Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Get rid of Bees and Wasps with Dish Soap

UPDATE:  It kills wasps as well-although not as fast.  I used "palmolive" and I'm not sure it that makes a difference or not. Another problem is that it lacks the chemical in commercial products that prevents them from coming back. In a pinch, I would use dish soap, but overall I just feel like the commercial stuff gets the job done better.

Disclaimer: I'm a big fan of bees-  They are a great way to pollinate all our plants, fruits and vegetables. If we killed all the bees we would also be killing all the fruits, veggies and plants. They make honey and beeswax to make candles etc. They are also very fashion forward in their black and yellow stripes. If they aren't bothering you, leave them alone. If at all possible, call beekeeper to see if he can remove the hive. Many of them will get them for free. Here's a link to the Texas Beekeepers. Only ever kill bees as a last resort.

2 Days after we moved into our 2nd home, my hubby and the kids walk out the garage and to the end of the block to get the mail.  In the very short minutes that it took, our garage turned into a National Geographic special.  A HUGE swarm of bees came into our garage.  We think the queen went up into a hole in the drywall of the corner by the garage door.  We shut the garage, trapping half of the swarm outside.  We hoped they'd go away, but the next morning, they were still there in full force and humming loudly-they sounded like a small engine and looked like a big black cloud.  If I was watching a nature special, I would have been fascinated, but since it was not on TV but in my garage, I was freaking out.

I started calling some exterminators, but we didn't have an extra $50, much less the several hundreds I was quoted.  Many told me that if the queen was setting up a hive in my walls, my grand  total could run into the thousands for honey removal.  This gave me nightmares of huge bee colonies producing ever increasing gallons of honey daily in my walls.

I called a few bee keepers to see if they would come and get them, but wasn't having any luck. Then I got the sweetest lady on the phone.  Her husband had passed away, but she told me that they best way to get rid of unwanted bees was to put Dawn dish soap in a garden sprayer, hook it up to the hose, and spray them down.

My husband thought it was too risky to battle a swarm of bees (he's allergic and I was 6 months pregnant). Disclaimer #2-bee swarms can be dangerous and so you should listen to my husband and call a pro too.

 I'm a cheap skate and thought it was worth the risk.  My dad (also a cheapskate and a big fan of DIY) volunteered to take one for the team. 

Dawn+Garden Sprayer=end of bee problem

I wish we had video.  I thought it would completely fail, or work like bug spray (kill some slowly, while the rest of them swarm you).  The entire swarm dropped to the ground less than second after the foam touched them. I don't know if other detergents work as well, the lady said to use Dawn and that's what we had. (I think it also might work on wasps and hornets, but I don't have any personal experience)

Here's a page from the family scrapbook:

I don't know much about bees, but once we got the queen, they rest died within a few hours.  Every inch of our garage was covered with bees. One dead bee doesn't stink, but this many bees smelled worse than awful.  We swept them all up. 
We wished that we could have somehow moved the bees to a safer location, but when that was no longer an option, we relieved to spend less than a dollar and w/out any toxic chemicals.

Linking up here.


  1. wow, thats sacry,,I'm just not a fan of bees,, I too understand the need of bees but not in our homes,, I'm glad you found an answer,, its sad that they had to die,, but you really didn't have much choice if the bee keepers didn't want them,,glad thats over,,

  2. Wow, that's amazing. I'm absolutely terrified of bees, this would def be a job for the hubs! Thanks for sharing the tip!

  3. How creepie glad you got that problem resolved!

  4. OH MY GOSH. SO creepy. Thanks for the advice! I hope I never need it...

  5. That sounds like the scariest thing ever. I love that there was a cheap and relatively easy solution to such a terrifying problem! Woohoo!

  6. I'm terrified of bees, no matter how important they are to growing things. I wonder if I could carry one of these around with me? ;) (JK!)

    Thanks for the tip. I hope I never have to use it!

  7. I have a friend that is SO scared of bees (it is a little ridiculous but I love her)and I will have to share this with her!
    Thank you!

  8. wow the pictures are great. I love honey. But I would not like them in my house. When ever we make the 2 hour trip to Ft Hood we stop by walker honey store. They have a hive inside a room in the building with a window so you can see the bees doing there job. Every so often they process the honey. It is cool. I would not like that in my garage. way to go.

  9. Wow that is amazing thanks for sharing!!!! Bees make my skin crawl in general. I can't imagine finding that many in my garage!!!

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  11. Makes me sad. Bees are harmless, especially when swarming. They are much to busy trying to find their queen and find a home. I understand your need to get them out of your garage...but then to put in on your blog as a great option for people to get rid of bees makes me sad. I am not a big save the planet type of gal, but I do worry about our bee population. I understand you not having the money to pay someone to remove them...just don't advertise it on your blog so others think this is a great idea too.

  12. As I said in my blog-bees are wonderful and I am no way advocating that people run out an commit random beeicide. Your first option should always be to call a bee keeper to come and get the bees. However, I was excited when I found an inexpensive and non-toxic way to remove a serious danger to my family. I have hornets nests along the edges of my roof and I happily leave them there. If they re-locate to my kid's swingset I'm busting out my Dawn.

  13. Hornets (wasps, yellow jackets) are completely different than bees. They are not useful for pollination and are mostly just a pest. Unlike bees, they are aggresive and will sting for no reason. It would be a good idea to get them off your house....with your Dawn! (hornets are the serious danger to your family, not bees. Bees are just an expense/nuisance if they set up their hives in your garage.) Killing hornets is completely different than killing honey bees. I understand your need and excitement to get rid of the bees in a non-toxic and cheap way...I'm and just saying maybe you could of just skipped this post. Most people are uneducated about bees and fearful. So they read your blog post, and use this method when their is such a better way. My husband has already rescued 2 wild bee swarms (in the past month) in our city and put them in hives...for FREE. These kind of people are out there. I am not trying to "bag" on you or cause conflict. I guess I am just more passionate about bees that I thought...especially because I have never left a comment on anyone's blog before that I didn't know (yours is the first)...and I have been reading blogs for years. Anyway, have a great day and I hope I have not caused you stress or grieve. That was not my intent.

    1. I just wanted to note yellowjackets aren't pollinatirs they eat other insects, but wasps and hornets are big pollinators still only kill if a last resort.

  14. @scrapde
    No stress or grief-I agree with you. It is important to protect our bees and you should always call a beekeeper before an exterminator. I posted this as a non-toxic cheap way when there isn't anyone to come and save the bees.

    As for our hornets, they've been there since we've moved in and never bothered us.

  15. With you being in Texas, there's a very real possibility they were Africanized and I commend you on trying to get a beekeeper before being forced to make a hard decision.

  16. Btw, we beekeepers try to keep that dish soap thing "under the radar" to prevent misuse. I hope your readers will be as diligent to try to do the right thing, i.e., calling a beekeeper, before resorting to it's use. Because bees breathe through their exoskeleton, it's death by slow suffocation.

  17. I have a wasp nest at my front door. The other around the house, we leave.but I would like to haV\ve Dawn recipe to get rid of the ones by door.
    Can't afford a exterminator.

  18. Agreed with you that Bees are very important for us as well as for pollination of different corps. So when you find the bees nearer to your property just make a call to bee removal company or expert of your area. They removes these bees with out hurting or killing them and preserved them in the best place. Nice to read your post and make comment on it.
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  21. haha that’s truly amazing I really hate bees and wasps and wanna get rid of them. Thanks for the post.
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  23. This is cool! You should read how to kill a wasp nest. I saw it awhile ago it may help us too. Thanks for the very informative and helpful post.

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