A fountain can be a really nice centerpiece for your yard. It is one of the most beautiful outdoor centerpieces, and yet, being outside means it is at the mercy of the elements. However, it can also a very attractive water source for thirsty bees buzzing around in the sun.
The best way to keep bees away from your fountain is to provide an alternative water source. Other methods include growing plants that produce scents bees can’t stand, such as marigold flowers and peppermint plants. Don’t grow brightly colored flowers nearby, and try to get rid of all outdoor trash cans, as bees are drawn to sugary substances.
Pools and fountains alike are both huge magnets for bees, especially during the summer. Here’s a video that gives you tips on how to keep bees away from both outdoor water sources:
Every situation is different, and you might need to try a variety of different techniques. If none of the techniques in this video work, read on to find more ways to keep bees away.
Natural Bee-Repelling Plants
Bees can smell just like humans, so the best natural bee-repellants are strong smelling plants and flowers.
Most insects cannot stand the smell of peppermint, and bees are no exception. They will avoid peppermint like cats avoid water, so be sure to plant peppermints as close to your fountain as possible. Bees can’t stand the smell of basil either, so planting that herb should be just as effective.
Cucumbers are also an effective bee repellant. Cucumbers can either be planted in your garden, or they can be sliced up and left outside. Either method is an effective way to get the bitter cucumber scent into the air. To make the cucumbers more pungent, you can slice up the cucumber and put them on an aluminum pie dish in order to intensify the smell.
There are plenty other plants that are toxic to bees (such as wormwood), and a more complete list is provided on this site: https://www.jcehrlich.com/blog/10-plants-that-repel-bees-and-wasps/
Some plants won’t just produce a scent bees can’t stand; they might kill the bees themselves. Carnivorous plants will trap any flying insects, including bees. Venus flytraps and pitcher plants will both trap and feed off bees. While these plants won’t get rid of a bee problem altogether, they will certainly get rid of any bees that come near them.
While growing flowers isn’t always the best idea when it comes to keeping bees away, some flowers can prevent bees from stopping by.
Marigolds and Geraniums both produce a pungent scent that bees will avoid, especially if there are other, sweeter-smelling flowers in the area. These flowers are both various shades of red, and since bees are unable to see red, they won’t notice these flowers as easily and are much less likely to swarm them.
Other Spices and Smells
Sprinkling common spices around your garden might seem like a strange way to ward off bees, but it’s more effective than you might think.
Garlic and cinnamon both ward off bees. If you see bees hanging around your fountain, you can sprinkle some garlic powder or ground cinnamon around the fountain, and they should steer clear.
Distilled vinegar is also a strong, pungent odor that bees and humans alike are not fond of. In order to use this effectively (without making your fountain reek of vinegar), you can spray or use a cloth to lightly wipe a small amount of distilled vinegar on and around the fountain.
If none of those work, your yard probably smells really appealing to bees, so a few nasty scents won’t be enough to keep them away. A good masking scent to use that will cover up all the attractive smells is citronella. Lighting a citronella candle around your fountain will mask all the smells bees are attracted to, preventing bees from building hives.
What NOT to keep near your fountain…
It’s hard to ward off bees if you’re accidentally giving them signals that your fountain is a good place to hang around. Make sure you know what might be attracting bees to your fountain.
Bees love flowers, especially flowers sporting bright colors with a lot of pollen and nectar. Bees cannot see red, but they can see yellow, blue, and purple, so try to avoid planting violet and yellow flowers. Some flowers that bees really love include daisies or Queen Anne’s lace, but a more complete list can be found at this site: https://www.swallowtailgardenseeds.com/tips_lists/bee-friendly-plants.html
Bright colors can attract bees as well, whether they’re brightly colored flowers, or brightly colored tile or t-shirts. When choosing your yard color scheme, remember to avoid the same colors mentioned earlier. Bees will see those bright colors, assume they’re flowers, and land on your fountain (or in the fountain water) even more often.
Many people like eating outside, but if you constantly eat near your fountain and leave your trash lying around, bees will follow. They’ll learn that your yard is a good place to find sugar.
If you still want to eat outside, stay under a covered patio and make sure to clean up after you’re done.
If you’ve been dealing with a bee problem for awhile, and they’ve permanently created a hive on your fountain (or nearby), it might be too late to use the previous tricks. You can try to sprinkle spices or burn candles around the hive, but if that doesn’t force them to move, it might be time to take more drastic measures.
Removing a hive can be extremely dangerous and can have lasting consequences if not done correctly. The remains of an old hive can also attract more bees to the same spot, so removing it yourself might not be a permanent fix.
In this case, the best way to get rid of the bees is to either safely remove the hive yourself, or to hire a professional to do it. Professionals can also keep the hive intact and bring the bees somewhere safer to live.
Birds can also sometimes end up in your fountain, and that can be inconvenient. Read our article about how to keep birds away from your fountain to know what you can do without hurting them.