How to keep bees away from a pool: 7 simple solutions that work

Find out how to keep bees away from a pool with tricks to tempt them elsewhere in the garden

pool floats on poolside with accessories like towels and sandals
(Image credit: Oliver James Lilos)

There are some easy tricks if you want to find out how to keep bees away from a pool without making them unwelcome in the rest of your garden too. We're all seeking more ways to make our gardens wildlife friendly, just not by the pool that is.

You'll be surprised how easy it is when it comes to keeping bees away from your pool too. A simple hack we love is making the surface of your pool ripple (with jets or a hose or sprinkler attachment) which bees will see as a threat and avoid. And some people swear by hanging mothballs near your pool to see them off too.

So if you're finding that bees are interrupting a summer of fun in your backyard pool, give some of these clever solutions a try so you can get back to relaxing without an annoying buzzing noise overhead. 

bee on cornflower

Bees love bright blue cornflowers so be sure to include some in the bee friendly section of your garden

(Image credit: Annabel James)

Learn how to keep bees away from a pool this summer

While bees are likely to be uninvited guests at a pool party, they are essential to the eco system, so killing them is never recommended. Remember that bees only attack when provoked, so stay calm and don’t panic.

'Don’t forget that bees are our friends,' says Sarah Hancocks of wildlife experts Vivara UK (opens in new tab). 'They are harmless to most humans and are vital to achieving a balanced ecosystem, so if you do see a bee buzzing by your pool it's always best to leave it in peace and ensure it has somewhere nearby to rest and collect pollen.'

If you want to deter them from your swimming pool area, follow our clever tips for a bee-free zone. 

1. Move bee-friendly flowers away from the pool area

It's a good idea to remove any bee-friendly plants from the vicinity of your pool and set up a dedicated flower garden for bees elsewhere, preferably as far away as possible from your pool landscaping.

'Bees buzz around your garden in search of pollen, so dedicate a special section to them by filling it with nectar-rich flowering plants, which will naturally divert them away from the pool,' says Sarah Hancocks. 'Some favorite varieties that will attract bees include catmint, lavender, coneflower, soapwart, ‘Ladys Mantle’ and Yarrow Terracotta. Bees love roses, too!' 

bee on pink flower

Rethink your planting to gather together all bee-friendly plants in one section of the garden that's well away from the pool

(Image credit: Vivara UK)

2. Give bees an alternative place to drink

Bees see pools as a place for a refreshing drink and somewhere to cool off on hot summer days, so it makes perfect sense that they will flock to your pool by the dozen. Whether you have an inground pool or one of the best above ground pools, they will buzz around looking for something to drink and chlorinated water doesn’t put them off either.

For that reason, one of the easiest methods for keeping bees away from a pool is to give them an alternative water source to divert their attention. Try coaxing them to another nearby water feature such as a shallow bird bath, fountain or even a simple dish filled with water. Distracting them and rerouting them to a new location where they will happily be able to drink should solve the pool problem.

bird bath in traditional garden

Bees love to drink from bird baths and shallow dishes

(Image credit: Joe Wainwright/Future)

3. Make bees welcome elsewhere in the yard

The most effective way of keeping bees away from your pool is to create a haven especially for them in another area of the garden. There are lots of bee houses to choose from that they will love, or you could try some DIY and learn how to make a bug hotel yourself. 

'Adding a bee hotel or habitat so that they have a safe space to nest and lay eggs is a good idea, as it will prevent them from straying too far in search of somewhere to drink or gather nectar,' says Sarah Hancocks. 'Simply position your bee hotel near pollen-rich flowering plants and a water source in a sunny position and it will act as a real bee magnet.' 

bee hotel in garden

Bees love to stop by at their own hotel and it keeps them from making mischief by the pool

(Image credit: Yorkshire Wildlife Trust)

4. Deter bees from a pool with natural scents

Peppermint essential oil is one of the best repellents you can get to keep bees away from your pool area. Mix it well with water in a plastic spray bottle and mist it around the perimeter of your pool, on the edges of pool floats and chairs and so on, but be careful to avoid it coming into contact with your skin as it can sting and burn. 

Bees find many other fragrances offputting in addition to peppermint. These include spearmint, eucalyptus and thyme. Add a generous amount of any of these essential oils to a spray bottle together with water and spray around your pool patio in the same way.

Bees also dislike citronella oil, olive oil, vegetable oil, lemon, and lime. Once a bee gets a waft of any of these it will often head in the other direction.

pool float in pool

Spritz natural deterrents onto the edges of your pool float to keep bees at bay

(Image credit: Oliver James Lilos)

5. Keep food and drink near your pool covered

Whether it's sweet drinks or sticky glasses, fruit platters or ice cream drips be sure to keep them all away from the pool area as they will act like magnets for bees. 

Use food covers or tubs, and keep drinks in cups with a lid and straw or in covered jugs. Try choosing trolleys you can wheel out of the way of your pool deck once you've finished your refreshments. 

pool party ideas bar cart in summer garden

Keep the homemade lemonade and fruit garnish under cover

(Image credit: Ray Kachatorian/Getty Images)

6. Ditch scented sunscreens and perfume

It's no surprise that bees are attracted to floral and other highly scented perfumes. This includes heavily scented sunscreen. Obviously it's important to wear sunscreen around the pool so look out for a product that’s unscented, and avoid perfume and other scented lotions too as they can attract a variety of insects in addition to bees.

To stay even safer in the sun, consider adding some permanent or temporary pool shade ideas to your yard. 

pink scabious flowers with bee

Bees love to linger on pink scabious flowers

(Image credit: Vivara UK)

7. Avoid bright colors poolside

Avoiding colorful clothing, swimsuits, accessories and patio furniture will lower your chances of attracting bees to your pool. 

Colorful clothing can both confuse and attract them. Bees see a much broader range of colors than we do. What looks like a sunny yellow towel to us may look like an attractive sunflower to them.

float on poolside deck with accessories

Choose muted tones poolside that won't interest bees

(Image credit: Oliver James Lilos)
Sarah Wilson
Sarah Wilson

Lifestyle journalist Sarah Wilson has been writing about gardens since 2015. She's written for Gardeningetc.com, Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Easy Gardens and Modern Gardens magazines. Having studied introductory garden and landscape design, she is currently putting the skills learned to good use in her own space where the dream is establishing a cutting garden.