How To Get Rid Of Bees Without Killing Them?

Bees may seem like a nuisance around your home, but they are responsible for about 80 percent of pollination worldwide. That includes 70% of our food crops! Dwindling numbers mean that bees need saving, so don’t exterminate your local bee population! 

The best way to get rid of bees without killing them is to smoke them out. Build a small, controllable fire with cardboard and other high-smoking fuel. Bees will think there is a forest fire and abandon their hive. However, there are other ways to get rid of bees without killing them. Some natural ways are using garlic, citronella, or smoke.

Below, we’ll look at some natural, effective, and non-invasive ways to remove bees. Using these methods, you can preserve the bee population.

  1. Smoke Them Out
  2. Use Citronella
  3. Find a Beekeeper
  4. Use Oils
  5. Apply Garlic
  6. Plant Peppermint
  7. Moth Balls

Getting Rid of Bees Without Killing Them

You may think that killing invasive bees is the best way to avoid getting stung. That’s simply not the case. There are so many ways you can remove bees from your environment without killing them. Here are eight of those ways.

1. Smoke Them Out

The easiest way to get bees to abandon their hives is to smoke them out. You can also use this method to keep lone bees from wandering up to your property. 

Essentially, bees see smoke as a threat. In the wild, it indicates a forest fire. When bees smell the smoke, they know to leave. By using a high-smoking fuel fire, you can trick the bees into leaving without harming them. 

To do this, you’ll need a lot of material that creates smoke. Cardboard and old, dry firewood will work – just make sure to contain the fire and keep a fire extinguisher on hand. Put the fire right under the hive. 

For best results, make sure you are working at night. Bees sleep at night, so they are less likely to be aggressive. Make sure to wear safety gear at all times.

honey bees

Unfortunately, you’ll have to leave the fire burning for a few hours. If this isn’t going to work for you, or if you can’t contain a fire for this long, this method may not be for you. However, this is the best way to get rid of bumble bees without killing them. You can also use this method to get rid of ground bees or carpenter bees without killing them.

Is It Safe to Use Smoke Around Pets and Children? 

This method is safe for bees, pets, and children. Children with asthma or other breathing issues should stay away while the fire is burning. Otherwise, this method is harmless.

2. Use Citronella

We’ve all seen citronella candles pop up in stores during the warmer months. Citronella is a type of lemongrass oil, so it has a strong citrusy smell. Candles made with citronella are widely used to repel mosquitos and other flying insects. Like mosquitos, bees hate the smell of citronella. 

While these candles usually work immediately to get mosquitos out of your personal space, it takes a bit longer for bees. Bees hate the smell, but it’s more of an irritant. You’ll have to leave a candle burning for several days to get bees to leave. 

During this time, the bees may become agitated and more aggressive than usual. If you are using this method outdoors, protect the candle from the elements. Make sure to keep everyone out of the area with the hive to avoid the aggressive bees. Citronella is one of the best ways to get rid of carpenter bees without killing them. 

Are Citronella Candles Safe for My Kids? 

Citronella is safe for bees and children. Be careful using citronella products around your pets. Citronella can be toxic to dogs and cats if ingested, so avoid letting your pets around your citronella products. Using candles around your pets should be fine in small doses.

3. Find A Beekeeper

Relocation is the most effective way to remove bees from your home, but it can also be the least reliable to find. Beekeepers will sometimes remove hives for free. They have the skills and the equipment to relocate bees. Some beekeepers even take the bees home to integrate with their own bee population. 

But be careful when seeking professional help. Often, extermination companies will kill the bees without a second thought. Instead, seek a friendly beekeeper in your area. Some will even remove your bees for free. 

Bees go where the hive goes. Moving the hive moves the bees. It’s dangerous to do this yourself unless you know the correct handling methods. That’s why it’s ideal to have a professional beekeeper relocate your hive. If you need to get rid of ground bees without killing them, relocation might not work. Ground bees do not have a traditional hive, so they can’t be relocated. 

Can I Relocate Bees Myself? 

Relocation is safe for the bees, your children, and your pets when done by a professional.

4. Use Oils

Certain essential oils can be spread or sprayed around your home to discourage bees from setting up shop. Some essential oils that bees don’t like include peppermint, cinnamon, and bitter almond. 

When working with essential oils, make sure to purchase pure oils that haven’t been diluted. Mix around 6 drops of the essential oil of your choice in a spray bottle with water. Do not use dish soap or any other additive, as it could kill the bees. 

