How to Get Rid of Sweat Bees

Insects, the sweat bee included, invade more frequently during Summer and this makes a lot of people furious.  They gate crash your garden, explore your food, and make your body a place to layover.  This article is part of the do it yourself pest control for homeowners series.

Why are these insects so clingy and why don’t they just find their own place to chill?    

Well, it’s because the skin of humans discharges several odors.  However, scientists are still in the process of figuring out what exactly are the types of smells that are being emitted by the human body that insects like. 

What the experts know is that irritating bugs like no-see-ums or mosquitoes are engrossed by the amount of heat and carbon dioxide that the human body emits.  Pregnant women as well as overweight persons and those who exercise a lot release more carbon dioxide and heat, and so, they are more prone to insect attack.   

In this article, we are not going to talk about all the insects as we will only be focusing on the sweat bee.  But before that, here’s a little trivia about bees.  

Did you know that there are more than 20,000 bee species all across the globe, and 4,000 of which are inherent to the United States?   The most common bee species include the honey bee, carpenter bee, sweat bee, mining bee, Africanized Honey bee and the bumble bee.  

Characteristics of a Sweat Bee

The scientific name or the binomial name of sweat bee is Halictidae.  Typically, the colors of a sweat bee are dull to metallic black with purple, blue or metallic green abdomen.  

This type of bee has long and furry legs, and a short but sharp tongue.  A sweat bee exhibits a striped yellow and black abdomen. 

The sweat bee is just a small bee.  It’s only half an inch long, or even smaller.  

A regular sweat bee has a slim body, but the queen bee’s body is more circular in shape.  This bee uses its antennae, which are shaped like a horn, to measure their flying speed and to track scents. 

The Behavior of a Sweat Bee

Where do sweat bees live?  

If you live near a field, grassland, or vegetable garden, you might have already encountered a sweat bee.  It can also be found in rotten plants or woods.  And, during the Summer season, you will most likely see them flying from one flower to another gathering nectar.   

It is called a sweat bee because it likes licking sweat using its short but sharp tongue.  This bee does sting, but it is not as painful as the sting of other bees or insects.

Sweat bees are also called halictid bees, and it has more or less 3,500 of its kind around the world.  This bee abundantly lives in the U.S.  North Africa, and Europe.  Some sweet bee species live in colonies, while others can manage to live alone.  

Where does a sweat bee nest?  

Sweat bees generally nest in soil burrows.  Mud, sand, or stone burrows in dry areas is the kind of habitat they like, but it also likes to nest in decayed woods.    

Since these burrowing bees are known to be fascinated with perspiration and water, they like staying close to human beings living in an area where humidity level is high.  

Why do sweat bees like clinging to humans?  

Human sweat contains salt and water, and this is why they like clinging to sweaty and “hot” humans.  This sodium content excreted from our body is one of their sources of vitamins and minerals.  So, the next time you catch a sweat bee hovering over your skin, it means you are emitting enough sodium that helps them a lot in fulfilling their diet.   

Is a sweat bee sting dangerous?

No, sweat bee sting is not harmful at all.  Sting victims don’t experience even slight pains.  

Its sting probably has the lowest degree of pain amongst all insect stings.  But, if you are allergic to stings or bites, you might feel adverse reactions.  

What catches the attention of a Sweat Bee?  

A sweet bee is usually attracted to flowers, which is why it is often found hovering around gardens and fields.  As the name suggests, this bee is a big fan of human sweat because it is where it gets its ration of salt or sodium.  

9 Ways to Get Rid of Sweat Bees

Sweet bees, including butterflies, play an important role in the process of pollination.  Without their help, fertilization in flowers will not take place.  

Although they are beneficial to the ecosystem, many people still consider them annoying.  If you are one of those annoyed by the presence of sweat bees in your garden, here are some ways to get rid of them. 

1. Use a Sweat Bee Trap

A sweat bee trap can be purchased through Amazon or you can buy it from your local hardware or gardening supply store.  This pest control method is quite easy to do – get a sweet ingredient and place it inside the trap.  

The sweet ingredient can be as simple as sugar and water, a mixture of dish soap, honey or nectar.  Once the sweat bee has entered the trap, it won’t have a chance to exit the parameters anymore because of the tunnel’s funnel-shaped design.  

2. Use an Aerosol Bee Spray

If you want to easily eliminate sweat bees from your garden, an aerosol wasp or bee spray will effectively do the job for you. 

3. Try Using a Ground Bee Insecticide

The ground bee insecticide is intended for mining bees.  You may choose between the liquid-based or the powder-based treatments.  

For the powder-based treatment, place an adequate amount all around the underground nest opening.  As the bees enter the nest, they get to absorb the insecticide and carry it inside their nest, impacting other bees, including the queen bee.   

For the liquid-based treatment, mix the solution with water, place it in a spray bottle, and spray directly on areas frequented by bees.  For the bees living in an underground nest, simply pour the mixture into the entrance. 

4. Sweat Bee Repellent

If you want to drive away sweat bees from your vicinity, the use of a sweat bee repellent is also a good option.  You can either use commercially made repellents or home-based solutions, which include the use of citronella sprays or candles, and the application of insect repellent lotions. 

5. The Smell of Essential Oils

Sweat bees don’t like the smell of essential oils, such as citronella, rosemary, lemon, clove, peppermint, eucalyptus oils.  Just mix your choice of oil with water and apply it directly on your skin.  You may likewise use an oil burner and place it in your areas of concern.  

6. Take Regular Bath

Sweat bees like to hang around sweaty people.  So, if you don’t like attracting them, make sure to always keep your body fresh and perspiration-free. 

7. Wear Long Clothes

If the weather is not that hot, try to cover up your body by wearing long-sleeved tops and long pants.  This way, your skin won’t be exposed to sneaky sweat bees.  

However, wearing long clothes is not always an assurance that sweat bees won’t attack you as they still can find a way to get inside your clothes. 

8. Use Mothballs

The smell of mothballs is one of the odors that bees hate.  What you can do is to hang a bag of mothballs near the bee nest, and surely, its smell will drive them away. 

9. Relocate the Bee Plants

There are particular plants that discharge scents that can attract sweat bees.  So, if you want to prevent these bees from lounging in your garden, maybe you could take them off your garden and transfer them to another area where they can pollinate. 

Some of the plants that bees are very much attracted to include the honeysuckle, lilac, sunflowers, snapdragons, back-eyed Susan, sedums, poppies, and wisteria.  

Sweat Bees

Sweat bees are frequently found in fields, grasslands, and vegetable gardens.  The insects are also commonly found in rotting trees and plants.  How to get rid of sweat bees deals with these insects when they become too much. During the Summer season, you will definitely see them fly around.

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