Will Bleach Kill Bees?

Bleach is one of the typical household chemicals that we normally use in our homes to remove stains, whiten fabric, and for cleaning. It can also come in either a solid or liquid state. Aside from the common applications, bleach can also be used outdoors to kill bacteria, viruses, and algae. It can even be considered a pesticide, which may come as a surprise to some [1].

So, since bleach is a pesticide, can it kill insects like bees that may cause some inconveniences in your yard?

Bleach is a household chemical used to remove stains, whiten, and clean. It can also be classified as a pesticide [4] but is generally used to kill weeds. However, bleach is not an insecticide, so it won’t be effective if you try to use it to kill bees, regardless if they are solitary bees (like ground bees) or social bees (like honeybees) [2]. Because of their decreasing number, it would also be better to find natural solutions to repel bees away from your house or yard instead of trying to kill them.

Let us learn more about the effect of bleach on bees and its other alternatives.

Will bleach kill bees?

beekeeper harvesting honey

Bees are an essential part of our ecosystem because of their crucial contribution to the pollination process while doing it for free. However, there may also be times when the bees can cause some nuisance to humans that they would want to get rid of. Because of this, some people would try to use regular household items like bleach on insects, including bees.

There are many applications and concentrations for bleach and bleaching solutions that are commonly used in the home and can easily be purchased in grocery stores. 

But unknown to many, bleach is categorized as a pesticide and can be used when killing weeds. It can also be used in cleaning and removing dirt and bacteria. Unfortunately, you can’t use bleach to kill bees since bleach is not an insecticide.

Knowing that bleach is not an insecticide will give you the idea that it can’t be used to kill insects, such as bees. The most it can do is to cause bees some minor inconveniences. The only time bees can typically be killed by bleach is if they are immersed in it, like falling into a tub filled with a bleach solution and drowning in it.

Generally, bees will not be killed by bleach, whether it comes in solid or liquid form. So, using bleach as a spray to deter bees is not the best way to do it.

If you’d like to learn more about bees, I’d also recommend reading How long do bees live?

Will bleach keep the bees away?

So you tried using bleach to kill bees, but it was ineffective. Now, you want to try if any property of bleach can deter bees or repel them from entering your property. Unfortunately, bleach is not an insect repellant, so it will also be ineffective in keeping bees away.

Another important consideration when using bleach is if used improperly, it can cause damage to the soil quality that may take a while to resolve. So, using bleach on soil should be avoided, and choose other available alternatives instead.

Why did bees choose your house?

beekeeper working on beehive in his garden

It is also important to know why bees would choose to enter your property or even start a colony within your garden to better find ways to deter them. Social bees like to build their nest or swarm in areas that are abundant with vegetation where they can quickly gather pollen and nectar without traveling too far.

On the other hand, ground bees prefer locations with dry ground or soil with limited vegetation. So, it would be common to see ground bees build their hives around yards with fewer plants [6].

What alternatives can you use to repel bees from your yard?

Bees are essential in our environment because they help us with pollinating our plants and flowers in our yard for free. Though some bees (especially the honeybees) will sting you if you’re not careful, you disturb them, or they view you as a threat, we can’t just try to kill every bee that we encounter. Instead of killing, it would be better to just repel them.

Since we already established that using bleach to kill bees in your yard is not ineffective, here are some other approaches and natural solutions you can employ if you want all types of bees to leave you and your house alone.

1. Plant peppermint plants around your house.

Bees don’t like the smell of peppermint and would choose to stay away from where they are planted. However, there is only a radius of effectivity for how far the plant’s scent can reach. So planting several peppermint plants spread throughout your lawn can deter bees from coming in [3].

Aside from using peppermint as a bee deterrent, you can also use it in your food whenever you need it.

2. Place cucumber peels around your house.

A simple yet effective way to keep bees away from your house is by using cucumber peelings and placing them around your home. You can put them along the window ledges and other openings that you commonly open. Replace the cucumber peelings after several days once they start to rot.

3. Place crushed garlic cloves around your house.

Another solution you can use using common household items is crushed garlic. You can place them on a cup or bowl and put them in locations where bee activities are prevalent. However, don’t place your crushed garlic near your flowers or plants to avoid discouraging bees from pollinating them.

4. Spread some cinnamon around your house.

Cinnamon is also a household or food item that effectively prevents various insects, including bees, in the house. You may spread or sprinkle cinnamon on multiple places in your home to deter bees from entering. 

Depending on the size of your home, the amount of cinnamon you’ll need to place will vary. Do this daily for about one to two weeks.

5. Call a professional if there are hives or swarming.

bees flying on a beehive

If the previous natural steps didn’t help and you notice that there are more buzzing bees in your yard or they started building a hive, if you don’t know how to properly and safely remove the hive, then you have no more choice but to call professional beekeepers or pest control.

Calling professionals can ensure that you ensure that the bees are handled properly and avoid any unnecessary stinging. They can also help relocate the beehive somewhere else, without exterminating them, so you can preserve the bees.

Avoid using insecticides on bees.

Since bees are natural pollinators, not only of various flowers but also of many fruits we consume, like apples, strawberries, eggplants, and more. Unfortunately, humans are slowly pushing the global bee population to extinction due to insecticides, which target pests and kill the ever-important bees.

Unfortunately, bleach cannot kill bees. Though it is considered a pesticide and can be used in removing weeds in the yard, it is not an insecticide, so it will be ineffective against insects, including bees. However, other household items like garlic, cinnamon, and cucumber can be used as bee deterrents. 

So, if some bee infestation and swarming happens in your yard, it would still be best to call professionals and let them handle the transfer to a different location instead of trying to exterminate them. 

Before we get to the conclusion, I’d also recommend reading Can bees sting through plastic? and Will soapy water kill carpenter bees?


Bleach is one of the common chemicals we can find around the house. We usually use them mainly for removings stains in clothes, whitening, and cleaning to remove bacteria. However, another application of bleach is as a pesticide that is generally used to kill weeds.

Though bleach is considered a pesticide, it is not an insecticide, so it will be ineffective in killing insects, including bees, both solitary and social bees. It can even cause unnecessary damage to the soil if you apply it there.

If you ever need to get rid of bees causing nuisance or danger in your house, it would be better to use natural methods or call professionals, such as beekeepers or pest control companies. Also, avoid using insecticides that will be dangerous to other important insects.


[1] – Bleach. (2022, September 22). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bleach

[2] – Bee. (2022, August 25). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee

[3] – RecycleNation (no date) 6 Natural Ways to Keep the Bees Away. RecycleNation. Available at: https://recyclenation.com/2015/05/6-natural-ways-to-keep-bees-away/ (Accessed: October 3, 2022). 

[4] – Pesticide horrors from the CA Department of Pesticide Regulation. ANR Blogs. (n.d.). Retrieved September 29, 2022, from https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=25540

[5] – Lee, C. (2022, February 2). Can (and should you) use bleach to kill weeds?: Horticulture. Horticulture Magazine. Retrieved October 3, 2022, from https://horticulture.co.uk/can-you-use-bleach-to-kill-weeds/

[6] – [4] – Should I be concerned about ground nesting bees in my yard?. Ask UNH Extension Master Gardeners Extension. (2019, May 15). Retrieved September 29, 2022, from https://extension.unh.edu/blog/2019/05/should-i-be-concerned-about-ground-nesting-bees-my-yard