Sweat bees are highly active this year due to the increase in heat and humidity. If you’ve seen these tiny insects you can perhaps count yourself lucky. These little bees are rarely noticed by people and when they are they may be confused for flies due to their unique metallic coloring.
And while sweat bees are beneficial, docile, and small, they can become a nuisance pest when they nest on your property or swarm around your home. But what are sweat bees exactly, what is their purpose, and how do you get rid of them?
If you’re asking those questions then you’ve come to the right place. In today’s article, we are going to learn all about sweat bees, why they are important to our ecosystem, and how to control and get rid of them if they become an overwhelming problem on your property.
What Are Sweat Bees?
Sweat bees are often mistaken for flies due to their sometimes metallic coloring.
Sweat bees are a small type of bee that is common all across the world. In fact, there are over 1,000 sweat bee species in the United States. Many come in different colors and, depending on the species, can nest underground, in trees, in wood piles, and in cracks and crevices around our property.
Sometimes confused for flies, sweat bees are typically not a problem for people because they rarely sting. Furthermore, if they do sting, their sting is the least painful of all the bee and wasp species.
Still, sweat bees can become problematic, especially as the weather warms up and becomes more humid. You see, while sweat bees typically dine on nectar and pollen, they are also attracted to sweat. Since humans sweat, they may find sweat bees seeking them out.
When swatted away, sweat bees will simply fly off in search of an easier meal. But if squished into the skin, a sweat bee may be provoked to sting. Still, stinging is not the main reason people look up how to get rid of sweat bees.
Most people want to know how to get rid of sweat bees when they find they have a colony of these insects nesting on their property, in their soil, or along their foundation. No one wants a large colony of bees hanging around their home whether they are docile or not, right?
Of course, it’s important to note that sweat bees are highly beneficial pollinators, with some of the most diverse pollinating ability of all the bees. In fact, they are able to pollinate a number of local plants from flowers to alfalfa, making them a wonderful addition to farmers and gardeners alike.
Plus, sweat bees are an important food source to other vital wildlife like birds. This is why most experts recommend leaving sweat bees alone to do their thing, so long as they aren’t causing problems. However, if you have sweat bees nesting on your property in a very inconvenient place, you may need to know how to get rid of sweat bees once and for all.
But how do you know for sure you are dealing with a sweat bee nest as opposed to other bees or flying insects? Let’s take a look at how to recognize a common sweat bee problem.
How To Get Rid Of Sweat Bees – Identifying A Sweat Bee Problem
Sweat bees can become problematic because they are attracted to human sweat.
Most sweat bees nest below ground and prefer thin, dry soil where they can build chambers and cells. However, sweat bees can also nest in trees, beneath loose bark, in cracks and crevices along your foundation, and even in abandoned rodent holes along your property.
Swarms of sweat bees are not usually common, however sweat bees are attracted to salt and can swarm you if it’s an especially hot and humid day and they are seeking to make a meal out of your sweat.
If you notice an excess of small flying insects about the size of 0.12 to 0.40 inches that are black, metallic green, yellow, or bright green, you may have a sweat bee colony nearby.
Sweat Bees often look like hover flies, but you can tell these bees apart from flies because they look like bees upon closer inspection when it comes to shape, wing design, and size. They also often have striped abdomens like many other bee species.
The below video shows a sweat bee eating nectar from a flower and gives you a good idea of what this type of insect looks like.
If you’re wondering how to get rid of sweat bees, one of the first questions you should ask yourself is what has attracted them to your property in the first place. Understanding what attracts sweat bees will not only help you to remove them, but it will also help to keep them from coming back.
What Attracts Sweat Bees?
Sweat bees are named after their love of human sweat.
Like most insects, sweat bees are attracted to food sources and shelter. Sweat bees are herbivores that eat nectar and pollen, and have the ability to dine on a unique number of flowers and plants, which is one of the factors that makes them such beneficial pollinators.
Their most favorite meals include crops, wildflowers, stone fruits, sunflowers, and alfalfa, but they can make a meal out of many other types of flowers and plants. Sweat bees are also attracted to sweat, so if you live in a hot, humid region and spend quite a bit of time outdoors sweating, you may also be an attractant to sweat bees.
When it comes to shelter, sweat bees look for dry, thin soil that is ideal for them to build their nests beneath. Of course, not all sweat bees nest underground, and some may be attracted to nesting in trees. Hollowed trees, abandoned rodent holes, wood piles, and cracks and crevices along your foundation and the siding of your home can all be potential nesting spots for sweat bees.
