Bees, of which there are many species, are beneficial insects in a number of ways. For example, they’re pollinators, so they can help your summer vegetable garden flourish. And, of course, some bees make delicious honey.
However, the fact that they’re helpful little bugs doesn’t necessarily mean you want them buzzing around you. Many people have apiphobia — or a fear of bees — and other people are highly allergic to the insect’s sting.
Some folks just seem to attract bees like moths to a flame. But whether or not you’ve ever asked yourself, “Why are bees attracted to me,” it doesn’t hurt to learn what could make a bee seek you out — and what to do if one of these insects takes an interest in you.
What Are Bees Attracted To?
To understand why bees make a beeline for you, it helps to know what these insects are looking for in the first place.
Many bees feed on the nectar from flowers. Since nectar is sweet, it makes sense that bees would be attracted to sugars and fragrances that smell flowery or sweet. That’s why you may notice bees at your picnic, especially if you’re drinking sugary sodas or eating fruits, such as pineapple and watermelon. In addition, if the scent of sunscreen, perfumes, lotions or hair products is overly saccharine (has a sweetness resemblance), there is a chance it may attract bees.
Patterns and colors:
In addition to nectar, bees feed on pollen that they get from flowers. Bees can see colors in the spectrum ranging from ultraviolet to orange and have been noticed to prefer purple, blue and yellow flowers. They also tend to be drawn to symmetry, so there is some chance that a combination of bees’ preferred colors and symmetrical patterns could attract them to you.
How to Not Get Stung by a Bee
There’s no surefire way to ensure you’ll never be stung by a bee. However, there are some measures you can take to try to prevent bee stings as much as possible.
- Watch where you walk so that you don’t accidentally step on a hive or run into one. Bees may sting if they think their queen or beehive is in danger.
- Check your yard regularly for nests before doing yard work or running a lawnmower. Some bees nest underground or in hollow trees, so keep an eye out for insects coming and going from a common location.
- When dining outdoors, cover sugary drinks, fruits or popsicles, as bees are typically attracted to sweets.
- Avoid wearing sweet-smelling perfumes, colognes, sunscreens or scented hair products, especially if you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors.
- If you see bees near flowers, change your path.
- Know what to do when a bee is near you: Don’t swat at it or you could send it into defense mode. Rather, calmly move away in a straight line until you reach an enclosed shelter. Even then, some more aggressive bees may still sting you.
- Don’t try to hide from bees by diving into water. Some bees may just wait for you to emerge.
- In addition to the other colors mentioned above, avoid wearing dark colors and reds. Bees may associate these colors with their natural predators and may see you as a threat to their hive.
Again, bees are a vital part of our ecosystem and are very beneficial insects. Therefore, if you can leave a colony undisturbed, you should.