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Does Citronella Repel Bees? (All You Need to Know)

If you live around a place where there is some wilderness, crops, and greens, you may have faced bees buzzing in and out. Sometimes certain flowers in our garden also attract these bees.

Since bees are so vital to our environments, harming them permanently is not what anybody should aim for.

Instead, you may look for natural ways to repel these bees and we’ve heard that citronella is a great alternative to do so.

Does citronella repel bees?

Citronella is an essential oil that is widely used as a natural repellent. It is also used to repel bees away from homes and gardens, thanks to the peculiar smell that it gives off. Citronella can be used in the form of candles, sprays, and body lotions or plants to drive away buzzing bees around.

Does citronella repel bees and wasps?

Here is how citronella works for different bees:

Carpenter Bees:

Carpenter bees are not like other bees that live in a colony. These bees are often found around wood structures.

These bees do react to citrus smell strongly and citronella, mixed with other oils like jojoba or lavender, will be able to push away these black and yellow buzzers.

Sweat bees:

As the name suggests, these bees are attracted to sweat, more specifically salt in human sweat.

Citrus citronella smell is not as effective on sweat bees and might take longer to repel them alone. Instead, mint is what makes them go away instantly. You can mix citronella oil with mint oil for more efficacy.


What bumblebees truly dislike, other than the smell of lime, lavender, or olive oil, is the smell of citronella. 

Although bumblebees are mostly out in nature and agriculture, you may also have to shove them away if your house is around a lot of trees.

Honey bees:

Quite similar to bumblebees, honey bees can also come live in your backyard or garden, trying to enter your home once in a while.

Likewise, citronella is known to be efficient when it comes to making sure honey bees don’t come near your doorstep.

Wood bees:

Wood bees are also like carpenter bees and detest the smell of citrus. If citronella is not strong enough on its own, you can add other citrusy-smelling elements to wade away these bees.

Do bees dislike the smell of citronella?

If you have never gotten the smell of citronella, this essential oil gives off a pleasant floral and citrus smell. While this smell can fill up your homes and we would still enjoy it, bees dislike the smell of citronella.

In any case, bees are strongly repelled by any citrus-like smell whether it is lime or lemongrass.

How does citronella repel bees?

Citronella is popularly known for its insect, mosquito, and bee repelling properties. It is an essential oil that is made out of different stems of the lemongrass variant.

Because of the characteristic smell that citronellas possess, bees are repelled by the scent. The oil smells somewhat floral with a hint of citric essence. Sometimes it also gives off a grassy smell.

This element is often used in pesticide compounds that are chemically charged. Instead of using chemical products that harm the environment and the bees, natural citronella helps keep away bees without causing them to lose life.

How to use citronella to repel bees?

There are several ways using which you can use citronella to repel bees. Here are a few simple possibilities:

Keep a citronella plant indoors:

Although this method might not be as effective with a 100% guarantee of driving the bees away immediately, using a citronella plant helps spread the very smell that repels the bees away.

This method is especially suitable for people who face the challenges of big bees entering their homes. All you need to do is keep one or two of these plants by the door or the window.

However, it is also important to remember that citronella plants need adequate sunshine for their well-being. Take the plant out for a few hours of sunshine, and watering and then keep them inside again.

The mild scent that the plant gives off at least lets the bees know that this isn’t where they want to make a home.

Crush citronella leaves:

When the plants don’t give off enough of that floral, citrus smell, you can trust the leaves to do the work.

Oftentimes, in places that are infested with too many mosquitoes, this method has proven to be effective. Because bees are such an important part of the ecosystem and our livelihoods, any method that allows us to drive them away is welcome.

Using crushed leaves is a safe way to make sure that bees never come to the area you are trying to keep them away from.

One great idea is to use a plant and put some of the crushed citronella leaves on the pod or plant. This way you have a stronger smell that is sure to reach those bees.

Light citronella candles or torches:

If you are worried about bees entering your home and don’t want a citronella plant inside your home, you can also use citronella candles.

It is worth noting that these candles are sufficient in keeping bees and other insects away.

You can use several of these candles and place them around the home in bundles as well. When you light these candles, the smell is spread throughout the rooms.  You can also use these candles in your porch area.

You can also find citronella torches which are especially effective when placed outside. The problem with candles is they do not work anywhere where there is flowing air.

Spray citronella oil and water solution:

When you are mixing citronella oil and water, you can get creative and add other essential oils as well.

Additionally, there are a few scents that bees absolutely dislike and immediately fly away as soon as they get a scent. These smells include garlic, cinnamon, lemon, or live, and including these makes your natural repellent spray a lot more effective.

Use citronella on yourself:

Similar to how we use lotions to repel away mosquitoes, you can find several products on the market that use citronella or its essence.

Whether it’s a soap, or body lotion, applying them on yourself will make sure that bees don’t come near you. You can use these when you are out in the crops or fields where there are large beehives.

As for children who have more sensitive skin than us adults, all lotions are not safe for them. You can look for citronella wrist bands that give off that smell to keep bees away from children’s bodies.

Is it possible to still find bees around after using citronella?

If the bees have made a colony around the area you live, unfortunately, despite using citronella, there remains a possibility that you may find bees around. It would mainly depend on what kind of method you are using in the form of citronella.

For instance, using citronella candles outside in the open air would not be as effective as using them inside. If you place citronella plants, they might not give off the strongest of that particular smell.

If you do that and move the plants away, the smell would go away as well. Hence there would be a chance of the bees coming back or not leaving completely.

In that case, you may want to use stronger natural repellents or have a professional drive these bees away. In some cases, mixing mint with citronella proved to be more effective.

Does citronella oil attract bees?

Citronella oil does not attract bees. Instead, it is a well-known natural repellent to shove away bees around your home or backyard.

The citrus, floral smell from citronella oil is what makes the bees go away. What is great about citronella is that it does not harm the bees or the environment.

What scent keeps bees away?

There are many scents from natural elements that are bees that. Here is a list of scents that keep bees away without harming them:

  • Mint
  • Lime
  • Lemon
  • Citronella
  • Wormwood
  • Cedarwood
  • Eucalyptus 
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Clove
  • Thyme
  • Lemongrass
  • Orange
  • Marigold
  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic

Does citronella harm bees?

Citronella is an essential oil, which means that it is 100% natural and cannot harm bees in any way. The most that citronella does is produce a smell that is heavily disliked by bees.

Moreover, citronella is also safe for the environment, unlike other chemical repellents.

How do you repel bees without harming them?

One of the safest ways to repel bees without harming them involves the use of scents or essential oils that bees dislike.

You can use mint, lemon, garlic sprays, wormwood, lavender candles, and many others to drive them away. Smoking an area also works to push the bees away.

What does citronella repel?

Citronella repels more than just bees. Here is a list of what this essential oil repels:

  • Mosquitoes
  • Bees
  • Flies and bugs
  • Cricket
  • Grass insects

Final Thoughts:

To answer the question of whether citronella repels away bees, yes it does. This oil gives out a floral and citrus smell that bees particularly dislike. Whether you choose to add candles, or have oil sprayed around your home, always choose more natural repellents that do not harm the bees.