Sweat bees are a pain in the neck for everyone who works outdoors a lot. Are you a road or construction worker, gardener, extreme sports fan or a street athlete? Have you already encountered these annoying bugs? Do you know that kind of bees they are and how do you get rid of them?
Googling the answers to these questions is often confusing as there is a lot of incoherent and irrelevant information. We have gathered all of the scientifically proven facts and found the tested sweat bee control products. Here we’ll let you know how to get rid of sweat bees, will figure out what is better, faster and more effective: killing, catching or repelling them and will pick the best sweat bee trap, killing spray and repellent.
What Is A Sweat Bee? 7 Sweat Bee FAQs
Why are they called sweat bees?
They are called sweat bees because these bees have a manic craving for human sweat, or, more precisely, to the salt it contains. They need it for a more active lifestyle, just like athletes need more protein to work out. The bees can even crawl under your clothes and in the hair if they smell human sweat. Few people know sweat bees’ real name which is halictid bees belonging to the Halictidae. It is the second most common family of bees after honey bees and they can be found all over the world.
What do sweat bees look like?
Sweat (Halictid) bees unite an enormous number (up to 3500 species) of bees of different colors. Often they are not associated with the bees in general, as many of them don’t have the usual yellow bee coloring. As the University of Florida entomologists report, “The majority of species are dull to metallic black, with the remaining species being metallic green, blue or purple” with a short sharp tongue and long hairy hind legs (quite often it is the metallic green species that are called sweat bees). Males have vividly striped yellow and black abdomens. The bees’ size varies from 5 to 11 mm. Sometimes the sweat bees could be confused with blowflies because of their metallic color or even with hover flies, as the Purdue University specialists claim.
Where do sweat bees nest?
Sweat bees are soil nesting bees: they usually nest and live in the earthen burrows in sunny dry areas, but sometimes their nests can be found in soft wood. Some are semi-social or communal, while others are solitary. Because they are attracted to sweat and water, they are often located close to people working outdoors or, for example, near a pool. There are especially a lot of them in humid jungle climate conditions, as well as on meadows and in the orchards.
When does the sweat bees’ activity peak?
As a rule, sweat bees can be encountered from Match to the end of summer. In certain states, though, for instance, in Georgia, the activity of several sweat bee species peaks from March to October.
Do sweat bees sting?
Yes, females do stings, but in general sweat bees aren’t considered aggressive. According to the information from the University of Kentucky entomologists, they don’t attack humans for the sole purpose of stinging. They merely land on your skin to collect the sweat drops. If you attempt to attack them, they will sting you as they will feel the danger. The same will happen if you keep them in your fist or try to destroy their nest. If you don’t touch the bees, they won’t hurt you, as sweat is their only target.
How dangerous are sweat bee stings?
Sweat bee stings are not dangerous and stung people hardly feel any pain. But this pain still exists and it even has its own rating. Thanks to Justin Schmidt, an American entomologist of the Southwestern Biological Institute and University of Arizona, today the humanity has quite a fascinating scale of various insects’ bites pain. According to Mr. Schmidt, sweat bee stings have the least pain level which is equal to 1 as your skin can barely feel it. “A tiny spark has singed a single hair on your arm”. Still, keep in mind that allergy reactions to these bees are known to happen, just like with any other insect/bee sting or bite.
Is it true that sweat bees are beneficial insects?
Yes, the entomologists frp, around the world confirm that all kinds of bees including the sweat bees are essential to the ecosystem functioning. The latter, in particular, play an important role in the pollination of plants and crops scattered over long distances. The University of Florida entomologists consider stone fruits, pomme fruits, alfalfa, sunflower etc to be such crops. Sweat bees are generalists and will forage on a wide variety of plants. In recent years, people have become more aware of the sweat bees’ ability to save crops and tend to keep them alive.
Still, if sweat bees have become a real misfortune for you, deal with them even despite their usefulness.
How To Get Rid Of Sweat Bees: Should You Kill, Catch Or Repel Them?
So, in which cases does getting rid of sweat bees become a necessity?
- If the best have nested on your property and one-time attacks have become permanent.
- If you like travelling to in the hot humid jungle where sweat bees can stick around you almost from the outset.
- If you work or workout outdoors and the bees distract and disturb you.
- If you are allergic to bees and getting rid of them is vital.
What is better: killing on contact, repelling or catching sweat bees?
Killing on contact means instant elimination of single sweat bees with insecticides.
Catching is large-scale trapping and killing the bees, and is the most desperate measure for those who are unfortunate enough to share their property with the sweat bees nesting there. It is suitable for the extreme cases where the sweat bees at your place have become too intrusive.
Repelling is the most humane and lenient towards the useful sweat bees control method. Repellents can protect you from the bees circling around or when camping, when you don’t have the time to install proper traps.
Below we will describe all three methods to you, and it will be up to you to decide which one works best for you.
Imagine the most common situation when a single or a couple of annoying sweat bees won’t leave you alone. An insecticidal spray will help you get rid of them and their aggravating buzzing. Most importantly, you should always have it handy and aim accurately.
Bee and Wasp Spray: Professional Freeze 17.5 oz
What is so great about this spray? It is cut-rate (it costs only ~$14.46) and effectively kills bees and wasps n contact even within 15 ft in a couple of seconds! The active ingredient of the spra is Prallethrin of the pyrethroids group, and its effectiveness has been proven the most influential scientists of the world. The WHO study showed that the “Prallethrin is very toxic to bees and fish but of low toxicity to birds”, which means it can be used with confidence to kill any bees including sweat bees.
