How to Keep Wasps and Bees Away from a Pool

Written by Michael Dean
July 28, 2023

bee on the edge of a swimming pool

Bees may be one of the most important organisms in the world, but nothing is more annoying than sharing your swimming pool with bees and wasps. They will buzz around your face, and you may get stung by one of these drowning insects in your pool. Luckily, there are many ways to keep these insects out of your pool area without harming yourself or the animals.

In this article, I’ll break down tried and true methods for keeping wasps and bees away from your pool so you can swim worry-free.

Main Takeaways

  • Bees are vital for environmental stability and should not be exterminated.
  • There are plenty of humane ways to get rid of bees and wasps.
  • Wasps are much more aggressive and troublesome than bees, and sometimes the only way to get rid of them is by exterminating them.

How to Keep Bees Away from Your Pool

Let me start with this—bees aren’t inherently bad. In fact, they’re the number one pollinator of our crops, giving us access to approximately one-third of our food. Without bees, it is safe to say that the world as we know it would collapse.

Unfortunately, the population of bees is declining. Between 2014 and 2017 alone, pesticides, climate change, and habitat destruction contributed to a nearly 25% drop in the bee population.

Long story short? I won’t teach you how to kill bees to keep them away from your pool. Instead, I’ll show you environmentally friendly methods to keep bees in the trees and away from your swimming pool area. In fact, implementing the strategies below may benefit the bee population since bees often drown in pool water when they fly down for a drink.

Set up a Bee Water Bowl

Bees often visit pools because they’re thirsty. So your first step should be to set up a tiny area far from your pool in your backyard with a water bowl the bees can drink from.

You can get as straightforward or fancy as possible with the water bowl. Some people want to make a pond-like setup or purchase a birdbath, while others prefer to put water in a standard plastic container.

The water looks more attractive by placing some stones and sticks around it. Putting a branch that leads from the water into dry air is especially important so that if the bee lands in the water, it can crawl back out.

Bees are smart. So consider setting up your bee water bowl before pool season begins. That way, they’ll already be gravitating to the bowl when you open up your pool.

Use Your Pool Cover

Obviously, you aren’t going to want to keep your pool covered all the time, especially during prime swimming weather. But covering your pool when it is not in use is another great way to keep bees out of your pool. As I mentioned, bees and wasps are mainly attracted to your pool because they are thirsty. So, if they can’t access the water, they can’t drink, so they will seek another water source!

Keep Your Food and Drink Covered and Clean Up Spills

Bees and wasps are attracted to the delicious surgery smells of sodas, sweets, and other food. If you are eating or drinking in your pool area, keep your food and drink covered and clean up any spills fast. Otherwise, you will attract bees to your area. You should also keep your trash and recycling bins as far away from your pool as possible.

Use Dryer Sheets

Believe it or not, the solution to your bee problem could be in your laundry room. However, I must warn you that there’s no scientific evidence that dryer sheets work for keeping bees away.

That said, many people swear by it, so it’s worth giving it a try.

Using scented dryer sheets is best, as the smell is supposed to deter the bees. You can get creative with how you want to approach using the sheets—you can try placing them in baskets around the edge of your pool, sticking them on the pointy parts of your pool gate, or any other appropriate area.

If you notice that the dryer sheets seem to be keeping bees away from your pool, they may be working. Make sure to replace them once the smell goes away, as this is likely what deters them in the first place.

Use Mothballs

Similar to dryer sheets, mothballs emit a strong smell that is designed to prevent moths from eating your clothing. That said, moth balls are also known to help deter bees. Honey bees are not a fan of the chemicals in mothballs, so when they smell them, they will generally steer clear of the area. Mothballs do not generally harm bees, but I must point out that if the bees come into direct contact with them, it could be potentially harmful to them. That said, bees should avoid the mothballs and will not touch them directly.

Circulation, Circulation, Circulation!

Bees are good at many things, such as flying and pollinating, but they are not known for their swimming skills. The accumulation of dead bees in your skimmer is proof of this. So, bees and wasps are much less likely to drink from a pool if the water is moving. A good way to ward off bees and wasps from your pool area is to keep your pump running throughout the day.

Avoid Planting Flowers or Other Floral Smells

Bees are pollinators, meaning they take pollen and nectar from flowers and turn it into honey. So, if you have a large concentration of flowers, herbs, and flower-scented things (candles/perfumes) in your pool area, bees will likely come in hoards. While planting flowers in your yard can add a lot of beauty to your pool area, it can also attract a lot of bees, so you may want to rethink where you put flowers.

