Can You Spray Bees With Water? (Answered)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Bees apart from being bred by humans in hives also have wild species who build their nests in bushes, trees, or old stuff that have been abandoned.

Spraying bees with water in itself will not harm the bees except you are directing a large torrent at them which can then drown them. However water mixed with various substances and sprayed on bees can have different effects on them.

For example, water mixed with sugar and sprayed on bees calms them and gives the beekeeper a  brief lull to carry out his duties.

This article will expantiate on the effects of water on bees, if water can kill bees and whether bees like getting sprayed with water

Will Spraying Bees With Water Kill Them?

Can You Spray Bees With Water

If you have a small swarm of bees around your yard that you feel might be endangering your children and pets, you might want to call a professional beekeeper to help remove them.

Do not try to spray the bees with water as this will only upset them and cause them to get aggressive and poised to sting you.

Spraying bees with water does not necessarily kill them as the water cannot penetrate the outer layers of their bodies because of the wax surrounding it.

However a soap water spray will dissolve the wax molecules and allow water to enter the insect’s body effectively drowning them.

A vinegar spray which is a mixture of water and vinegar will also kill the bees as the vinegar suffocates them and renders them unable to fly.

Spraying water on bees in itself will not kill them but only get them angry.

What Are Effects Of Spraying Bees With Water?

Except you are spraying the bees with a very large faucet hose which will knock them senseless, spraying water on defensive bees will only get them more pissed and more likely to sting you.

When mixed with soap or vinegar, spraying water on bees is quite effective because the other substance makes it easy for the bees body to be penetrated and get drowned.

When spraying soap water on the bees ensure you are properly covered as the bees do not die instantly and as such can still sting you before falling dead to the ground.

A sugar and water spray on the bees will however do the opposite and calm the bees.

Beekeepers use the sugar spray as an alternative to smoking bees when they carry out hive checks.

Because bees like sugar, when they are sprayed with the sugar solution they immediately get busy cleaning themselves by licking off the sugar.

The beekeeper then uses the period to carry out the hive check.

The sugar spray is a healthier alternative to smoking bees that has been advocated for adoption. It is also used on a new package of bees to calm them and get them accustomed 

Do Bees Like Getting Sprayed With Water?

Bees definitely do not like getting sprayed with water. Spraying a nest of bees to try and make them go away is a wrong move.

The water irritates the bees and when they realize you are the source of the disturbance they will come straight for you to attack.

If you have disturbed a nest of the more aggressive kind then you are in for a long run.

If you see someone being chased by attacking bees, grabbing a hose of water to spray them is not the best solution.

The water will not harm the bees and will only give them enough time to catch up with you.

In essence, the spray will only disorient the outer layer of the bees defense while the bees at the back can easily come up to sting you.

In this scenario, the best option is to run as fast as you can and find shelter, water will not stop an aggravated group of bees.

Are Bees Afraid Of Water?

Bees are not afraid of water but it is said generally that they do not like getting their feet wet.

Even though bees like the honeybees use water for a variety of reasons in their day to day activities they do not necessarily like touching it.

While gathering water from water sources, they stay on dry ground and fill their crops with water and when they get back to the hive, the water is transferred to the in house bees.

Most beekeepers usually have a water source for their bees close to the hive site.

This helps the bees as they do not have to forage far for a water source. It also stops them from causing a nuisance to neighbors by sipping from their pools, birdbaths or water faucets.

Places like the Garvey birdbath have floating wine corks for bees to stand on while they are taking a sip.

Other beekeepers can make use of floating stones or twigs in their water sources to help the bees when they are sipping water.

The only times you see bees taking a dip or floating in pools is when they are dying.

Thousands of bees die yearly and while some of them drop to the ground, some end up in the pool. They are dying, however they can and will still sting if you come too close to them.

Will Spraying Bees With Water Make Them Go Away?

If you find a bee, probably a honey bee or a bumblebee collecting pollen or nectar on its own and you spray it with water there is the likelihood that it will simply fly away believing it was raining. 

The bee would most probably not see the direction the water came from and simply fly away to find a dryer source of food. 

However if the bees are in a group or in their nest, spraying water at them will not make them go away. It will only irritate them and get them mad enough to perceive you as a threat and sting you.

If you have a swarm of bees in your yard or around your pool and you want to get rid of them the best option is to call a professional beekeeper who can take out the bees safely to another location. 

If you want to remove them by yourself at all costs then know that spraying them with water is not an effective method of getting rid of them. 

If you plan on killing the bees you can make a soap and water mixture then spray on the bees.

The soap water solution will kill the bees as it will allow the water to enter their bodies and drown them. 

To be completely safe make sure you’re covered with bulky clothing from head to toe while doing this because the bees do not die instantly and will want to sting you.

Can You Drown Bees With Water?

Bees can get drowned in water as they cannot breathe underwater.

The interesting part is bees can survive underwater longer than humans because they are able to close the openings in their bodies known as spiracles and as such block water from getting in.

However they still cannot breathe underwater and if a bee falls into water and is not rescued soon, the bee will drown.

You can use water as an effective way of getting rid of bees by drowning them, as long as you are not spraying them and the bees are trapped in water, they will die.

To easily attract bees to drown them, add some sugar to a large bowl of water and place it near a bee colony or cluster. Bees love sugar and will flock to the bowl enmasse and get drowned.

You can also drown ground bees with a soap and water mixture by covering their holes with a cloth and pouring hot soapy mixture down the hole, the bees will be trapped and get drowned in the hole. 

Apart from drowning bees there are also other natural and safe ways to remove bees even without causing harm to them

Will Bees Attack You When Under Water?

When running from a swarm of bees do not attempt to jump into water thinking the bees will give up the search when they no longer see you.

When you get under water, the bees cannot follow you however they will keep hovering on the surface till you come up for air.

Since you cannot remain under water indefinitely without coming up for air, the moment you do that the bees will sting you fiercely especially on your face.

The best escape from attacking bees is to find a shelter, get into a car or a house. Something that will shield you from them. 

If there is no shelter around, run into the bush, the scents of the plants will distract the bees and you will lose them in the scrubs.


The study on bees is wide and exhaustive. When you feel you’ve known everything about them you discover there is more to be learnt.

As a beekeeper, knowing how bees react to water and whether it is safe to spray them with it will go a long way in helping you better care for them.

If you have swarms of bees around your yard, do not hesitate to call on professional beekeepers to get rid of them for you.

Photo of author

About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


HayFarmGuy - Get Info About Farm Animals in Your Inbox