Preventing Bees from Nesting under and around Your Shed

A shed in a yard, surrounded by bushes.
What You'll Need
Sealant or caulk
Fine mesh screens
Pruning scissors

You can prevent bees from nesting around your wood storage shed by keeping your shed well-painted and sealed. Carpenter bees look for weathered and rotting wood to bore into. While there are ways to deter and eliminate bees, perhaps the most effective way to keep bees from nesting in, around and under your shed is to pay attention to bees. Infestations, nests, and significant nesting activity doesn't happen overnight. Homeowners who pay attention to what is happening with their property are more likely to be able to stop nesting before it starts.

Preventive Maintenance

Walk around your shed at least once a week. Look for openings, holes, or damage to the shed after storms and in the spring and fall and after high winds. Severe weather can loosen shingles, soffits, or screens or damage vents, allowing bees to gain access.

Perform regular upkeep and repairs on your shed. Caulk cracks and openings before they become openings for nesting bees. Paint exposed wood. Eliminate nests immediately if you find them and scrub the area to eliminate the chemical pheromone trails left by old nests and bees.

Bee Behavior and Sheds

Understand bee behavior and habitats. Not all bees live in above-ground nests. Bumblebees, hornets, yellow-jackets, and wasps, for example, nest in the ground. Keeping holes and burrows in your yard and around your shed filled will help cut down on the very habitat they seek.

Honeybees may swarm, and be found hanging on or near a shed while their scouts search for a new home. But unless your shed provides the kind of environment bees are looking for, such as an opening where they can nest and settle in, most swarms will disappear as quickly as they came, usually within 72-hours. To be sure, call your local extension agent or bee-keepers' group and ask for a bee-keeper who wants a swarm. Most bee-keepers will remove a swarm for free to get the bees for their own hives.

Tips for Preventing Bees from Nesting under and around Your Shed

Be vigilant in finding bee activity in and around your shed. Make sure to clean out old nests that have no activity.

Add an unpleasant odor—such as mothballs—to deter bees. You'll need at least 2 quart-sized boxes of mothballs to spread under the shed.

Bumblebees nest in holes in the ground, so seal up rodent holes and other burrows around your shed to keep bees from nesting under the shed.

If you find honeybees, yellow-jackets, wasps, hornets, paper wasps, or other bee or wasp nests around your shed, get professionals to remove them to keep from being seriously stung.

Build "bee houses" in areas away from your shed to provide shelter for bees in the area.

Seal or plug all openings in soffits, vents, cracks, or holes in and under your shed.

Use fine mesh screens on all openings around the bottom of your shed.

Cut and prune away dead limbs, shrubs and brush from your shed.

Don't stack firewood or lumber under your shed. Bees nest in dead and old wood and this will attract them.