We all know that bees are important to the environment, and our own food production. But, their visits to your balcony can still be stressful. Especially if you have a bee sting allergy or are afraid of being stung, discouraging bees from spending time on your balcony is important. How can you keep the little guys away without doing them or their hives any harm? Here are some solutions.

1. Remove Dormant Hives

Bees are attracted to the scent of other bees and dormant hives will draw them in quickly. Have professionals remove old hives from your balcony area or from other parts of the building and bee activity will decline sharply.

2. Limit Food Sources for Bees

Bees are attracted to the look and smell of many flowers, especially those that produce a lot of scent or are native to the area. You should choose less showy flowers that don’t have as strong a smell to reduce bee activity. It is especially important not to become a reliable source of pollen throughout the year. That means it is better to use many short-blooming flowers than have a plant that blooms for months on end that bees know they can return to.

You can also keep bees from flying near you if you have the flowers further from you. If you choose balcony railing flower boxes, you should hang them on the outside of the railing instead of the inside. These few inches can keep bees a bit further away from you and make you more comfortable.

3. Avoid Eating Outside

Bees and hornets are both attracted to human food, although hornets are more motivated by it than bees. If you can, avoid eating out on your balcony. If you do, clean up leftover foods quickly when you’re done. Also, use drink containers with lids that bees and hornets cannot get into.

4. Remove Potential Bee Shelter

Every so often, a new queen will be born in a hive, and she will leave and look for a new place to start a hive. Removing potential spots before she shows up can help you avoid a great deal of bee activity in the future. Empty flowerpots, old wood, fabrics and fibers may all serve as potential hosts for the queen.

5. Keep Your Soil Wet

Bees do not like to get wet. It can be a challenge in our environment, but if you can keep your soil moist, you can discourage ground nesting bees from taking up residence in your flower pots and balcony flower beds.

While keeping the soil wet is important, it is not wise to have sources of water out. Even small puddles can be sources of water for bees and attract them to your space.

6. Reduce Floral Scents and Colors

Don’t put too much stock in the advice you read online about using mints and strong smells to dissuade bees. They will be curious about most smells, including ones that are not exactly floral. Its better to reduce overall smells on your balcony than gamble on one scent.

What about avoiding colors? Bees like the color yellow most of all. They cannot see red, but some red flowers appear blue to them, which they like too. Avoid brightly colored flowers, at least those that are real.