15 Tips on How to Repel Sweat Bees Naturally

Ralph Astley is a retired gardener from Philadelphia who specializes in outdoor plants and trees. With years of hands-on experience, Ralph not only cares for a diverse range of outdoor flora but also shares his extensive knowledge through well-written articles and social media posts. A trusted authority in arboriculture, he's committed to helping the community grow healthier, more robust gardens.
Learn About Editorial Policy

2-Minute Read

Find How to Repel Sweat Bees Naturally with the help of expert tips and tricks that will help you keep them away for good!

Although beneficial for the ecosystem, sweat bees can be a nuisance for gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts, especially during the warmer months. Fortunately, repelling these tiny, buzzing visitors doesn’t have to involve harsh chemicals or complex strategies. Here’s How to Repel Sweat Bees Naturally!

Find out all about the colors bees hate here 

What are Sweat Bees?

Sweat bees, scientifically known as Halictidae, are diverse bees renowned for their attraction to human sweat. 

Sweat bees are crucial pollinators for many wild plants and some crops. Their small size effectively pollinates flowers that larger bees might overlook. Their presence and health can indicate the overall health of an ecosystem, thus serving as a barometer for environmental conditions.

  • These bees are drawn to human sweat due to its salt content. This can lead to them landing on humans, which is often uncomfortable and annoying.
  • While generally non-aggressive, sweat bees can sting when provoked, especially if trapped against the skin.

Find Leafcutter Bees: Are they Good or Bad here

How to Repel Sweat Bees Naturally

1. Citrus Oils

How to Repel Sweat Bees Naturally 2

Citrus oils, such as lemon or orange oil, are known to be effective in repelling sweat bees. Mix a few drops of citrus oil with water and spray it on exposed skin or clothing before heading outdoors.

Read about Citrus Peel Uses In Garden in this Post

2. Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is another natural repellent that can help keep Sweat bees away. Mix a small amount with water and apply it to your skin or clothing for a refreshing and bee-repelling scent.

3. Cucumber

Cut slices of cucumber and place them around the areas you frequent. The scent of cucumber is known to deter sweat bees.

4. Essential Oil Repellent Spray


Create a DIY repellent spray by combining essential oils like eucalyptus, tea tree, and citronella with water. Spray this mixture on your skin and clothing to create a natural barrier.

Discover Essential Oils for Gardening in this Post

5. Grow More Mints

How to Repel Sweat Bees Naturally 6

Mint is effective in repelling sweat bees, as they dislike its smell. You can use mint to keep sweat bees away from you and your outdoor areas.

  • Grow mint in pots: Plant mint in pots on your porch, patio, or deck to naturally discourage sweat bees with its strong scent. Keep crushing a few leaves for the best effect!
  • Mint Oils / Sprays: Various natural mint and oil sprays are accessible to repel sweat bees. They serve as deterrent sprays for exposed skin or can be applied to surfaces or dispersed in the air using a mister or diffuser.
  • Mint Rub: Crush mint leaves and rub them on exposed skin areas to repel sweat bees. This action will keep the bees away, and you’ll have a minty scent on your skin.

Learn Growing Mint in Water (Indoors) in this Article

6. Use Vanilla Extract

The sweet smell of vanilla can be a pleasant way to repel sweat bees. Dab a small amount of vanilla extract on your skin while working in the garden to keep these bees at bay.

7. Grow Herbs

How to Repel Sweat Bees Naturally 12

Planting bee-repelling herbs like basil, mint, or lemongrass in your garden or outdoor spaces can discourage sweat bees from approaching.

Remember, keep crushing a few leaves every now and then to make them more potent!

6 Herb Growing Secrets Only Experienced Gardeners Know

8. Go for Netting

Covering plants with fine netting can prevent bees from accessing them. Ensure the netting is bee-friendly and allows for adequate plant growth.

9. Add a Water Feature

How to Repel Sweat Bees Naturally 21

If sweat bees are frequenting your garden in search of water, providing an alternative water source can be an effective diversion strategy.

Setting up a small, shallow water source away from your garden can attract the bees to this location instead. This helps keep them away from your working area while still allowing them to fulfill their water needs.

Discover Different Types of Bees in this Post

Some Other Approaches You Can Try

10. Use Unscented Personal Care Products

How to Repel Sweat Bees Naturally 10

Sweat bees, like many insects, are drawn to strong fragrances. This includes scents from lotions, perfumes, and soaps.

Fragrance-free products are less likely to catch the attention of sweat bees, making your gardening experience more comfortable and reducing the risk of bee-related disturbances.

11. Wear Light-Colored Clothing

The color of your clothing can significantly influence the attraction of sweat bees. They are naturally attracted to dark colors like black, blue, green, etc, possibly mistaking them for open spaces or flower surfaces.

Light colors like white, beige, or pastels are less appealing to them, making them a practical choice for garden attire.

Marigold Pest Control: Types of Pests Marigolds Can Repel

12. Maintain Good Hygiene

Regular washing of hands and body is crucial in managing sweat bee attraction. Sweat bees are attracted to the salts and compounds present in human sweat.

You can significantly diminish their attraction by maintaining good hygiene and reducing sweat buildup on the skin.

13. Choose Bee-Friendly Plants Wisely

While sweat bees are important pollinators, their presence can be managed by careful plant selection. Avoiding plants with tubular or deep flowers, which are particularly attractive to sweat bees, can help.

Avoid growing plants like lavender, bee balm, sunflowers, and clovers as they attract these bees.

How to Attract Bees to Your Garden | Bee Garden Ideas

14. Use Bee Repellent

Applying bee repellents can be an effective way to keep sweat bees at bay. However, it’s crucial to follow the product instructions carefully.

Natural or chemical-free repellents can be safer, especially in a garden where ecological balance is important.

15. Avoid Excessive Sweating

Since sweat bees are attracted to human sweat, minimizing sweating can help in reducing their presence. This can be achieved by choosing cooler times for gardening activities, wearing breathable clothing, and staying hydrated.

Recent Posts

Join our 3 Million Followers:


Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here