What makes a perfect summer? Sunshine, cool breezes, long, lazy days – and if you’re lucky enough to have one, the unrivaled pleasure of your own beloved swimming pool, spa or hot tub. Add a few friends and the right beverages, and you have the perfect recipe for the season.
What could go wrong?
Well, several things actually, not the least of which concern one of nature’s less pleasant summertime gifts: bees. Of course, bees are a vital and integral part of the ecosystem; most people don’t realize they are responsible for most of the food we eat and flora we enjoy through their contribution to pollination. While the decline of wild bee populations is an alarming and potentially devastating trend, one place we definitely don’t need bees is poolside when we’re trying to enjoy ourselves.
So, what to do?
One might be tempted to call in exterminators but as we mentioned, bees are not only generally innocent but also vital and worthy of protection. The question then becomes how to keep bees away from your pool and their infamous stingers out of you.
Fortunately, there are several harmless and cruelty-free methods of keeping the buzzers at bay.
1. Dryer Sheets
Dryer sheets are famously useful for a wide range of things outside of the laundry room. Deodorizers, lint removers … you name it, the list goes on. But one thing dryer sheets can do that many people aren’t aware of is – you guessed it – repel insects. Dryer sheets can be kept on one’s person to keep any number of annoying bugs away, but of course you wouldn’t want to go swimming with them in your bathing suit pockets. A tasteful solution therefore is to arrange dryer sheets semi-decoratively around the pool area (in attractive baskets, in bouquets, or simply as doilies underneath objects on the patio table).
However one chooses to put them out, a few well-placed dryer sheets will discourage a host of pests – including bees – from getting too close, all without harming them.
2. Defensive Landscaping
There are two particular plants that bees are naturally averse to: lemongrass and mint.
Not only are these plants attractive and easy to grow and maintain, they’re useful. Lemongrass and mint are both pleasant-smelling (to humans anyway), and well suited to growth in most pool areas. Maintaining a good amount of both plants will go a long way towards sending a “bees not welcome” scent signal to the neighborhood. As a bonus, you’ll also have the freshest mojitos in the neighborhood.
While “scarebee” is not an actual word in the English language, it is the most appropriate term for the insect equivalent of a scarecrow. The differences, however, are key.
Bees, unlike crows, do not fear human beings. Therefore, your scarebee must be in the shape of something that will intimidate the striped interlopers. A brown paper bag, blown up and fashioned roughly into the shape of a beehive, will do the trick.
Bees are notoriously territorial, and therefore famously respectful of other bees’ personal space. The sight of a hive, or even a poor facsimile of one, is often enough to keep bees away out of sheer professional courtesy. Hang the faux-hives in inconspicuous but visible areas around the pool, then add mothballs to the bags for an extra deterrent.
Trying any, or all, of these simple ideas is likely to put a stop to any unwelcome visits from the poor, noble, misunderstood bee – all without putting their lives or the health of our ecosystem in danger. You’ll rest easy knowing that not only will you have a sting-free summer around your swimming pool, spa or hot tub, you’ll be doing right by the planet.