When dealing with any synthetic chemicals, follow the safety rules! Pyrethroids are dangerous to be inhaled, so you can only use tis killing spray outdoors, in attics and in crawl spaces
Price: $14.46 Check the current price
NB! Since sweat bees are rather useful pollinating insects than harmful, it is not necessary to destroy their nest and try to kill all of its inhabitants by flooding the burrow with liquid insecticides! First of all by doing this, you will cause great damage to vegetation and crops, which the killed insects might have pollinated. Secondly, angry bees will defend the nest and violently attack you, and so you get a lot of bites. Third, if the nest is on your property, you risk ruining the fertile layer of soil, which will not recover after such a chemical irrigation soon enough.
What should you do then if there are too many sweat bees at your place and they bother you by constantly circling around and making it difficult to work? You need a more powerful treatment scheme then, and so it’s high time we covered the traps.
To get rid of sweat bees, you neither have to look for a special sweat bee trap, nor buy a random one. Carpenter bee traps, for instance, are not suitable for getting rid of sweat bees. Various species have different types of nesting behavior and so the wooden traps that are specifically designed for catching the former bee species are used. To catch sweat bees you’d better buy an ordinary bee trap (today there are few of them available on the market). For our review we have chosen the best one.
Seicosy (TM) Non-toxic Wasp Trap, Sting Free, Trap Bee, Wasp, Hornet, Yellow Jacket, Fruit Fly and More – The Best Selling Reusable Bee Trap
This is the quickest and least expensive (~$10.99) ready-to-use trap for getting rid of sweat bees. The plastic trap comes empty. You just need to fill it with a sweet solution, which will play the role of sweat bee bait. You can use water with sugar, honey, syrup, juice, and a mixture of soap solution, fruit nectar - these are only few recipes from the experienced buyers. Fill the sweat bee trap with this solution to the level of the lower hole and hang it where the bees swarm: the porch or a tree, for example, but not too high. Bees can fly inside, being lured with the sweet smell, but won’t be able to get out and will drown.
All you have to do is empty the trap as necessary and re-fill it with a sweet solution. It is a simple, convenient, and cheap sweat bee trap with the high Amazon.com rating of 4.3 stars out of 5 stars.
Price: $10.99 Check the current price
We feel obliged to present an alternative to killing the bees, namely repelling the sweat bees. This option should be perfect for you if you don’t want to kill anyone.
Repelling the sweat bees is the most humane way of getting rid of them. You can use a universal repellent which has already been tested in the fight against wasps, moths and other pest insects for these purposes as it will also repel sweat bees. Has a bee flown into your patio and does it prevent you from performing your outdoor activities? We’ve found a cheap solution for you.
Hot Shot 5580 No Pest Strip Unscented Hanging Vapor Insect Repellent
The manufacturer recommends that you use this ~$9.12 versatile repelling strip in garages, basements, attics, warehouses, but many users hang it on the porch, the patio, on the clothesline pole, in the street laundry and so on, and it is really effective against the bees. The strip does not produce any strong odors and does not take up much space. If you use it indoors, ventilate the room and consider its size as the Hot Shot Strip protects a130 sq ft area for 4 months.
This repellent has been given a 4.1 out of 5 stars rating along with the positive reviews of the users who have obtained it to repel the bees. Even the allergy patients were satisfied. Read over 700 customers’ reviews on Amazon.com to learn more.
Price: ~$9.12 Check the current price
3 Homemade Ways to Get Rid Of Sweat Bees
Apart from ready-to-use options there are many homemade ways of getting rid of sweat bees. We’ll list several most popular pieces of advice below:
- A DIY sweat bee repellent: rub your skin with mint soap as the peppermint smell repels the bees
- A DIY sweat bee spray: take an empty spray bottle; fill ¼ of it with dish soap and the remaining ¾ with water. If you aim well enough when spraying, you are supposed to knock off the bees on the ground. But will this device kill them?
- Sweat bee bait is a method for the patient ones. Take a fresh mango, cut into pieces, place them in the box and hang the box on a tree. Watch the sweat bees swarm around the box with the juicy smell. On the next day, hang the box far enough from the previous spot as possible to make the bees fly and reach the bait. Repeat until the box is too far from you (with the bees). Remember to replace mango once in a while.
We have only listed three tips out of the many that people use in an attempt to rid themselves of annoying neighborhood with the bees. Do they work? It is not known. You can check if you have patience and plenty of spare time, or you can buy ready traps and sprays that have already collected tens and hundreds of detailed reviews on major online platforms and have been tested by the experts and customers.
7 Tips to Protect Yourself and Your Garden from Sweat Bees
Finally, we’ll reveal how to behave in order to protect yourself from attacks of unpleasant sweat bees and your property from the sweat bees’ nesting:
- Obviously, take shower regularly. This is a golden rule when it comes to getting rid of sweat bees. The less sweat there is the less attractive for the bees you see.
- Try to worry less as stress can trigger sweating (refer to point 1).
- Wear less perfume as the sweat bees as well as other species are also attracted by sweet odors. Refrain from using any perfume at all when working or spending much time outside.
- Wear closed clothes and cover your head whenever possible to make it more difficult for the sweat bees to reach your skin or crawl into your hair.
- Mulch the soil and water it in time. This will reduce the attractiveness of your backyard to the sweat bees looking for a nesting spot as they like open and dry land.
- Remove old tree stumps and dead trees from your property: if there are no other options, the bees can settle there.
- Eliminate any unnecessary water sources as the water also draws the bees.
If you think carefully, you’ll realize that getting rid of sweat bees is not scary and is a feasible task. Even investing into ready-to-use control products will hardly damage your budget and will help you have fun and work outside in peace. Use the proven products only and follow the prevention measures so that the sweat bees could not bother you anymore!