides, soaps don’t have chemical compounds that can break through the living tissue of bees or the compacted material found in beehives. Instead, a soapy solutions attack bees in two different ways using the same basic principle. When a soapy solution adheres to a bee, it alters the strength of the bee’s body surface. The insect’s natural waxy coating becomes heavier, reducing the bee’s ability to navigate through the air. The added surface area also absorbs more moisture and this increasing weight constricts the bee’s ability to breathe.
When sprayed upon beehives, the soapy mix forms a sticky coating that cuts-off the air supply to the entire hive. This suffocates multiple bees at once, eventually killing them.
Additionally, unlike most chemical bee repellents and sprays, soapy solutions don’t leave a heavy reside. Whatever minimal coating is left behind can be easily wiped-off or comes off naturally over time with a little water.
Homemade bee repellent doesn’t have the same harshness as commercial chemical since almost all household soaps are intended for safe household use, so consider using soap as an alternative to insecticide by following these steps.
Step 1 - Choose Soap
Many different kinds of soap will work for this project, including liquid dish detergents or even laundry soaps. However, try to avoid using soaps recommended for washing synthetic fabrics like rubber or for cleaning enamel-covered surfaces. Soaps like these often have chemical fillers that remain suspended in the air and can cause allergic reactions among humans and animals.
Remember that the entire point of using soap over pesticide in the first place is to keep contaminants and irritants out of your yard, so pick a gentle soap. The most important property you’re looking for isn’t a chemical one but a physical one, namely how sticky and waxy the soap becomes when mixed with water and applied to a surface.
Step 2 - Prepare Soapy Solution
For making the soap mixture, pour about 10 ml of the liquid detergent in a bucket of water. Mix the soap intensively to produce lots of suds. The more foamy the solution, the more effective it will be at killing bees, so really froth it up while you’re mixing.
Step 3 – Spray Delivery System
For killing beehives or bees concentrated in hard to reach spaces, feed the soapy mix in a hose sprayer.
For killing bees within more reachable distances, fill the handheld spray bottle with the solution. Be sure that you have enough supply for repeated spraying.
Step 4 - Protect Your Body
Remember, soap is not a poison. Before the bees die, they will react and may come at you. Be sure to protect yourself.
Wear a long-sleeved shirt and over-sized coat while spraying the solution. You can also wear sunglasses or any type of safety goggles. Even a scarf may be advisable depending on the number of bees you’re dealing with. Any clothing that covers exposed skin will protect you from bee stings, which are a real possibility.
WARNING: If you are someone who is allergic to bee stings, do not attempt this at all, even with protective clothing. For someone with this medical condition, the risk is too high. Invest in a commercial beekeeper's suit for proper protection or simply hire someone else to deal with the hive while you remain at a safe distance.
Step 5 – Have a Way Out
You should be aware of an easy getaway route in case the number of bees overwhelms you. Even with all the protective gear in the world, you won’t want to remain in the middle of the bee swarm for too long. It is advisable to keep some basic, anti-allergic reaction medication at your disposal, in case you suffer from a bee sting. Prepare these things before spraying the bees. Don’t wait until you have an angry hive staring you down.
Step 6 - Spray Bees
Using your hose or sprayer, spray the bees from at least 10 feet away. Try to spread some of the spray around the bee colony site. This ensures that the pH of the entire site is altered, making it uninviting for future re-colonization by bees. The bees might not abandon the sprayed site immediately. Repeated spraying is useful in such cases.