Many people don’t mind having sweat bees around, but if you’re looking for how to get rid of sweat bees on your property, don’t worry. There are a few different methods you can use to safely and effectively keep these bees away.
How To Get Rid Of Sweat Bees – Best Treatment Methods
Sweat bees are sensitive and there are plenty of ways to control them.
You can’t control the weather and you can’t control how much you sweat, but you can control which methods you use when it comes to how to get rid of sweat bees on your property. Sweat bees are repelled easily by the use of a number of natural repellents and commercial insecticides, so you have plenty of options to choose from.
Some of the best treatment methods for how to get rid of sweat bees include:
- Natural Repellents
Most experts recommend using natural repellents as a method for how to get rid of sweat bees for a few reasons. First, natural repellents are safe for people, pets, and the environment.
Second, natural repellents usually won’t kill these beneficial insects but will instead repel them and prevent them from returning by making your property less inviting to them. Natural repellents can also work to deter a number of other insects and pests, which we’ll discuss further down.
Many homeowners find bee traps useful because they help capture problematic sweat bees who fly too close to their home or property. However, bee traps don’t remove nests or colonies on your property and will provide a temporary bandage to a sweat bee problem as opposed to a solution.
- Home remedies
As you read on, you’ll find that many natural repellents and commercial insecticides use common household ingredients like peppermint oil and cedar oil to help repel insects like sweat bees.
So, it comes as no surprise that there are plenty of home remedies and household recipes you can use as methods for how to get rid of sweat bees on your property.
Common insecticides are an effective pest control method often used for severe pest issues. One of the benefits of using an insecticide is that it kills pest insects quickly. However, one of the major downfalls of using insecticides is that most use harsh ingredients that are harmful to people, pets and the environment.
Furthermore, using insecticides on beneficial insects like sweat bees is not always necessary, as there are plenty of other, natural options you can use, like repellents.
How To Get Rid Of Sweat Bees Using Natural Repellents
Many sweat bees can be controlled using natural repellents.
Because sweat bees are so easily repelled by a number of safe and natural ingredients, many experts recommend using natural repellents that are safe for people, pets, and the environment for how to get rid of sweat bees.
But what are the best natural repellents that work for how to get rid of sweat bees effectively? We have listed some of our favorites for you below.
Mighty Mint Peppermint Oil Spray
Many insects are naturally repelled by the overwhelming scent of peppermint oil. The benefits of using natural peppermint oil sprays is that it not only repels sweat bees and keeps them from returning, but it leaves behind a lovely scent most people like.
One of our favorite peppermint products for how to get rid of sweat bees is Mighty Mint peppermint spray. It works to repel a number of pests like mosquitoes, flies, earwigs, termites, and ants.
You can use this product both indoors and outdoors to repel sweat bees, however we recommend using this product at night when spraying it around a sweat bee nest, as this is when most sweat bees are inside their nest and are less active.
Fischer’s Bee-Quick Bee Deterrent
We really like this bee deterrent by Fischer’s because it is used by lots of professional beekeepers. Specifically designed for honeybees, this product should work well to also control and remove sweat bees.
It uses natural ingredients that repel insects and is designed to remove bees from their nests safely. You may need to apply this product several times to evict bees from their nest before covering the hive up. We also recommend using other methods of control for how to get rid of sweat bees in order to keep them from returning, which we’ll discuss further down in our preventative section.
Green Man’s Lemon Bomb
This lemon bomb spray is a safe and all-natural method you can use for how to get rid of sweat bees, carpenter bees, wasps, and more. Many insects are repelled by citrus scents, and this lemon bomb spray is specifically designed to repel insects and help you get your yard and property back without harming them, you, your loved ones, or the environment.
You can use this product as many times as needed and can spray it along the perimeter of your home, in your garden, and anywhere else you notice sweat bee activity.
Zevo Stinging Insect Killer
If you have an allergy to bees and are worried about getting stung by sweat bees while trying to remove them, you can try using a natural remedy like the stinging insect killer listed above.
This is more of a spot treatment method that will help you as you work on how to get rid of sweat bees, however keep in mind that if you are looking for a way to simply remove them without killing them, this may not be the product for you.
That said, this is an effective tool for those with bee allergies to help ward off stinging insects like sweat bees, especially since they do tend to land on people in search of a quick meal of sweat.
Natural Oust Peppermint Oil Bug Repellent
Natural Oust makes another great peppermint oil product we like to repel not only sweat bees, but also mice, rats, moles, voles, roaches, spiders, bees, wasps, mosquitoes and more. This product can kill on contact if sprayed directly on insects, but it can also work as a repellent when sprayed around the perimeter of your home.
