Will Bleach Kill Bees? (And What You Need to Do Instead!)

will bleach kill bees

Killing bees or other stinging insects can be tricky! 

But does a household cleaner such as bleach eliminate bees? 

After all… It seems like pretty toxic stuff!

And it’s true, bleach is a potentially dangerous chemical. 

But you might want to reconsider using it as a bug killer. (I’d encourage you to reconsider killing the poor bee, to begin with!)

In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about using bleach to fend off bees. Then, I’ll tell you some great alternatives rather than reaching for your favorite bottle of cleaner!

Does Bleach Kill Bees 

Bleach is not intended to be used as a pesticide. And it won’t effectively kill bees unless you thoroughly soak them with bleach. If you can saturate the bees with bleach, they drown in the liquid. 

I’ve heard of people putting bleach in a spray bottle and using it to kill bugs. This could be dangerous to you if you breathe in the fumes, which will likely stain your household fabrics.

But spraying bleach like this won’t have much effect on bees!

Bees and other insects have a waxy layer that acts as a protective shield against moisture. So if you spray them with droplets of bleach, the substance doesn’t penetrate the bee’s “skin.” Honey bees are also covered in hairs (about 3 million per bee!). This furry coating helps them to clean themselves efficiently. 

Bees regularly brush themselves to clean off the pollen that sticks to their bodies when visiting flowers. Other substances will get cleaned away at the same time.

So direct contact with bleach by spraying doesn’t affect them. They soon clean themselves to remove the moisture droplets anyway.

Does bleach keep bees away?

Similarly, do not rely on bleach to keep bees away. Bleach is not repellent to bees, and anecdotal evidence even suggests that bees are perhaps attracted to bleach. 

For starters, if you have a swimming pool, you may have experienced large numbers of bees turning up to drink the water! The chlorine in the pool certainly doesn’t seem to bother them. Bleach gives off chlorine fumes, just like the chlorine in swimming pools and hot tubs. 

I’ve also heard about beekeepers putting a few drops of bleach in the sugar water they use to feed bees at the end of the season. (In warm weather, the sugar can quickly ferment, and bleach helps prevent this. Fermented sugar is bad for bees). So diluted bleach ingested by bees doesn’t seem to have adverse effects.

If you want to ward off bees, you can do this more effectively using some natural remedies. For example, you can naturally deter them with cinnamon or vinegar. Bees dislike these substances and will avoid them.

Why you shouldn’t use bleach to kill bees

People use bleach because it kills bacteria. But bleach is a potentially dangerous chemical.

Using bleach outdoors releases chlorine that reacts with the soil and becomes toxic to animals and other living creatures. In addition, it will end up killing your plants and all the beneficial microorganisms in your soil.

Bleach can also work its way into the environment via waterways and becomes a dangerous pollutant. The bleach forms dioxins, which badly affect aquatic life. These substances eventually work their way into the food chain. 

If used indoors, not only will it ruin fabrics and other materials you splash it on, but it can also be toxic to humans. Using too much bleach can put your health at risk. So spraying pure bleach inside your home is a bad idea.

Should you kill bees 

If it can be avoided, bees should not be killed. Bees are generally harmless if left alone. 

Some people consider bees to be pests, but in reality, they are extremely helpful to the environment and the economy! 

Honey bees and other pollinators contribute billions of dollars of value to the annual world food production! For example, Almond crops almost entirely depend on beekeepers who supply honey bees for pollination.

Although it is not prohibited to kill honey bees, they are an essential part of our ecosystem. Like all pollinating insects, they play a vital role in the food chain. Bees are necessary for pollinating food crops all around the world. Without these pollinators, we would have no fruit, seeds, or other food crops. 

And honey bees only sting when they feel threatened. 

If there are several bees around, killing a honey bee could make things worse! When a bee feels menaced, it gives off a pheromone which beekeepers refer to as “alarm odor.” This substance (called iso-pentyl acetate) alerts other bees to become defensive and attack intruders.

Bees are beneficial insects. They should only be killed if it’s unavoidable.

Alternative to killing bees

If you have a problem with a bee’s nest or a swarm, you can contact a local beekeeping association for help.

Beekeepers in the region will be happy to collect the swarm and take it away if they can keep the bees. 

Collecting swarms is an excellent way for beekeepers to grow their apiary, so it becomes more productive. A strong colony of bees means more honey for the beekeeper. 

When dealing with a nest, it’s always best to seek professional help. Colonies of stinging insects will defend themselves if they feel endangered. A professional will be able to advise you about the best way to remove the insects and will have all the protective equipment necessary.

If you’re dealing with individual bees, try using a natural repellent, not a pesticide or insecticide. Pesticides are harmful substances that can pollute rivers, streams, and lakes. In addition, they affect plant and animal life and infiltrate the food chain, creating long-term health effects on humans.

If you’re bothered by bees during an outdoor meal, try putting a bowl of sugar syrup or honey nearby. The bees will be attracted to this and leave your meal in peace. 

But double-check to make sure they are bees!

Wasps and hornets are attracted to human food, but bees generally forage for pollen and nectar, not sausages!

Conclusion

Leave bees in peace; they will generally not pay you any attention. But if you behave threateningly towards a bee, it will defend itself. 

Avoid killing bees if at all possible. They really are beneficial little critters. But if a large number of bees are located too close, they can be dangerous. So instead, call a specialist to come and take care of them.

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