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Does Citronella Repel Bees?

Updated July 19, 2017

Citronella oil is used to repel a variety of insects.

Bees

Although bees are very beneficial for gardens and the ecosystem at large, some people are allergic, and it can be useful to know how to repel them. However, there doesn't seem to be much indication that citronella is effective in repelling them.

Other Insects

Citronella repels mosquitoes, black flies, fleas and ticks, according to the EPA.

Use

Citronella oil can be applied topically and reapplied every 30 minutes to an hour, according to the EPA. It can also be burnt in candles. Some lotions also contain citronella.

Risks

According to the EPA, use of citronella is not harmful to animals or the environment. Citronella is not toxic, and the only adverse effect on humans appears to be skin irritation.

Alternatives

Dr. Myles H. Bader, the author of "1001 All-Natural Secrets to Pest Control," recommends using hairspray to combat bees and wasps. According to Bader, the hairspray will coat their wings and prevent them, temporarily, from flying. This should give you time to get away. If there is a hive in your yard that you want removed, it's best to contact a professional.

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About the Author

Joseph Slama received a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Colorado in Boulder. He lives in New York City, where he is pursuing a Master's degree at City College.