Will Bleach Kill Bees? (Answered)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Bleach is a common household cleaner that can be found both in liquid and powdered form.

This household cleaner is effective at killing bacteria and sanitizing homes, public transportation and hospitals.

Bleach can also become a volatile chemical that produces toxic gases and explosive substances that can be likened to rocket fuel when mixed with other common household cleaners such as ammonia or Drano.

However, bleach cannot kill bees if it is just sprayed on them, except they are drowned in the bleaching liquid. This is because bleach is a pesticide and not an insecticide. To kill bees, you would need an insecticide.

What’s bleach made of?

Will Bleach Kill Bees

Bleach which is a household cleaner is made up of a mixture of chemicals.

The main constituent of the household cleaner is a solution of about 3 – 6% of sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl), which is also mixed with small amounts of sodium hydroxide, hydrogen peroxide, and calcium hypochlorite. 

The main use of bleach is to remove color or stain, whiten or disinfect clothes or surfaces, and is invaluable in most modern kitchens and bathrooms.

It one solution that can be found in most homes.

Sodium hypochlorite is used on a huge scale in agriculture, and industries such as chemical, paint, lime, food, glass, paper, pharmaceuticals, synthetics and waste disposal.

Are honey bees attracted to bleach?

If you’re looking to attract bees to a water source, it is possible to make use of bleach, however, chlorine has to be added to it.

One thing bees need is a safe place to stand. Water in a steep-sided container or water that flows quickly is dangerous to a bee because it can easily drown.

Beekeepers put this into and then go the extra mile to create safe water stations for their beehives, but sometimes, bees can be stubborn and would prefer their neighbour’s water station to theirs. 

So, one way to get their attention to their water station is to add chlorine beach solution to the water.

Just a few droplets of the chlorine bleach solution might be enough to get the attention of bees.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on do bees have fur?

Why does bleach kill bees?

Bleach does not necessarily kill bees unless the bees are drowned in bleach liquid.

And this is because bleach is a pesticide and not an insecticide. 

Even the chlorine outgassed from bleach is not repellent to bees, judging by how they prefer the water of hot tubs and swimming pools to all other

To kill bees effectively, an insecticide is what is required to kill bees effectively.

Bees may die from being submerged in any liquid, this is the reason they would die after being submerged in bleach, but bleach is not intended for killing insects, or bees.

Why does soapy water kill bees?

Soap can kill bees and every other insect because it is a surfactant—a substance that essentially makes water wetter.

Now, soapy water may not be good for bees because it kills them, however, it is a safe and efficient way to get rid of bees. 

Soapy water is effective for killing bees that are not clustered in a swarm of bees.

It is less effective and not advisable to be used for controlling undesired, established colonies in areas like hollow trees, wall voids, or underground nests. 

Also, it is not recommended for killing managed colonies where bees are “on the comb”.

To make use of soapy water to kill bees, mix about 3/4-1 cup of ordinary liquid dishwashing detergents in a gallon of water.

Fill the mixture in a regular hand-held, pump-up type garden sprayer. 

Wet the surface of the swarm of bees with soapy water and continue wetting as the outer layer of soaked bees fall from the swarm.

Continue wetting the newly, exposed, dry bees until all have been thoroughly covered and drowned. 

You may want to place a garbage can or similar receptacle beneath the swarm to catch the soaked bees as they fall from the swarm.

You may need to use the garden sprayer to hasten the “release” of “wetted” bees from the swarm surface and the exposure of the remaining, dry bees in the center of the swarm.

Also read this article I wrote on do bees go away at night

Does dish soap kill bees?

Bees are quite harmful to humans, mainly because of their sting. This explains why you would be interested in natural products that kill bees. 

Yes, dish soap kills bees.

To prepare a dish soap solution that kills bees, you should mix one part of the dish soap into four equal parts, and then mix with water.

Fill up your dish soap solution in a spray bottle, and then start your spraying spree. 

Spray all the bees with this solution.

The dish soap water solution will kill the bees and it is also safe because it doesn’t leave a harmful residue as an insecticide would. 

How do you keep bees away naturally?

When you have bees around your house, the next thing you have would on your mind is how to get rid of them.

Doing so professionally might be a little too expensive for you, but there are natural ways to keep the bees away permanently. 

Some of these natural products and how you can use them are listed below:

Garlic powder: Bees are attracted to smells, only that they find only sweet smells and they find pungent smells repulsive. Bees are not fond of the garlic smell, so to get them parking, sprinkle garlic wherever you find them.

Peppermint: Try planting peppermint leaves wherever you notice bees and they would leave without any hassle.

Vinegar: Let the bees perceive the smell of vinegar and they would flee. To make this possible, you should open containers of vinegar around for the bees to perceive its smell.

Cinnamon: This is another natural spice that bees would rather avoid. Sprinkle this spice around and be sure that you will be rid of those bees.


Bleach isn’t for killing bees or insects because it is not an insecticide. However, drowning bees in any liquid, including bleach will kill them.

If you wouldn’t want to get close to the swarm of bees by using bleach, there are other natural products that you can make use of.

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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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