How to Get Rid of Sweat Bees: Most Effective Methods

Learn how to get rid of sweat bees using natural remedies as well as chemicals, and how to prevent these bees from returning.
Phyllis McMahon
Phyllis McMahon
Research Writer
Phyllis teaches English Literature at a local college and loves writing in her free time. She’s also a great cook – her British beef Wellington is something the best res read more
Reviewed By
Chas Kempf
Chas Kempf
Expert Consultant
Chas works in a professional pest control company and knows all the nuances of this job. Also, he’s a fantastic tennis player and loves to organize BBQ parties for his fam read more
Last updated: August 17, 2023
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Summers are enjoyable, but with the hotter summers comes a fair amount of sweating, and the one shortcoming of summer, sweat bees. These insects hover around your legs, face, arms, or any exposed area of your body and are a menace. Sweat bees will use their tongues to lap and though they are not aggressive, they will sting when pressed against the skin. However, the greatest discomfort is that they appear in swarms and that will definitely put a damper on your summer. It is thus best to learn how to get rid of sweat bees, and we have explored that in-depth here.

Things You Should Know about Sweat Bees

How to Get Rid of Sweat Bees: Most Effective Methods

The following are the important things you need to know about sweat bees.

What Does a Sweat Bee Look Like?

Sweat bees have various characteristics that can help you distinguish them from other bee species.

Color: They are renowned for their black, yellow, and brown colors. Some sweat bee species also have metallic green, purple and blue bodies.

Size: Sweat bees are smaller compared to other bee species and are not easily identified. Typically, these bees measure between 1/4 to 1/2 inches.

Body shape: Sweat bees are relatively slender, with the queen exhibiting a rounder shape.

Antennae: These bees have two horn-shaped antennae. These antennae help them to identify scents from different sources and measure their flight speed.

Number of legs: 6

What Attracts Sweat Bees?

Normally sweat bees are attracted to human sweat hence their name. These insects like feeding on human sweat since it contains salt that gives them energy. Therefore, they will fly around you as they search for a place to land. They can crawl under your clothes or even your hair if they smell your sweat.

Another thing that attracts sweat bees is the flowers. These insects fly around flowers, searching for nectar and pollen. In the process, they can help in plant pollination.

Finally, sweat bees like staying in humid places. As a result, you are likely to see them around agricultural areas.

How Dangerous are Sweat Bees?

Sweat bees are not dangerous. However, these insects can sting you if you try to disturb them. The stings are not lethal, and most victims usually report minimal discomfort compared to other insect stings. Nevertheless, people with insect sting allergies may experience severe reactions like itchiness and swelling.

One thing that you should keep in mind is that only the female sweat bee species can sting you. When the insect stings you, it leaves a stinger on your skin that releases venom into your body. As such, ensure you carefully remove the stinger from your skin as soon as the insect stings you using a pair of tweezers. Also, apply ice to the affected area to reduce swelling.

Where Do Sweat Bees Nest?

Sweat bees normally burrow tunnels in the soil, especially in dry and sunny regions. These insects can also make holes in softwood. After burrowing tunnels, they divide them into different cells where each bee will live, helping them to keep their distance.

Another place where you are likely to find sweat bee nests is near a swimming pool since these insects are attracted to sweat and humidity. Finally, you may find these insects near meadows, or orchards.

Should You Kill Sweat Bees?

If you like working out outdoors or traveling to hot, humid jungles, you need to look for a way to get rid of these insects since they are annoying and can prevent you from enjoying the outdoor space.

Although these insects are annoying, they are also beneficial since they play a major role in plant pollination. Therefore, you need to compare their advantages and disadvantages. If the benefits outweigh the dangers, look for a way to make the insects leave rather than eliminate them.

However, if one of your family members is allergic to sweat bee stings, you should get rid of the insects. When killing these insects, be sure to use natural solutions that target the sweat bees directly to avoid harming other useful insects.

Ways to Get Rid of Sweat Bees

There are several ways you can use to get rid of sweat bees outside your home, as discussed below.


Traps are one of the best methods you can use to get rid of sweat bees outside. They have tiny funnel-shaped openings that prevent the insects from leaving once they enter the trap.

Using sweat bee traps is quite easy. All you need to do is prepare bait and pour it into the trap. Most people usually prepare the bait by mixing water with sugar or honey. Additionally, you can use any substance with a sweet fragrance.

Once you fill the trap, put it near a place where the insects swarm. For instance, you can place it on your porch or tree branch. However, you should not hang it too high. The scent attracts the insects, and they will fly into the trap. Once inside, they cannot leave, and they will drown and die. If you want to re-use the trap, empty and refill it with fresh bait.

People prefer using this method since it is cheap and simple. Nevertheless, this method has its downsides since the traps are non-discriminant, which means they can capture even the insects you did not intend to.

