Sweat bees can be a significant annoyance for pool owners. Also known as halictids, these small, metallic-colored bees are attracted to the salt and moisture found in human sweat.

This comprehensive guide will provide you with effective, safe methods to keep sweat bees away from your pool so you can have a peaceful and enjoyable swimming experience.

Characteristics of Sweat Bees

Sweat Bees
Sweat Bees

Sweat bees, belonging to the family Halictidae, are a large group with nearly 4,500 species known for their attraction to human sweat. Here are some of their key characteristics:

  • Size and Appearance: Sweat bees are tiny to medium-sized, ranging from 3 to 10 mm in length. They are typically slender and can vary in color, with some species exhibiting metallic green, blue, or purple hues, while others are black or brown.
  • Behavior: These bees exhibit various social behaviors, from solitary to eusocial. They are generally not aggressive and will only sting when provoked. Their social structure can vary even within the same species, influenced by factors like time of year and geographic location.
  • Nesting: Most sweat bees nest in the ground, though some species prefer rotten wood. They go through the typical four stages of metamorphosis: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Some species overwinter, staying in their nests during the colder months.
  • Pollination: Sweat bees are important native pollinators and play a crucial role in the pollination of wild plants as well as crops such as alfalfa, apples, watermelon, stone fruits, and sunflowers.

Why Are Sweat Bees Attracted to Pools?

Sweat bees are attracted to the salt and moisture in human perspiration. When people sweat in and around pools, it creates a magnet for sweat bees. Additionally, these bees are attracted to water sources, making the pool itself another lure. Understanding what attracts them is the first step in deterring them.

Read also: My Husband Yells at Me

Maintain Pool Cleanliness

Maintain Pool Cleanliness
Maintain Pool Cleanliness

One of the most effective ways to deter sweat bees is to maintain a super clean pool area. These bees love spilled drinks, trash, and food around the pool, so keeping the deck and water free of debris, leaves, and anything else that has fallen into the water is essential. Regularly clean up any spills from drinks or snacks on the pool deck.

It’s ideal to sweep and hose down the entire pool deck at least once a week. Use a leaf skimmer daily to remove any bugs, leaves, or other debris that have gotten into the water. A pool cover when it’s not in use can also help keep debris out.

Strategically Trim Vegetation

Women Trim Vegetation
Trim Vegetation

Sweat bees are attracted to blooming plants and shrubs, where they collect pollen. Trimming back vegetation that blooms close to the pool area will take away their food source. Focus on trimming flowering plants within 5-10 feet of the pool or pool deck.

You don’t necessarily have to remove them completely; just strategic trimming to keep the blooms farther away from the areas where people congregate by the pool. Any blooms right next to the pool or deck should be removed immediately.

Regular Pool Maintenance

Regular Pool Maintenance
Regular Pool Maintenance

In addition to daily cleaning, regular pool maintenance is crucial. Check and balance the water chemistry weekly, brush the pool walls, and skim the surface. If the water becomes unbalanced, it will attract more insects.

You’ll also want to shock the pool water regularly to keep algae from forming on the walls and floor. Algae attract insects. Scheduling a professional cleaning every month or so will keep the pool water pristine.

Physical Barriers to Deter Sweat Bees

Several good physical barriers can help deter sweat bees from entering the pool area:

  • Pool Covers: An anchored pool cover creates an impenetrable barrier between the water and sweat bees. Use it whenever the pool is not being used.
  • Water Features: A water fountain or birdbath away from the pool gives bees another water source.
  • Wasp Nests: Hang fake wasp nests around the pool to trick sweat bees into thinking wasps are there. They’ll stay away!

Natural Sweat Bee Repellents

There are several natural options to repel sweat bees that won’t harm other beneficial pollinators:

  • Peppermint Oil: Mix 15-20 drops of peppermint essential oil with water in a spray bottle and spray around the pool and deck.
  • Citronella Candles: Place citronella candles around the pool area and light them before use. The scent repels bees.
  • Essential Oils: Oils like eucalyptus, lavender, lemongrass, and tea tree can repel bees. Use in sprays or diffusers around the pool.
  • Dryer Sheets: Simply place dryer sheets around deck furniture and in planting beds near the pool. The scent will deter bees.

When to Use Chemicals to Get Rid of Sweat Bees

If other methods aren’t keeping sweat bees at bay, some chemical solutions can be effective. Only use these as a last resort:

  • Insecticides: Products like Temprid FX work well but should be used carefully and according to label directions. Do not spray into the pool.
  • Soapy Water Spray: Spray a mixture of 2-3 tablespoons dish soap with water directly on bees that stubbornly linger on pool walls or deck.
  • Bee Repellents: Look for products designed just for bees rather than broad-spectrum insecticides whenever possible.

When to Call Professional Exterminators

In rare cases when sweat bees are completely undeterred by other methods, contacting a professional exterminator may be necessary. They have commercial-grade solutions and equipment to safely eliminate large infestations.

Professional exterminators will conduct a full inspection, identify potential entry points, and develop a treatment plan tailored to your pool environment. Expect regular follow-up visits to ensure the problem has been completely resolved.

People also ask

Now that we’ve covered how to prevent and get rid of sweat bees at your pool, here are answers to some common questions:

What are sweat bees?

Sweat bees are tiny bees in the Halictidae family that get their name from being attracted to human perspiration. There are over 1000 species in North America.

Why are they attracted to pools?

The moisture, sweat, skin oils, and other debris that accumulate around pools are attractive to sweat bees. The water itself also draws them in.

Are sweat bees dangerous?

Sweat bees rarely sting unless directly threatened. Females have mild stingers. For those allergic, stings can potentially cause anaphylactic shock.

How do I deter bees without harming them?

Using physical barriers, and natural repellents, maintaining cleanliness, and trimming blooming plants are effective and bee-friendly methods. Only use chemicals as a last resort.

Final Words

We hope this comprehensive guide gives you all the tools you need to safely, effectively, and humanely manage sweat bees around your pool. With a proactive multi-pronged approach, you and your family can swim, play, and relax by the pool all season long with minimal buzzing pests. Here’s to many sweat-bee-free summers ahead!

You May Also Like