Why are bees attracted to me?

Have you ever experienced that while you are peacefully walking, bees suddenly start following you? Afterward, as much as you try to avoid them by increasing your walking pace, they seem to keep up. Then there must be several factors why they are attracted to you and decides to follow you wherever you go.

Bees follow people because they are attracted to several factors. It can be because of the color you wear, like purple, violet, or blue. It can also be the sweet scent of your perfume,  cologne, or the beverage you are drinking. They can also be attracted by the smell of your sweat and tears (yes!). However, another reason may be because you disturbed their hive, and they are looking to defend themselves.

Let us learn more about why bees would be attracted to you and will follow you.

beekeeper working on a beehive next to flowers

Why do bees follow me?

Bees are often unnoticed, but they are one of the most important species on the planet because of their contribution to the pollination of flowers and fruits [1]. However, often, they go out of their way from their usual routine of foraging to following people.

There are several reasons why bees will be attracted to people or follow you around. Let us look one by one at these reasons.

1. You smell sweet.

Bees have a great sense of smell for their relatively tiny size. However, despite their structure, they are rather sensitive to various scents [2]. For instance, honeybees are known to differentiate multiple flavors, such as sweet, sour, bitter, and salty [3].

However, bees are most attracted to the sweet smell since their day-to-day activities involve going to flower gardens to collect the sweet-smelling nectar and pollen.

So, if bees are following you, you may be wearing or smelling sweet. It can be the perfume or sweet cologne, soap, and shampoo you use during bathing, hair products, or even the sweet lipstick you casually put on.

Though the chance of attracting bees is less if you’re in the city or crowded area, you may use other scents in flowery areas.

2. You are drinking coke.

Aside from the sweet scent that can attract bees, you may also want to check what you are eating and drinking while going to places and neighborhoods that are likely to have bees. 

Bees are attracted to sweet scents. So, suppose you’re constantly drinking coke or other sugary beverages and solutions. In that case, it may attract unwanted guests who may want to drink. Coke and other soft drinks have a sugar concentration of around 30% sucrose, which bees can find just right, similar to nectar [4].

Bees can also find your sweet gums attractive, so you may want to hold off your chewing gum while walking around gardens and flowery fields. However, the smell that is less likely to attract bees is the salty solutions, unless they are sweat bees.

3. You smell like sweat.

Aside from the sweet smell that you wear or drink that can attract bees, there is also a possibility of attracting bees through your sweat, and with temperatures increasing and sweating becoming more natural, don’t be surprised if you draw some annoying pests (although they are helpful for our planet).

The tiny and often unnoticed bees that are attracted to sweat are called halictid bees or sweat bees, with more than 500 species in North America, including the United States, alone [5]. As their name goes, they are attracted to salt and moisture from perspiration or sweat, aside from their regular diet of pollen and nectar. 

However, don’t be scared of them because they are so small, and none of them are aggressive. They also commonly nest in the ground, but you may still encounter them while they are out foraging in the flower fields.

4. You may have been crying.

This may come straight from your nightmare, but sweat bees, aside from sweat, also like to drink human tears directly from a person’s eye. However, since these particular types of bees are small, you may not always notice them [6]

So, even if you are not wearing anything sweet or perspiring, there is a slight chance that you are still followed by these sweat and tear-loving bees.

5. You are wearing a color that is attractive to bees.

According to studies, bees also are trichromatic, like humans. This means that their eyes also have three photoreceptors. However, for humans, we base our color combinations on red, blue, and green (RGB). At the same time, for bees, it is ultraviolet (invisible to humans), blue, and green.

Bees are also attracted to bright colors like orange and yellow. So, if you’re constantly attracting bees, you may want to change the color of your clothing.

However, darker colors and deeper colors of red appears black to bees and can also attract them, but this time, it will be provocative for them and cause aggression [7]. So, it would be better to wear light colors when more active bees are around in the summertime [8].

6. You did something to the bee or its hive

Always remember that bees, especially social bees like honeybees, can be aggressive when protecting their nests or hives. So, if bees are swarming over you, there is a chance that you may have disturbed their nest.

Whether accidental or intentional, bees will follow you and can even sting you if they perceive you as a threat. So, it would be wise to always run. 

How to avoid bees from following me?

Now that we know why bees are following us, we can easily identify the ways how to prevent bees from following you. Here are some of the tips to avoid bees.

1. Avoid sweet-smelling perfume and scents.

Since sweet perfume, sweet colognes, sweet deodorant, sweet soaps, and sweet shampoos are attractive to bees, it would be best to avoid using them altogether to prevent bees from following you. You may still use other brands and scents less attractive to bees.

2. Avoid drinking sweet drinks when close to bee habitats.

Another sweet thing that is attractive to bees is soft drinks made from a solution that can mimic nectar. So, you can avoid drinking them during the summer when bees are likely foraging for their food. You may opt to drink water that is not attractive to bees and is much healthier than these sugared drinks.

3. Avoid going to places where bees are abundant when you’re sweating or crying.

Sweat bees will treat you like a salt lick if you go near them while you’re all sweaty, crying, or both. Though it is helpful for these bees to get free minerals from humans, I’m not sure if you’ll willingly allow bugs to drink out of your skin and eyes.

4. Wear light-colored clothing.

Prevention is better than cure, so it would be best to avoid the attractive and aggression-inducing colors for bees. You should avoid the bright colors that are attractive to bees and the darker colors that can cause aggression to them.

To be safe, always wear lighter colors that are also cool to the body to lessen sweating. By wearing light-colored clothes, you can avoid aggressive bees from attacking you and sweat bees from licking you.

What do I do if a bee chases me?

When you finally do everything you can to avoid getting attacked by bees, yet you are still pursued, then the only thing you can do is to run.

1. Never attempt to swat bees because they have stingers, which could lead to more aggression from the hive.
2. Never jump to bodies of water to escape because bees are known to continuously swarm over you even if you’re submerged. So there is a possibility that you either drown or continually get stung.

3. Your first option when being chased by bees is to run as fast as you can and as far as you can or get inside your car or a building.


Bees are an essential part of the ecosystem that we all need to help cultivate our needed flowers and fruits. However, though they are excellent natural pollinators, they can still be annoying sometimes, especially if they keep following you.

Bees follow people because they are attracted to the bright colors or cause aggression by the darker shades you wear. It can also be from the fragrance you wear or the sweat coming from your body. It can even be because you accidentally disturbed their nests, and they are just protecting themselves.

So, if bees start following you, the best thing you should do is to run away from them. Don’t try to kill them because they are essential; they can also call for backup. Treat bees with respect because we need them, and just leave them alone.


[1] – https://www.canr.msu.edu/nativeplants/pollination/
[2] – https://www.courierpostonline.com/story/life/home-garden/2015/05/04/avoid-scents-attract-bees/26877045/
[3] – https://cals.arizona.edu/pubs/insects/ahb/inf6.html
[4] – https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna30233069
[5] – https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/halictid-bees-sweat-bees
[6] – https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/bees-that-drink-sweat-from-peoples-skin-and-tears-from-peoples-eyes
[7] – https://www.sfgate.com/homeandgarden/article/Wearing-bright-clothes-or-scents-attracts-bees-2687252.php
[8] – https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/summer-safety-how-to-avoid-bee-swarm-attacks/