If you choose to use this method, buy ready-made traps online or get them from the nearest gardening store. One of the best traps that you can use is the Yellow Jacket Trap from Defendy. We have identified the best yellow jacket traps that work for all types of bees and can suit a wide range of budgets. You can also try to make your traps at home, but they won’t be as effective as the commercial ones.


How to Get Rid of Sweat Bees: Most Effective Methods

As seen before, sweat bees like nesting around swimming pools. Most times, people tend to get rid of these insects using swimming pool covers. However, this method is not effective since the insects are more interested in your sweat than the water.

If you want to get rid of sweat bees around your swimming pool, consider using a bee spray. Preparing a bee spray is quite easy, and you can do it at home. The only thing you need to do is mix dish soap with clean, warm water and pour it into an empty spray bottle. After that, spray the mixture directly on the sweat bees around your pool. These insects will suffocate and die after some time.

This method is preferable since it will help kill bees without leaving toxic traces compared to insecticides.


Another effective method you can use to get rid of sweat bees outside is insecticides. One of the best insecticides you can use to kill these insects is PT Wasp-Freeze II from BASF.

Nowadays, there are insecticides on the market specifically designed for killing sweat bees. They come as either powder or liquids. Insecticides can also come in the form of a spray and it’s only ideal if you get the best bee sprays you can find in the market.

When using this method, spray or inject the insecticide into the nest late in the evening when insects are in the nest. Once they come into contact with or inhale the insecticide, they will die.

After applying the insecticide, observe whether there are any activities in the nest the following day and if the insects died. If you notice movements in the nest, apply the chemicals again until all are eliminated.

Before using insecticides to kill sweat bees, read the instructions on the package to avoid making mistakes. Also, ensure you wear protective gear when applying the chemicals to avoid accidents. Finally, consult a professional to ensure the chemical is safe.

How to Keep Sweat Bees Away

If you don’t want to kill sweat bees, you can keep them away. Below are some of the common ways you can use to keep away sweat bees.

Maintain Good Personal Hygiene

Sweat bees are normally attracted to your body sweat. Therefore, these insects are likely to hang around you if you go out dressed in dirty and sweaty clothes. To avoid this issue, always take a shower and wear clean clothes before heading out. Additionally, look for ways to minimize sweat build-up when you are out, especially when the weather is too hot. For instance, you can wear clothes made from breathable fabrics, apply an antiperspirant or avoid spicy foods.

After taking a shower, consider the type of body lotion and perfume you use. Normally, bees get attracted to sweet-scented perfumes and body lotions. So, you should avoid wearing them.

Wear Long Sleeves and Pants

Wearing long sleeves and pants is among the best ways to keep sweat bees away. These clothes limit the amount of skin you expose, especially when you are sweaty. Therefore, the bees will find it difficult to land on your skin.

However, this method is only suitable during cool weather. Wearing long sleeves and pants during warm weather increases your sweating rate, attracting sweat bees.

When using this strategy, keep in mind that you are not completely safe since the insects can still crawl under your clothes.

Use Mothballs

Mothballs are tiny balls made from chemicals and pesticides that people use when storing clothes. These balls produce a gas that can help you get rid of cloth moths in any life stage, including eggs and larvae.

Besides killing cloth moths, mothballs can also help you get rid of sweat bees. To ensure this method becomes successful, hang the mothballs near the bee nest. They will emit a smell that prevents the insects from coming back to the nest.

However, you need to be careful when using this method since the chemicals used to make mothballs can harm humans.

Use a Fan

An outdoor fan can help you keep sweat bees away. Most times, people place the fan on their patios where they rest. You can also consider placing it in your garden since sweat bees like staying in humid environments. The moving air will blow away the insects and prevent them from hanging around your home.

Use Essential Oils

How to Get Rid of Sweat Bees: Most Effective Methods

Another method that can help you keep sweat bees away is using essential oils. Examples of the essential oils that you can use include:

  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Lemon oil
  • Rosemary oil
  • Clove oil
  • Citronella oil
  • Peppermint oil

If you decide to use this method, choose the essential oil that best suits you and mix it with water before applying it to your skin. Alternatively, you can take an essential oil burner and place it on the area you intend to treat. This is a fantastic method to enjoy the nice scent from the oils while keeping bees out of your home.

Go Indoors When You Start Getting Sweaty

When you go outside, you are likely to sweat, especially if the weather is too hot. As a result, sweat bees will start flying around you, trying to feed on the sweat. If you find yourself in such a situation, one of the best solutions would be to get inside the house.

