Does Vinegar Kill Bees? (Explained)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Having a bee invasion in your yard or around your home can be pretty annoying not to talk about being harmful.

If you have ever felt a bee sting then you would know it’s not something to joke with. 

These little ornery creatures, although important to humans, can be dangerous especially if they are aggressive bees.

To those who are allergic to bees, a bee sting could be fatal or near fatal.

Sometimes it can be pretty difficult getting rid of bees especially if you are not a beekeeper or a bee expert. However a simple homemade solution of vinegar can solve this problem. 

This article will further explain how vinegar can affect bees and whether vinegar can kill bees to solve the pest problem.

Does Vinegar Really Kill Bees?

Does Vinegar Kill Bees

Even though bees and humans can cohabit in the environment, if they are around your home in large numbers, it can be dangerous especially if you have children or someone with a bee allergy around.

The stings from bees can be a serious nuisance leading to discomfort, swelling and redness.

Even though there are various methods of getting rid of bees, the use of vinegar can easily clear the bees off.

The smell of vinegar is dangerous to the bees and the smell instantly kills them when they are exposed to it. Bees find the smell of vinegar repulsive and spraying it on them is usually fatal to them.

If you have been wondering if vinegar can really kill bees the answer is yes, spraying vinegar on bees will kill them and help you get rid of them.

The vinegar spray is not only a natural way to get the bees from around you, it is easy to make and very cheap as it is a substance you have lying around in your home.  

To make the vinegar application more effective and to prevent the bees from coming back, spray areas of your house with vinegar on a regular basis.

This will keep them away permanently and just like that you have solved your bee pest problem.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on why does smoke calm bees?

How Much Vinegar Does It Take To Kill Bees?

If you do plan on using a vinegar spray to get rid of the bees in your home then you should know how to do it properly so you wouldn’t have a case of overkill.

You don’t have to pour out the whole bottle of vinegar you have for this purpose as that would be a waste.

To get rid of bees using the vinegar spray you would need a spray bottle, water and vinegar.

Add one teaspoon of vinegar to a quart of water. Mix together thoroughly in the spray bottle, you can add washing soap to the mixture as this is another smell bees can’t stand.

Mix together thoroughly and ensure you wear protective clothing before going out to spray the bees as you would have to spray them directly.

Spray the mixture on the bees at night where they are sleeping and also around areas where they frequent.

You have to note that if they have built a colony, then you must ensure it is removed to avoid rotten smells when it starts to decay.

Before you use your vinegar solution however, you should know the type of bee you are dealing with as different bees exhibit different behaviors and whether they are truly bees or wasps/hornets which are very similar to bees. 

What Vinegar Kills Bees?

There are different types of vinegar that people use and the most common type is the distilled white vinegar.

Vinegar is a substance which has a variety of household uses from dressing of foods and marinating to cleaning floors and spaces.

Vinegar is made from fermented alcohol liquids and the color and taste of each specific type of vinegar depends on the alcohol base. Types of vinegar include:

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Malt vinegar
  • White wine vinegar
  • Rice vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Red rice vinegar
  • Cherry Vinegar
  • Beer vinegar

These types of vinegar have various uses for which they are known. Knowing the different types of vinegar can help in your daily activities.

Bees have an auction to vinegar and using it on them is always fatal to them.

Any type of vinegar can affect bees, however the most common and easily available are distilled white vinegar and apple cider vinegar.

Either of these two will definitely do the trick and you do not have to go out of your way to buy an expensive type.

Also here is an article I wrote on do bees have eyes?

Do Bees Hate The Smell Of Vinegar?

Bees naturally cannot stand pungent smells so they avoid strong odors like peppermint, cucumber, vinegar, citrus to mention a few.

If you do not want to kill the bees around your home or you want to even prevent an invasion you can place open jars of vinegar around the garden.

To do this, simply mix distilled white vinegar with water and place in a jar in strategic spots in your garden.

It will serve a multipurpose function of repelling not only bees but other predating insects such as wasps and hornets who can be a nuisance to your home.

What Smell Do Bees Hate?

Bees do not like pungent smells and they avoid them.

To protect yourselves you can use these smells around your house while also rubbing oils that smell strongly of these scents to successfully repel bees from stinging you. 

Some of the smells that you can use to keep bees away naturally include:

  • Garlic Powder

Bees do not like the smell of garlic, so to make sure they avoid your house or yard, simply sprinkle garlic powder around your house and you won’t have to deal with them.

  • Peppermint

Peppermint is another scent that bees dislike a lot and try to avoid. Planting peppermint around the perimeter around the house will definitely keep the bees from your place. This serves as a preventive measure against an invasion.

  • Cinnamon

Sprinkling cinnamon daily will help you keep the bees away.

If they already have a hive, sprinkling it around them often will drive them away and you can dispose of the hive before it starts to decay.

  • Distilled Vinegar

As we have discussed vinegar will keep the bees away because of its pungent smell.

If you do not want to kill the bees, all you have to do is place open jars of distilled vinegar around your garden.

However if they are already out in full, you might have to spray and kill them with vinegar spray.  

  • Citronella Candles

Bees do not like heavy citrusy scents and burning citronella candles around your house will help keep bees away. Doing this regularly will help repel bees in your house. 

You can also rub lavender, citronella, lemon and a few other types of oils on your skin to avoid stings from the bees.

These are all natural ways of avoiding a bee invasion and will keep your home safe without having to invest in pesticides or other heavy chemicals. 

What Kills Bees Instantly?

Apart from the use of vinegar to kill bees that are manifesting in your home there are several other ways to also get rid of them.

The use of insecticides for one; spraying insecticides directly on bees will kill them instantly. 

Other ways to get rid of bees instantly include: 

  • Electric bug zapper
  • Powder dust
  • Ultrasonic pest repellent
  • Mothballs
  • Soap and water mixture

These are a few things that kill bees instantly and if you do not want to kill them, then you should avoid these methods and use more natural methods.

How Long Does Vinegar Take To Kill Bees?

Vinegar has been known to repel and kill bees. Sometimes it just repels them but that depends on how you use it.

If you just place the vinegar in an open jar, it will only repel them through the soil.

However if you mix the vinegar with water and even add some soap , this is an instant death sentence for them.

The vinegar will render them unable to fly and also suffocate them leading to their deaths within a few short minutes.

Vinegar is very fatal to bees and it is just a cheaper solution to insecticides. The results are almost always instantenus.

Is There A Natural Bee Repellent?

Some plants and scents have been known to be natural bee repellents.

Natural bee repellents include pungent smells like garlic, vinegar, lemon or other citruses, cinnamon and citronella.

To make your own natural bee repellent, you can mix any of these scents with water and spray them around your house to keep the bees away.

You can also buy oils made from the scents and apply them to your skin to ensure a stray bee doesn’t sting you.

Natural bee repellents are less harmful to humans than chemicals and also more affordable.


As much as we love that bees provide our honey and pollinate our flowers, having them in and around our houses can be dangerous especially if there are children around.

We have highlighted the ways in which you can get rid of bees and other harmful insects with vinegar, that good home material that is handy.

If you also do not want to hurt the bees there are natural repellents which bees hate which you can use on them. 

You can also call on the services of a bee keeper or bee professionals to safely remove them from your environment.

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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


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