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9 Essential Oils to Use as a Natural Bee & Wasp Repellent

While bees and wasps are mostly harmless and won’t mind as long as you don’t disturb them, it can be quite unsettling if they get too near, and you run the risk of getting stung. Luckily, there are essential oils for bee repellent you can use to keep them away, and here are some of them:

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  1. Peppermint
  2. Citronella
  3. Lemongrass*
  4. Geranium
  5. Lavender*
  6. Clove
  7. Eucalyptus
  8. Rosemary
  9. Tea Tree*

*Works best on repelling wasps and not so much on bees.

It is crucial to remember that the steps you take are to keep bees and wasps away from your living spaces and not to use any sort of pesticide or methods to kill them. The world is currently going through a natural pollinator crisis, and bees and wasps are really vital to the environment. Their presence is usually a sign of a healthy ecology, so the last thing you want to do is to disrupt this. Hurting them would only make them hostile, making you a target to be stung. 

That said, here are some of the essential oils you can use as a natural bee and wasp repellent:

The Best Essential Oils for Bee Repellent 


Peppermint Oil – Plant Therapy

Bugs in general hate the smell of peppermint. Peppermint plants naturally deter bees and wasps away and their oil can also be used to repel them as well. 


Citronella Oil – Plant Therapy

Citronella is a powerful insect repellent as they repel mosquitoes. But this subtle smelling oil can also keep bees away as well as wasps. 


Lemongrass Oil – Eden’s Garden

Lemongrass oil is another popular wasp deterrent. The plant is something these bugs also naturally avoid . When mixed with other essential oils, bees and wasps will want to head on somewhere else to wander to.


Geranium Oil – Rocky Mountain

Geranium is another naturally effective repellent of these bugs. Bees avoid geranium flowers because of their bright colors and they are also not very keen on its smell. 


Lavender Oil – Plant Therapy

We humans love the smell of lavender and like the calm and soothing effect they have on us. But this scent is not something our little friends like. Lavender oil is also very effective in treating bee and wasp stings


Clove Oil – Now

Clove oil is effective in repelling not just bees and wasps, but all kinds of other insects in general. Clove oil alone is very potent in keeping them away and a few drops of it can be used to make sure these bugs never give your home a visit.


Eucalyptus Oil – Plant Therapy

Similar to the effect of peppermint, bees and wasps despise the smell of eucalyptus. The plant itself is enough to keep them away, so when they take a whiff of it in your house or garden, they would flutter away. 


Rosemary Oil – Now

Another one of the naturally-occurring plants that keeps bees away is rosemary. Its strong scent helps keep bugs away. Rosemary oil is very potent in repelling insects especially when used as a spray or when diffused. 

Tea Tree*

Tea Tree Oil – Eden’s Garden

Tea tree oil is probably the most subtle and its scent is not as strong as those of the previously mentioned oils, but it does its job to keep wasps away. Because its smell is not overpowering, this is perfect for those who might be more sensitive to the stronger scents the other oils provide. 

*These essential oils are actually safe to use to use around bees and they don’t mind their scent. In fact, the oils are used by beekeepers and handlers, with lemongrass oil being used to actually lure bees in a nuc box. We decided to add these oils to the list since they are very potent deterrents against wasps, which you maybe more interested to repel.

Repel, not exterminate

The world is going through a bee crisis, as honey bees are going through a rapid decline in their population. It is estimated that more than 70 of the 100 or so crops that provide 90% of the world’s food rely on the work of bee pollination. The factors linked to this crisis are mostly linked to human activity, as we pose a threat to their habitat and expose them to many unnatural pesticides. Aside from honey bees, other bee species like sweat bees and carpenter bees, and even several species of wasps, aid in plant pollination and their presence in an ecology is usually a sign of a healthy environment.

That is why it is best to take measures to repel and deter their presence instead of calling the exterminator on them. When you see them settling down in your property or have already built a nest or a hive, it is best to call on professional beekeepers or wasps handlers to take care of the situation for you, instead of taking matters into your own hands and swatting them away or spraying them with pesticides. 

How to Use Essential Oils as a Bee Repellent

Essential oils are a quick and easy way to keep these critters away from your property. Planting the natural repellents could take a bit of a time, so using essential oils is a pretty great alternative. 

It is recommended that you use the best brands to ensure the best results. 

There are several ways you can use essential oils to deter bees and wasps, and you can get creative with this. 

A popular technique is by using a spray. There are several recipes that combine up to 3-4 of the essential oils mentioned in the list above. Mix up to 5-10 drops of the essential oil of your choice in half a cup of water and put in a spray. Some recipes call for adding a few milliliters of glycerin and/or dish soap into this spray solution. 

A scientific study claimed that a mix of clove, geranium, lemongrass, and rosemary repelled wasps. A recipe combining these oils could totally deter the presence of wasps near you.

You can then spray this on the corners of your home, especially on windowsills and door frames. It is also perfect to spray for outside patios and for decks. Spraying this essential oil solution on the corners of the outside of the house also helps in keeping bees and wasps from nesting on these spots.

How often do you need to spray? Well, it depends on how frequent you see these bugs nearby. One trick is when you notice you can’t smell the scent of your oil spray, you may go ahead and use your essential oil spray solution again.  

Tea tree is a perfect wasp repellent for humans. Spraying a tea tree oil solution on you or dabbing them on your clothes is best especially if you mean to work on your garden or go outside. 

Peppermint, geranium, clove, lemongrass, and other oils that emit a rather strong scent are potent repellents on their own. Dabbing a cotton ball on these oils and leaving them by the windows are very effective ways to keep the buzzers away. 

Another effective method is rubbing these oils directly on the leaves of nearby plants. Oils like clove, eucalyptus, and rosemary are said to do wonders in repelling bees and wasps when rubbed on the plants nearby your property.

Lastly, diffusing these oils or a blend of these oils is also a very potent way to keep your home feeling and smelling fresh while keeping the bees and wasps away. 

Alternative ways to keep Bees and Wasps away

Other popular ways to keep bees and wasps away include spreading around slices of cucumber, garlic cloves, and cinnamon on the areas you want them to stay away from. 

They also hate the smell of anything citrus; the zest or rind of a lemon is more than enough to keep these critters away. Citrus oil is also a very potent deterrent against them.

Our winged friends may have something against anything sour-smelling because another method that is said to be really powerful in repelling bees and wasps is by keeping a few tablespoons of distilled vinegar exposed. 

Wearing brightly colored clothes also scare these bugs away. 

So we talked about what essential oils our lovely bug-eyed friends hate, now begs the question, what essential oils attract bees and wasps?

Bees and wasps alike are attracted to the scents of the likes of sage, catnip, chamomile, hyssop, and beebalm. It is best to avoid using these if you are not keen on attracting them and growing a hive of your own.

So those are just among the safe and humane ways to keep bees and wasps away. Always remember that it is best to keep on their good side, because we depend on them to pollinate the food we eat.

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