Keeping an outdoor space bee-free
September 3, 2004 7:47 PM   Subscribe

How do we keep the Bees away?
We are having an outdoor party this weekend and I am sure the Bees will be bad. What can we do to keep them away? I have heard that placing a bowl of honey nearby, but far enough from the crowd, works. Anyone try this? Any other options?
posted by internal to Pets & Animals (12 answers total)
Get a can of VERY FISH CATFOOD (check the ingredients) and dab it all around your perimeter...well away from where you'll be eating but within eye-distance.

We have friends who are allergic to bees [yes, a bee-sting could kill them] and we have friends who are phobic about both bees and "bees." None of them could sit on our porch and enjoy a summer's picnic....

So when we noticed that the bees and "bees" swarmed the leftover fish catfood we put on the porch for Stubby, the stray, we experimented...once with dabs of cat tuna, once with dabs of cat sardine. Both times the porch was clear of bees and "bees"---to the total comfort of our allergic and phobic friends.

Two times apparently working doesn't make our observation real. Hey, two times doesn't even make something a good superstition! But you might as well try it, if the honey thing doesn't work for you

If this gets to you in time for your party, could you let us know if the VERY FISH catfood trick works in your area too?

Oh, yeah, and I'd love to know if the VERY FISH catfood trick works for anybody else in the NY-NJ area.

Thanks, Janet
posted by realjanetkagan at 10:13 PM on September 3, 2004

I know what bees are, but what are "bees"?

In my family, we've always used a pitcher of sugar water to attract bees away from the picnic table. It doesn't seem to keep all bees away, but it distracts most of them. I suppose honey would do the same thing.
posted by majick at 10:59 PM on September 3, 2004

"bees" are.... hornets? middle aged men in bee costumes?

ive used sugar water before and, like majick says, it distracted most of them.
posted by rhapsodie at 11:24 PM on September 3, 2004

I've heard that a hunk of meat tossed into the bushes is more interesting to wasps than whatever you're picnicking on. Dunno whether bees feel the same way. Are people who are allergic to bees, also allergic to wasp stings?
posted by spacewrench at 12:15 AM on September 4, 2004

You should put out your "bee bait" (I've heard about hanging a sausage from a tree, and putting out plates of food with sweet barbeque sauce or maple syrup) a little before the party, as the bees will communicate the location of the food to each other. Probably you should include some of whatever you are serving that might be attractive to them, so that they aren't lured by a "different" scent coming from where you are.

Use lidded cups for sweet beverages; keep your food in lidded containers; make sure the trashcan is kept covered; don't use bright colors or floral prints for your tablecloth or napkins; wear light-colored clothing; don't wear cologne. I've seen tips that said sprigs of mint will on the table will keep bees away from it.

Have fun! And let us know how it goes.
posted by taz at 12:21 AM on September 4, 2004

I bet the "bees" aren't bees but wasps, specifically yellowjackets, which, as the link shows, are common in your state. Around here (NE), they tend to become a nuisance this time of year as the nests get huge and the wasps are heavily foraging to provide for next year's queens. Bees are amber-colored (honeybees), or black and yellow and rotund (bumblebees) and feed almost exclusively on flower nectar. Both are noticeably fuzzy. Yellowjackets are bright yellow with a little black and nearly fuzzless. They will eat almost anything and are especially attracted to meats and sweets and stinky things. You may also see them chewing at old wood as they use wood fiber to make the paper for their nests.

I also bet this was more entomology information than you wanted.
posted by TimeFactor at 6:38 AM on September 4, 2004

camping wisdom says half a can of beer hanging away from where u want them. they love it, get drunk and drown.
posted by ethylene at 7:05 AM on September 4, 2004

At a marina recently, I learned this trick: a brown paper bag (like, lunch sack sized, but I guess grocery bag size would do...) "inflated" with air like a balloon and then tied off. The bags were hung on the dock's posts with plain ol' string. The theory, as explained to me by the locals, is that the bags resemble bee nests and "foreign" bees won't go near 'em. Sound crazy? Yup. Worked? Oddly enough, yes it did. YMMV, of course, but it might be worth a try before you go throwing big hunks of uncooked meat around your yard...
posted by JollyWanker at 7:58 AM on September 4, 2004 [1 favorite]

Get them to start writing poetry. They become completely (and wonderfully) obsessed with it, or at least the wacky ones do.
posted by homunculus at 6:04 PM on September 4, 2004

So, do bees eat meat?
I'm scared now.
posted by dong_resin at 8:26 PM on September 4, 2004

dong, are you OK? How many fingers am I holding up?

And also, is there a pretendjanetkagan?

Anyway, this info has all been helpful to me too, though I'm still not clear whether, as I suspect, "bees" = "yellowjackets."
posted by soyjoy at 10:23 PM on September 4, 2004

Response by poster: Well, the party was our now 3 yr. old's birthday party. Thanks for everyone's help. The blown up paper bags appear to have worked! I hung two of them in our back yard about 30 mins. before the party started and I only saw 3 bees (when I say "bees" I mean honey bees, not yellow jackets or wasps) for the next 4 hours. They never stayed long when they did venture around us. We had open containers of Coke, Ice Tea, Beer, cake and ice cream with no problems. Thanks for the tip JollyWanker!
posted by internal at 6:57 PM on September 5, 2004

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