Spray this solution around your home, on the eaves outside, and along railings. Target areas where bees might be tempted to build hives. 

The oils won’t hurt the bees, but they dislike the strong smell the oil produces. 

Is It Okay if My Pet Comes In Contact With Oils?

Essential oils are not safe for your pets, so make sure to avoid using them in areas that your pet frequents. Usually, you want to make sure your pet doesn’t consume or come into contact with the oil. 

rose essential oil

Your children may also have rashes or other allergic reactions to essential oils. Play it safe when using these solutions. Bees, however, are safe when you use essential oils to repel them.

5. Apply Garlic

Garlic is safer than essential oils, and it works on the same principles. Garlic has a strong smell, and bees can’t stand it. You can spray down their common areas with a garlic solution to keep bees away. 

To do this, crush up to six cloves of garlic in a spray bottle with water. As with the essential oil solution, do not use dish soap or any additional ingredients. They could kill the bees. 

Spray this solution around your home, near hives, and anywhere your bees frequent. The strong smell will encourage them to leave. Multiple applications of this garlic solution may be necessary. Garlic is one of the best ways to get rid of wood bees without killing them.

Is Garlic Safe To Use Around My Dog?


Garlic is safe for bees and children. In dogs and cats, large amounts of garlic are toxic. However, it’s usually only toxic if consumed. The diluted crushed garlic solution shouldn’t cause any adverse effects.

6. Plant Peppermint

Peppermint plants are a great way to keep bees away permanently. Planting peppermint or spearmint around your property usually creates a strong enough odor that bees will stay away. These odors are unpleasant to bees. 

However, you have to make sure that you are planting enough peppermint. Bees have a keen sense of smell, but just one or two plants won’t keep them away. This might not be the best solution for your home if you don’t have space to plant a lot of mint. If you’re looking to get rid of ground bees without killing them, peppermint can provide a strong deterrent. 

Is Mint Safe For My Kids? 

Mint is safe for bees and your children, provided they don’t have a mint allergy. However, mint can be toxic to dogs and cats in large doses. Experts at the ASPCA don’t recommend allowing your pet to consume any amount of mint. Don’t use this bee repellent if you have cats or dogs in or around your home.

7. Mothballs

Mothballs can keep bees away. Bees can’t stand the smell of mothballs, so hanging them around beehives and placing them around your property can help deter bees. Mothballs can also keep other insects away. 

Are Mothballs Safe To Use Where My Kids Play? 

Mothballs are one of the most toxic options on this list. Breathing in the fumes can be harmful all the way around. Children and pets who consume mothballs on accident can be seriously injured.

The only good thing about mothballs is that they will keep the bees away. Bees won’t be harmed by mothball fumes, as they will avoid the area. We can’t recommend using mothballs if you have children or pets.  


Bee Removal Tips

The methods listed above will help you get rid of bees without killing them. Here are some tips that will help you succeed safely.

Wear Protective Gear

Even when you’re removing bees at night, bees might become agitated and sting you. Make sure to wear protective gear. Thick gloves, tightly woven mesh, and even a beekeeper’s outfit can help you avoid getting stung.

Work At Night

Bees sleep at night, so it’s best to work on removal methods then. Any of the above methods should be undertaken when the bees are asleep. Otherwise, they may swarm.

Keep Some Solutions Away From Kids And Pets

Essential oils and even citronella can be toxic to children or pets. Make sure that you keep harmful solutions away from your family. Keep them out of the area where you are removing bees.

Identify The Type Of Bee For Best Results

Most of the methods above are aimed at honey bees specifically. However, it can be worthwhile to identify the type of bee you’re dealing with. Different bees will react differently, create different types of hives, and require different types of removal.

You may have carpenter bees, wood bees, or bumblebees instead of honey bees. The removal methods can be similar, but make sure to check for your specific species’ habits. This can help you learn the best times, locations, and types of removals to use.

Don’t Use Bee Traps

Many sources are eager to direct you to bee traps. The idea is to capture the lone, wandering bees in your yard and release them somewhere far off. This works, but it can also lead to aggressive bees if handled incorrectly.

Final Words

Try to remove bees in a way that is safe for the bees, your family, and your pets. Smoking them out is the easiest and most effective way. You can also spray certain solutions or relocate the hive with the help of a professional. Wear protective gear, remove

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