Honey Bees have taken over my salt water pool

10 years ago

First, let me just clarify- these ARE honey bees, not sweat bees, hornets, wasps, yellow jackets, mason bees, Cicada killers or anything else that might try and trick me in to thinking it's a bee. I've unfortunately killed enough of them to examine them up close and personal, and they are, indeed, bees. They are also Wild bees (or domestic bees that took off). Here's the crux of the problem. I never noticed bees much in my yard (they are here, just not a probem) until last year, when we installed an inground heated salt water pool. The pool was finished mid-spring and my kids were swimming May 1 Or rather, they WANTED to swim, but hoards of honey bees behave like the pool is THEIR PERSONAL water supply and NO ONE, not person, not dog, is allowed near it. Now, I've read things like "don't have flowers around your pool" and that's a big roger... actually I DO have flowers but it's a shrub, doesn't bloom til fall, and is NOT part of the problem, plus it's mainly visited by the bumblebees in particular, and it's staying. This particular group of bees shows up with the sun. They are not lured by my vegetable garden or roses or english garden on the other side of the yard. I am sure they are nesting in the woods behind us which are not very navigable, filled with venomous snakes once it's warm enough (see: Vet bills from copperhead strikes) and I have not been able to find any "path" the bees take other than "somewhere in the woods behind the neighbor's in the protected preserve area". I am not really interested in killing bees (I'm a gardener. I plant everything, hope it grows and even leave my garden open for foraging critters through the winter... the deer and squirrels love me!). Unlike the wasps that come dip down for a harmless little sip, these bees literally patrol the area and aggressively try to remove you from "their" area. Only it's MY area! I want to rid myself of them, preferably by deterring them, but will happily poison the bejesus out of them if it means my children can swim, and I can swim instead of standing on Bee guard. Killing them does no good because of course more just come, and they smell their dead little friend, and they know the crazed woman with the pool skimmer net is out to get them, and it's game on!

Again, because I know I'm going to hear it, these are NOT wasps, yellow jackets, sweat bees, bald-faced hornets, mud-dawbers, paper wasps... they are indeed your classic, mildly furry, striped but muted honey bee. I have had many experiences with bees and this is not at ALL like ANY bee behavior I have ever witnessed. There are no nests on my property. It's like they drop out of the sky just to harass us.

I'm kind of a tree hugger most of the time, I plant things i know the wildlife will enjoy, and I actually just adore bumblebees and have taught my children to get up close and personal to watch them, but these honey bees will have NONE of it, and their attitude lasts for most of the summer. They seem to chill out come fall when I then have to be vigilant about the wasps! Oddly enough, they are less bothersome than the bees.

I've seen ideas like a "bee bath" which won't work. I know this, because I already have alternate water sources on site, and perpendicular to the pool is a natural wet-weather creek where they have plenty of fresh tasty water. They are preferring my pool which is why I thought they might be sweat bees at first, but they are not. Just plain old honey bees.

Can I lure these bees away with something more attractive? I really don't want to kill them, I just really do NOT want them at the pool area. I am thinking if I can lure them once it warms up, perhaps I can get a beekeeper to come get them, and I can go back to talking to the bumblebees who are much nicer company. HELP!

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