Will Bleach Kill Bees? (There are better options…)

Bleach is a pesticide, but not an insecticide, which means it will not kill bees unless the insects are submerged. However, bees will drown in any liquid, and the risks of both the bleach and the bees make it too hazardous to attempt.

Bees are wonderful, beautiful little creatures. Iconic, wonderful, and key to the planet’s survival. However, it’s hard to keep that all in mind when you have an infestation buzzing around your home. If desperate times come to desperate measures, then can you use bleach to do the trick and rid your home of stingers?

So, bleach is not effective for getting bees out of the home. It is an easy mistake to make, considering what a powerful pesticide bleach is, to assume that it will kill any pests that the home will have, but it is a myth. Let’s discuss some do’s and don’t’s for dealing with bees in the home.

Close up of dead bee on wood for info post answering question if bleach kills bees

Related Reading: Can Bleach Kill Bushes?

Consider Whether You Need to Get Rid of Bees at All

This may sound a touch patronizing but think carefully about whether you need to get rid of bees at all. Bees may be considered pests when too close to your home, but they are critical to the world’s ecosystem and are on the decline.

Certain species such as honey bees or bumblebees are not terribly aggressive, and if there is a huge buzzing nest somewhere where it won’t be readily disturbed by your day-to-day activities, do consider just leaving it be.

Most nests will be vacated by winter – a few months at most. If you can last that long, you would be doing the planet a favour by leaving them alone and letting them do their thing. If not, there are some tips that can help.

Use Appropriate Insecticides for Bees

Bleach, as we have already established, is not one of these. It’s literally as useful as water in ridding yourself of bees, but there are a few cheap solutions that you can use – including some you will find in your kitchen. These include:

  • Vinegar and water solutions in a spray bottle
  • Soft drinks used as bait in traps
  • Mothballs used as a repellent
  • Cinnamon, also used as a repellent
  • Commercial insecticides

Naturally, if the problem becomes too big to handle by yourself, make sure to call in a professional.

Dress for the Occasion and Arrive on Time!

Bees are perhaps the most famous stinging insect, but some people will still attempt to handle a bee infestation without wearing anything appropriate. Now, most will have seen beekeepers in their funny suits, but if you want to deal with the bee infestation and don’t have one of those to hand, then the best thing you can wear is very baggy thick clothing. The baggier the better.

You see, if the fabric is tight to your skin, then the bee’s stinger is very likely to just pierce through the clothing and go on into your skin, but if you’re wearing baggy clothing, then whilst the stinger will pierce through, it is more likely to get lost amongst the folds of clothing rather than penetrating your sting.

Another thing that people don’t realize is that bees are very strictly diurnal, which means they are away only during the day, like us. This means that the best time to tackle a nest if you must is at night when the bees are likely to be sleeping.

So, as a quick recap: wear your baggiest clothes, go at night, and spray your insecticide on the entrance of the hive. Watch at dusk or dawn the next day for activity, and if there is some, then repeat the next day. Now we’ve discussed what’s best when tackling a hive, let’s say a few words on what’s not recommended.

Do Not Plug up the Entrance to the Hive

It almost seems like common knowledge; block the entrance and they won’t be able to get in or out – then they’ll die, right? Well, it’s not always that simple, especially if it’s honeybees you’ve blocked in/ out. A couple of reasons you don’t want to do this are:

  • It may aggravate the bees outside the hive.
  • There’s a good chance they’ll find another way out
  • Honeybees store enough honey to last them months – they’ll be alive in there months after you block the entrance
  • If you manage to kill most of them and there is still honey in there, then that’s prime real estate for mould and other fungi
  • If you kill most of the colony and there is still wax in there, it may damage the fixtures the nest is attached to when it melts

Then there’s the little added fact that if you have mistakenly plugged the entrance to a wasps nest and not a bees nest, then those suckers can chew through paper or wood or all sorts to escape, including the walls of their own nest. Imagine the nightmare fuel.

bottle of bleach with white background

Do Not Spray the Hive or Swarm With Water or Ineffective Chemicals (Including Bleach)

Spraying a hive, or even worse, a swarm with anything other than insecticides you know for certain will work is a terrible idea. Doing this is going to rile them up and you’re very likely to get stung multiple times in the process.

There is also the small worry that insects killed with random chemicals add dangerous exposure to non-target animals such as birds which may try to eat them, or perhaps even your pets.

Do Not Try to Remove the Hive Yourself Unless You Really Have To

Of course, it would be amiss in this article to not mention that sometimes, removing bees and beehives can be extremely dangerous even for professional beekeepers and pest exterminators with all the correct equipment, let alone for some average Joe wearing some baggy pants.

All these other tips are best used for small-scale infestations and small worries about bees – if it looks like you have a large nest of bees on your hands, then don’t hesitate on calling a professional for their advice and services.

A million stings are not worth it for the pride of removing them yourself. Most will just ask why you didn’t call a pest exterminator anyway.

Related Reading: Will Pressure Washing with Bleach Kill Grass?

Conclusion

So, in conclusion, bees are valuable, and you should do everything you can to try and avoid killing them.

But, if you truly must, wear appropriate protective clothing, do the deed at night, use a solution that you know for a fact will work (Not Bleach!) and if it all gets out of hand, be sure to call a professional.