Sweat Bees

Prairie Rose

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Are keeping me from working outside at the moment....they are swarming everywhere and everything. Will misquito repellent work on them? I picked them out of my hair yesterday, just from walking to get my mail. I am allergic to bee stings....halp!
 

flowerbug

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Are keeping me from working outside at the moment....they are swarming everywhere and everything. Will misquito repellent work on them? I picked them out of my hair yesterday, just from walking to get my mail. I am allergic to bee stings....halp!
perhaps put out some shallow saucers of water for them to give them something else to drink? that's all i can think of at the moment...
 

Ridgerunner

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Sweat bees eat nectar and pollen and are beneficial as pollinators, so I like the idea of repelling them instead of killing them. They crave salt. It's the salt in the sweat that attracts them, not the moisture. There are thousands of varieties worldwide so they come in different sizes and colors. Some of this I knew, some I just read.

Smelling like a flower will attract them so cool it with the perfume, cologne, or aftershave until you are done working outside. The salt in your sweat will attract them anyway even if you don't smell like a flower but why make it worse. They are happy with you smelling like a salt mine. If you work outside in summer you will probably sweat. They will crawl underclothing and in your clothing to get to the sweat.

From what I read commercial insect repellents are supposed to work. I'd look at the label and see if they or just "bees" are listed. If you try to trap them, you need a special trap. They are so small they fly out of the regular traps. They nest in are soil so mulching is supposed to get them to leave the area, but how practical is that? Maybe it will help.

The sweat bees I remember are from when i as growing up. Those reminded me of an over-sized flying black ant. They were not as bad as yellow jackets, bumblebees, paper wasps, or hornets but when they stung it hurt.
 

Beekissed

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OFF....I have to use it to keep them off me while I work outside. It's the only thing I've found to do it. I've tried citronella, mint and other natural repellents but OFF is the only thing that seems to work.
 

flowerbug

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i cover up so no bees bother me when i'm in the gardens. there's way too many of them around. if i wear loose clothing they might get caught in there and then they sting.

i didn't know it was the salt they were after.

the bees are emptying the bird baths now. not many birds use them with so many bees on them.
 

Prairie Rose

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Thanks everyone. i've been lucky and haven't managed to get stung yet this year. Usually a bee sting ends up with me in the emergency room; I do have a full body bee suit from when I tried beekeeping (funny story there...didn't know I was allergic to bees until after I had them), but it's so heavy, and very very hot. I would rather not have to suit up just to go outside. The bees seem to be hovering over anywhere there is moisture; water bowls/tanks, birdbaths, and my garden when I irrigate.

I typically keep buggins in my gardening box but it did not help with the sweat bees; I will try the off or the skin so soft.
 

flowerbug

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Lucky you to have bees. I've seen very few this yr. :>(!!
we have someone who keeps about 50 hives out back along the property line.

we have plenty of various native bees around. i was worried how this spring started off with so few natives around, but they've been here. not as many bumblebees as i'd like.
 

so lucky

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@Prairie Rose , have you been found to be allergic to all bees and wasp stings? That must be rather terrifying to try to garden with that handicap!
But I am wondering if the sweat bees you are being bothered by are those that look like miniature yellow jackets? About half an inch long? We call them jar flies...don't know why, though. They hover, mostly. I don't think they have stingers. Or maybe I have just been lucky up to this point.

Ah, a quick google found an explanation that says they are harmless hover flies, and they eat aphids. (Not a jarfly. Thanks, Mom.)
 
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