Selective Planting

Some plants normally produce a smell that attracts sweat bees into your home. These plants include:

  • Poppies
  • Lilac
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Lantana
  • Snapdragons
  • Honeysuckle
  • Sedums
  • Sunflowers
  • Wisteria
  • Black-eyed Susan

Therefore, it is advisable to remove these plants from your garden. You can also consider moving them to another place far from your home where the sweat bees won’t disturb you.

Wear an Insect Repellent

If you want to prevent sweat bees from landing on your skin, consider wearing an insect repellent at all times. You can get insect repellent from a nearby store or order online. However, you need to find out how safe the product is before using it on your skin and avoid future complications.

Use a Sweat Bee Bait

How to Get Rid of Sweat Bees: Most Effective Methods

A sweat bee bait can also help keep sweat bees away from home. To prepare a sweat bait, slice a mango into tiny pieces, put them in a box, and hang it on a tree near your home. Leave the box there and let the bees swarm around the box. On the following day, hang the box far away from the original location. As days go by, continue moving it further until it is far from your home. As you move the box, the bees will also move and leave your compound eventually.

For the method to become effective, change the mangoes regularly. However, this method is time-consuming and requires a lot of patience.

When Is It Time to Call a Professional?

In some cases, it can be essential to hire professional pest removal services rather than using home remedies. One of the main reasons is if the sweat bees have become too many in your home or if they keep coming back.

When you call a professional, they will inspect your property and look for the places where the insects have nested. Once they spot these areas, they will use the right pesticide to kill them.

Professional pest control services are a bit costly compared to DIY methods. Most times, the cost depends on the nest size or location. Nevertheless, hiring professional pest removal services is essential since these experts have the knowledge and experience to help them spot all the sweat bee nests in your home and eliminate them. These professionals also have the right tools and chemicals to help you completely eliminate sweat bees. Finally, professional pest controllers have the right protective gear to wear during the exercise and protect themselves from chemical accidents.

How to Prevent Sweat Bees

Dealing with a sweat bee infestation can be frustrating since the bees may keep coming back to your home. Moreover, getting rid of these insects can be costly. Therefore, the cheapest and safest thing to do is prevent them from coming into your home. Here are some of the ways you can use to prevent sweat bees from your home.

Grow Lots of Grass and Plants

Sweat bees like burrowing tunnels in sandy soil. These insects can also build their nest in dry soil patches in your yard. To prevent them from infesting your home, plant enough grass in your yard and ensure you cover all the bare patches. Additionally, you can plant other types of plants in your yard. However, choose the plants carefully since some plants, like poppies and sunflowers, will attract them.

Clear Away Your Yard

Allowing dead trees, bricks, and rocks to accumulate in your compound is dangerous since they are favorable for sweat bee nesting. Therefore, ensure you clear your yard regularly and throw them far away from your home.

Set Up a Sprinkler System

Although sweat bees like staying in humid areas, they don’t like damp soil. Therefore, you should consider setting up a sprinkler system in your home to ensure the soil is always moist, preventing the bees from infesting your home. For the method to work, water your yard at least two times a week.

Till the Soil

Sweat bees like living in dry sand-like soil. According to experts, you can make your home undesirable for sweat bees by tilling your land regularly and sprinkling it with water. Afterward, cover the soil with mulch to make it hard for the insects to build a nest.

Use Natural Repellents

How to Get Rid of Sweat Bees: Most Effective Methods

There are several natural repellents that you can use to prevent sweat bees from coming into your home. One of the best natural repellents you can use is cinnamon powder. Sprinkle it around the affected area daily until all the bees die. Some people also prefer using peppermint. This plant produces a smell that sweat bees dislike helping you to keep the insects away from your home. You can choose to plant it in your compound or buy peppermint powder and sprinkle it around the nests.


How to Get Rid of Sweat Bees Naturally?

If you don’t want to kill sweat bees, you can get rid of them naturally. One of the best natural methods is spraying vinegar or cinnamon powder on the affected areas. You can also consider planting basil, mint, or eucalyptus in your compound. These plants produce a smell that sweat bees dislike effectively keeping them away.

How to Treat a Sweat Bee Sting?

When a sweat bee stings you, remove the stinger using a pair of tweezers and apply ice on the affected part for approximately 20 minutes. If you continue feeling pain after that, take over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen. You can also consider applying calamine to the region to reduce itching and swelling. If you can’t find calamine, use baking powder paste.

Final Thoughts

Sweat bees can be annoying, especially if they come in large numbers. Nevertheless, these insects are an important part of the ecosystem since they help in pollination. Therefore, you need to look for a way to get rid of them from your home without killing them. In the post above, we have outlined how to get rid of sweat bees from your home without killing them.

However, if these insects become a nuisance, you can kill them and look for ways to prevent them from coming back to your compound. You can easily kill sweat bees using natural methods or buy ready-made insecticides. If these methods fail to work, contact a professional pest controller.

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