If you see bees flying around in your shed or hear that buzzing noise telling you that they are somewhere in there, you know you’ve got a problem. They could have a hive in your shed’s attic.
If your shed is finished with drywall, you could even have a hive right in your wall between the drywall and siding. While bees are very necessary to the environment and growing things, that doesn’t mean that you want to be their landlord.
While we all know that bees are very useful and usually not aggressive, they can cause problems. Removing them can entail problems as bad as partial demolition of a wall. The best thing to do is to prevent them from setting up residence in or on your shed to begin with.
Knowing how to keep bees away is a simple as blocking any entrances, removing any attractants and preventing the scout bees from by using deterrents.
5 Tips for Preventing Bees from Nesting Under and Around Your Shed
Seal up potential entrances. Bees like dark, private spaces. This is why they’ll build under roof eaves or in your shed’s attic or behind the drywall. One of the best ways to prevent bees from becoming tenants in your shed is to periodically inspect your shed for cracks or other holes that may interest a bee scout.
Seal any cracks or holes with wood filler or the appropriate material. Bees need only a quarter-inch wide hole or crack to get in. If your shed has ventilation spots such as gable vents, be sure to put some screen on the inside of the shed behind the vents and do likewise with any other venting.
Keep up maintenance. As was stated before, periodic inspection of your shed for potential insect entrances should be done. Holes in the siding or screen, cracks between the window frame and siding, or deteriorating siding near the ground leading to wood rot may all let in unwanted guests.
Clean up the yard. This is an important part of how to keep bees away. If you have a lot of “stuff” around in the yard, this can attract bees that can’t find a more desirable place. An old mower sitting around being used for parts and other items can be used as a home for bees and especially wasps.
If you have things that can be used as a home that you are just keeping “in case” you may need a part or something from them someday, maybe it’s time to just get rid of them.
Clean up attractants. Just like you need to eliminate potential home sites in your yard, you need to be vigilant in keeping things around that attract them. Keep all your outer trash receptacles closed. Clean up any sweet drinks that get spilled. If they get spilled on the ground, cover it up or rake the ground.
Bees are attracted to potential food sources. They are also attracted to former bee home sites, so if you buy a home that had a previous hive removed, make sure there is nothing left of any previous honeycomb or other construction. Keep blooming plants away from the shed, and away from your home as well. Keep them well out in the yard.
Discourage scouts. Single bees roaming around your shed may be scouting the place out. They usually inspect a prospective new home for three days or so before going back to the hive and telling the queen that they’ve found a good place. Place deterrents such as mothballs around any openings or places where you’ve seen a scout hovering, and they will probably move on.
How to Keep Hornets and Bees Out of a Shed
Besides repairing cracks and holes and keeping trash containers covered, to keep bees away keep food and water sources from around the shed, including any empty cans or pails that can collect water. Don’t leave any empty drink cups or any other food trash in the shed, as bees and wasps can come to investigate while you have the door open during tasks. Get rid of any wasp nests you see when they are small, and the wasps will soon get discouraged.
Preventing Bees from Nesting Under and Around Your Shed
Bees may try to build a hive under your shed between the joists. Other like insects may be even more likely to nest under your shed. Bumblebees live in holes in the ground, and a nice, shaded place under your shed may be just perfect, depending on your foundation type.
Wasps are the most likely culprit, attaching their paper nests to your joists until the underside of your shed looks like it was decorated with little paper lanterns. Their cousins, mud daubers, will build mud huts or tubes all along the underside of the shed.
Covering any space between your shed base plates and the ground is a good solution to keep bees away. Screen material with small holes is a good solution, or a lattice covering backed with a screen. Dig a small trench all the way around and put screen material bent into an L shape into the ground and cover it up, then attach the other edge to your shed. This will not only keep out insects but will deter anything that wants to try to dig underneath.
Bright colors will attract bees and wasps. This is why people are urged not to wear bright colors when working out in the yard. Likewise, you may want to repaint that red or bright blue trim around your shed windows with something more natural and duller.
Easy-to-Make Natural Bee Repellent Recipes
To keep bees away, there are some repellents made from inexpensive, easy-to-get ingredients. They also won’t actually harm the bees, but just keep them away.
Number 1] One involves water, two or three teaspoons of liquid dish or laundry soap to make the spray stick, a few drops of peppermint oil, and an eighth of a teaspoon each of cayenne pepper and cinnamon. Mix it all in a spray bottle and spray around your shed where you’ve seen insects hovering. The water eventually evaporates, leaving a coating of the other ingredients that insects don’t like.
Number 2] Citronella candles are frequently used to deter insects from outdoor decks and patios. You can get it in liquid form and spray it around your shed.
Number 3] Garlic is something bees don’t like to smell. It can also kill them, so be mindful of this. Sprinkling garlic powder around places you’ve seen them hovering around will prevent any congregating.
Number 4] Peppermint oil has been mentioned previously, but it can also be used by itself, dabbed in places under eaves or near the ground where you’ve seen bees investigating. You can also plant peppermint around the shed closely enough so that it won’t get mowed down.
Number 5] Vinegar is something almost everyone has around the house, but bees don’t like the smell. Put a few open containers around the shed where the rain won’t get into them, and the bees will strike your shed off their possibilities list.
Can You Trap Bees and Release Them Elsewhere?
This is possible but not a good idea. First of all, you need a beekeeper suit that covers everything, including your head and face. You also need to find the queen and get to her, as the rest of the bees go where she does and won’t leave without her. Lastly, there’s no guarantee that the bees will accept the new place you’ve picked out for them and won’t at least try to come back.
Removing bees should only be done by a professional beekeeper who will probably welcome a new family of honeybees, or a professional removal service. If you don’t have any beekeepers in the area or the bees aren’t honeybees, you really should call a professional.
Carpenter Bees, Bumblebees and Wasps
Honeybees aren’t the only insects hovering around your shed.
Carpenter bees look much like bumblebees but usually don’t have as much yellow on them and have a bare, shiny abdomen. They don’t live in colonies but do burrow into rotten wood to lay their eggs, which is why you need to keep any wooden siding or framework on your shed in good shape. One good thing about them is that they don’t sting.
Bumblebees nest in the ground, sometimes in old rodent holes or nests. The only way they can bother you is if they nest in the dirt under your shed, but if you have gravel under there, they won’t hang around. Bumblebees probably won’t be any kind of nuisance around your shed, and they certainly are not aggressive.
In contrast, wasps can be very aggressive and aren’t limited to one sting per insect as are bees. A paper wasp can sit on her nest of tubes, moving her head as she watches you walk by. Anytime you get too close to a wasp nest, they can attack, sometimes with several wasps, depending on the size of the nest. Wasps usually build paper nests.
The best plan for them if deterrents don’t work is to use flying insect spray on any you see cruising around your shed looking for potential nest sites or insects to paralyze for their larvae. The nests can be sprayed as well. There are wasp sprays that can shoot a stream up to 20 feet to get that nest at the apex of your shed gable.
Yellow jackets nest in the ground, which really makes them a nuisance. Running your lawn mower over a nest can result in some very unpleasant consequences. They won’t nest under your shed unless you don’t have only soil underneath.
Hornets are close relations to wasps, but some are misidentified. For instance, the bald-faced hornet, which has been known to kill people, is not a hornet. They are larger and very aggressive.
Keeping insects from nesting in your shed or just hanging around is important to keep your shed safe and comfortable. Some of the methods that discourage bees and wasps will also discourage houseflies, blowflies and rodents, so you get a double benefit. It’s just a matter of getting across the message, “no trespassing, this means you” so that the insects get it.