If you want to reduce sweat bee activity and prevent them from coming around your home, simply spray this product anywhere you want to keep sweat bees from hanging around. If you want to use this product to kill sweat bees, you can spray it directly on the nest.
Ultrasonic Pest Repeller
Ultrasonic pest repellents are some of our favorite repellents for how to get rid of sweat bees because they use harm-free, non-toxic sound frequencies that irritate sweat bees and other pests like insects, bats, and snakes by making your home and property less inviting to them.
The above ultrasonic pest repellent can be used inside and in specific areas outdoors, although it does require an electrical outlet and shelter. This is ideal for keeping sweat bees out of garages, sheds, barns, and other spaces they may find appealing.
How To Get Rid Of Sweat Bees Using Home Remedies
Sweat bees are repelled by citrus, peppermint, and other natural ingredients.
Sweat bees may have the ability to digest pollen and nectar from a wide range of flowers and vegetation, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t sensitive to some natural ingredients and even a few plants as well.
If you want to know a few natural ways you can repel sweat bees and keep them from returning, we have you covered with a list of home remedies for how to get rid of sweat bees below.
Pure Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is one of our favorite home remedy methods you can use for how to get rid of sweat bees because it is all natural and so versatile. You can use pure peppermint oil extract on it’s own to protect yourself and loved ones from sweat bees or you can combine it with water and spray it around your property to reduce sweat bee activity.
This is a home remedy we love because it also smells great and has a number of healing benefits. In order to protect yourself from sweat bees using peppermint oil, simply dab the oil on your wrists, neck, and ankles to help deter sweat bees from landing on you.
Need some other home remedy ideas for how to get rid of sweat bees?
Sweat Bees Are Naturally Repelled By The Following Ingredients:
- Peppermint oil
- Geranium oil
- Clove oil
- Rosemary oil
- Citronella oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Cedarwood oil
- Vanilla extract
- Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Now, let’s take a look at a few of our favorite recipes you can use for how to get rid of sweat bees.
Vinegar Sweat Bee Deterrent Spray
What You’ll Need:
- 1 tsp Vinegar
- 1 quart of water
Mix the above solution together in a spray bottle and spray it around your property or anywhere you want to remove or reduce sweat bee activity. While a small amount is safe to spray on gardens, note that the acidity of the vinegar can be harmful to some plants so use it carefully.
Peppermint Oil And Dish Soap Bee Repellent Spray
What You’ll Need:
- 3 Drops Peppermint Oil
- ⅛ tsp Cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 3 tsp Liquid Dish Soap
- 1 Spray Bottle filled halfway with water
The above mixture will kill sweat bees on contact so use this only if you want to do so. The soap and water mixture stops the sweat bees from being able to fly and also suffocates them. You can use this around nests to not only deter stinging insects like sweat bees, but also help reduce activity and keep them from returning.
If you are wanting to know how to get rid of sweat bees in your garden, you might consider planting some bee repellent plants, like:
- Pitcher Plants
- Pitcher Plants
Other home remedies and methods you can use to help protect yourself from sweat bees and reduce sweat bee activity around your home include:
- Practice Good Hygiene
Sweat bees often land on people to lap up the sweat from their skin. Shower often and dry off sweat when outside to be less attractive to sweat bees. If a sweat bee does land on you, stay calm and just swat it away. Slapping and squishing the sweat bee into your skin will likely result in a sting.
- Don’t Wear As Much Perfume Or Cologne
Sweat bees are attracted to sweet scents, so if you are noticing a large amount of sweat bees around your property, try to avoid wearing sweet scented perfumes and colognes until you have figured out how to get rid of sweat bees.
- Wear long sleeves
Since sweat bees are attracted to the salty sweat on your skin, wearing longer sleeves and more covered clothing will help keep them from landing on you.
- Apply moist mulch to soil
Adding mulch to your landscaping will help reduce the areas that are appealing to sweat bees, like dry soil. However, mulch can also attract other pesky insects like earwigs, so keep this in mind.
- Remove debris
Sweat bees like to build nests in old piles of wood and are attracted to dead trees, stumps, and other types of materials. Remove these items from around your property to help reduce sweat bee activity.
- Reduce unnecessary water sources
Water sources like bird baths and ponds can attract a number of pests, including sweat bees. If you are wondering how to get rid of sweat bees, remove unnecessary water sources or refresh them often to help keep bees and other insects away.
How To Get Rid Of Sweat Bees Using Insecticides
Insecticides should be used only as directed as they contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful to people and pets.
