This is how big bees are according to my daughter.

Bees are one of our more challenging guests at Schlitterbahn. Attracted by our lush landscaping, bees then get hooked on the sweet syrup from discarded sodas and other sweet drinks. Unlike our other guests in the park, bees are most unwelcome by many of our littlest tubers.

Given that we adore our greenscapes at our parks, bees are going to be part of the territory. And while we’ve had to move a colony or two, in general, bees are here to stay.

In our experience, most bees leave once they determine you are nectar free and capable of swatting them. A gentle wave is all it takes. But if you have a deep-seated fear of bees, or worse, an allergy, you may need a more proactive strategy. The good news is you can avoid being a bee magnet.

20130711-IMG_8899Here are a few tips:

  1. Bees don’t like mint. They absolutely hate peppermint oil. You can put a bit of peppermint oil or lemongrass essential oil in a zip-lock bag and toss in a washcloth. Then if bees are bugging you, rub the oil over you. You’ll smell a little sweeter than usual, but you will be in the no fly zone for bees. Thanks to Step in 2 My Green World for this tip – they have more organic recipes for bee repellent here.
  2. Vanilla to the rescue. Vanilla mixed with water (one TB vanilla to one cup water) works too. We use this solution in our house because it’s pretty effective for mosquitos too. And if that doesn’t work (it usually does), we’ll have to take the advice of my friend and contact a pest control company, similar to this one in Illinois ( to get rid of them for us because no one likes to live in a house that is infested by bees.
  3. Oil it up! Baby oil is another organic option for keeping bees at bay. Of course that does tend to make kids slippery, so use sparingly.
  4. Burt’s Bees knows bees. Given all their work with bees, it makes sense that this company would also have a product designed to keep bees away.
  5. Unscented insect repellent. Off the shelf insect repellents can be effective, but be sure to use an unscented one. Sometimes you’ll actually end up ATTRACTING bees instead of sending them away.
  6. Beware the sweet smell of some sunscreens. Some of our favorite sunscreens are sweet to smell, and that definitely gets the attention of a bee looking for an easy nectar score. Consider a two in one option – several companies combine sunscreen and repellent.

We appreciate all the hard work our park bees take on to ensure the flowers continue to look their best. It’s our plan to continue to co-exist with them, but to avoid bee and guest misunderstandings.