Additionally, as awesome as it is to have an herb garden, bees are also attracted to herbs like thyme, sage, oregano, rosemary, etc. So, if your herb garden is located near your pool, the bees will likely make their way over to your pool for a drink.

Plant Bee Deterring Plants

The good news is that you don’t have to get rid of greenery altogether in your pool area. In fact, there are plenty of plants that actually work to deter bees. Some common herbs and plants you can put in your pool to discourage bees are mint, citronella, wormwood, eucalyptus, basil, and marigolds.

Bring in a Beekeeper

If you have a large concentration of bees around your pool, the issue likely lies in there being a nest nearby. In that case, skip over the other suggestions. If you have a nest nearby, your best bet is to hire a beekeeper to remove it safely.

I mentioned that killing bees shouldn’t be an option because of their declining population. And a professional beekeeper can remove them from your area without killing them. The beekeeper will take the bees to a local bee farm and harvest their honey seasonally.

How to Keep Wasps Away from Your Pool

Bees can be annoying insects, but they are not likely to sting humans if they are not threatened. On the other hand, wasps have a worse reputation for being aggressive. They also often produce much more painful stings.

However, wasps play a vital role in nature. They’re predatory insects that eat flies, caterpillars, spiders, and even bees. As a result, farmers like having wasps around their crops because they provide natural pest control.

Wasps also have some pollinating properties. However, since they tend to pick different species of flowers to visit, they’re not as effective pollinators as bees.

Despite their benefits, I think we can all agree that no one wants to emerge from their pool to find a wasp flying toward them in an attack position. Below are some strategies you can use to keep these aggressive insects away.

Use Fake Wasp Nests

The great thing about wasps is that they’re easy to trick. They are extremely territorial and hate other wasps. Therefore, you can purchase fake wasp nests and put them around your yard—especially near your pool.

Doing so will make real wasps less likely to build their nests there. However, the downside to this method is that once a wasp colony builds its nest, it’s practically impossible to get them to leave it.

Therefore, a fake wasp nest should only be used as a preventative measure to keep wasps out of your yard.

Use Wasp Repelling Plants

You can kill (or deter at least) two birds with one stone by planting many of the same plants that deter bees to also deter wasps. Plants such as citronella, basil, and wormwood are a great natural way to keep pesky wasps away from your pool water!

Entice Them with Meat

It may be surprising to find that wasps love raw meat and will gravitate toward it if you have some out in your yard.

It may sound like an unappetizing solution, but luring wasps away from your pool with red meat is an effective strategy.

To do this, you’ll want to place the meat far from your pool but not so far that it attracts an entirely different colony of wasps (remember, wasps spread their colonies out and don’t get along with each other).

It’s best to hang the meat from a tree branch, and you must use raw meat—cooked meat doesn’t create the same kind of “buzz.”

You also should be careful to use a small amount of meat. Otherwise, the meat will start to rot before the wasps consume it all. And you will have another problem on your hands with flies and maggots.

Cut a Lemon in Half and Insert Cloves

This one seems weird, but it actually works! Cut a few lemons in half and stick whole cloves inside the lemon halves. Then place these on small plates and spread them around your pool. Wasps hate the smell of these clovey-lemons and will avoid the area and hopefully look for a new water source!

Get Professional Help

Wasps aren’t the kind of insect you want flying around your pool, especially if someone in your household has allergies. Therefore, if you cannot get rid of them humanely, calling a pest control company may be the only reasonable option.

Since pest control companies usually use toxic chemicals to remove wasps, let them know if you’d rather have them remove the wasps without chemicals. After all, you don’t want dangerous insecticides seeping into your swimming pool.

What Attracts Bees and Wasps to Your Pool?

Bees and wasps are attracted to pools of water in nature as well as in your backyard. They use cool water to control the temperature of their hives during the hot months. Setting up a nest near your pool is a perfect opportunity for both bees and wasps to sustain themselves with drinking water and natural air conditioning!

Get My Free Pool Care Checklist

Download my free, printable pool maintenance checklist to help you accomplish regular pool care tasks for any type of swimming pool.

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Take Your Pool Back

You don’t have to suffer by swimming with bees and wasps flying around your pool. By implementing one or more of the strategies here, you’ll soon be on your way to enjoying a peaceful time in the water. If you have other problems, like worms in your pool, be sure to read my other guides.

While the most straightforward solution may seem like extermination, bees and wasps play a vital role in the ecosystem. Therefore, I urge you to use one of the environmentally friendly approaches I discussed here. Your clean pool water and dinner plate will thank you!

Have questions? Drop me a line.

Scroll to Top