As we mentioned above, insecticides are not always required when it comes to how to get rid of sweat bees. Many people don’t like to use insecticides as they often use harsh chemicals that can be harmful to humans and pets. Of course, if you have a large sweat bee infestation on your property or around your home, you may have no other choice.
If you are looking for the best insecticides for how to get rid of sweat bees, we have listed a few effective commercial products that work below.
Ortho Home Defense Indoor And outdoor Insect Killer
First on our list of how to get rid of sweat bees using insecticides is an all around insect repellent by Ortho. This product works to control a number of insects like earwigs, spiders, roaches, and more. It includes a wand to help reach cracks and crevices, which is ideal if you have a large sweat bee infestation along the sidings of your home, but it also has the ability to be sprayed outside in your yard and garden.
While this is an effective insecticide and should work to eradicate large sweat bee nests, it does use an ingredient called Bifenthrin. This is a strong insecticide that is toxic and can be harmful to people, pets, and the environment. WIth that in mind, this product should only be used as directed and kept out of reach of children and pets.
Cyzmic CS Controlled Release Insecticide
This insecticide uses the active ingredient Lamda Cyhalothrin, which is an effective and long-lasting insecticide used to control many common garden pests like flies, fleas, spiders, termites, mosquitoes, and wasps.
However, like all chemical insecticides on this list, it works using toxic chemicals that can be harmful to people, pets and the environment and should therefore be used with caution and only as directed.
Hot Shot Pest Control Concentrate
Another insecticide that will work for how to get rid of sweat bees in large colonies is by Hot Shot. This insecticide listed above is a concentrated product that is meant to be diluted with water and sprayed directly on the nest.
It kills on contact and continues working for a long time after it has been applied to kill any straggler bees who return. That said, use this product carefully as it uses toxic chemicals that are highly potent, especially if the product is not diluted with water properly.
How To Get Rid of Sweat Bees – When Should You Call A Professional?
While sweat bees are generally not dangerous, their sting does contain venom and can cause an allergic reaction to sensitive people and pets. If you are sensitive to bee stings, consider calling a professional to remove sweat bees.
If you are dealing with a very large sweat bee problem and need to know how to get rid of sweat bees fast, you may need to call a professional. Though rare, large sweat bee infestations can occur and can be dangerous to those with severe allergies to bee stings.
Are you concerned about how to get rid of sweat bees on your own? Don’t worry. Most local pest management companies will be able to help you remove sweat bees. Professional sweat bee removal typically costs between $75 to $150 depending on the severity of the problem and the company.
Tips On Preventing A Future Sweat Bee Infestation
Sweat bees can be prevented by removing potential sweat bee nests.
Once you know how to get rid of sweat bees and you’ve managed to control the problem, the next step should be focused on prevention. You can help reduce your chances of facing another sweat bee problem by following the below preventive methods.
- Remove Potential Sweat Bee Nests
Sweat bees like building nests in wood piles, around dead trees, and in the cracks and crevices of your home, garage or garden shed. You can help reduce sweat bee activity on your property by removing debris and caulking and sealing any openings along your foundation
- Lay Mulch
One way to help repel sweat bees is to lay mulch around your garden and property, especially if you have dry soil anywhere that could potentially make for a good sweat bee nest. However, as we mentioned above, mulch can also attract other insects like earwigs.
- Fill In Abandoned Rodent Holes
Abandoned rodent holes make excellent nests for insects like sweat bees. A good way to prevent them from nesting on your property is to make sure you fill any rodent holes you may find. Filling rodent holes won’t only keep bees away, but it can also help repel snakes and other pests like voles and moles.
- Plant Bee-Repellent Plants In Your Garden
Once you’ve figured out how to get rid of sweat bees on your property, you can help keep them from your garden by planting bee-repellent plants like the ones listed above. However, when planting bee repellent plants, make sure you do your research as some plants can be harmful to people and pets if ingested.
- Begin Spraying Sweat Bee Repellents In Early Spring And Continue Throughout Summer
Start spraying sweat bee repellents early in spring, when sweat bees become most active. This will help reduce the chances of sweat bees trying to nest on your property and will help prevent sweat bees from becoming an issue.
- Introduce The Natural Predators
Sweat bees have a few natural predators, but the best and most effective are birds. One great method for how to get rid of sweat bees and prevent them from returning is inviting birds onto your property by providing them with bird houses and bird seed.
So, now you know the different methods you can use for how to get rid of sweat bees. That said, remember that these insects are important to the environment and are vital pollinators that can help your gardens thrive. So, unless it is absolutely necessary to try and remove sweat bees, try and appreciate the benefits they bring to our lives and enjoy them from afar.
Best of luck!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.