Vinegar mixtures are harmful to bees. Not only does spraying a bee directly with vinegar kill the bee, but using vinegar-based weed killer disorients and drives away bees. Because bees are essential pollinators with declining numbers worldwide, you should avoid using vinegar spray on any plants or weeds in your garden. Instead, opt for a bee-friendly weed killer.
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Which Vinegar Kills Bees?
All forms of vinegar are harmful to bees. Not only white vinegar, but apple cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar, and horticultural vinegar are all extremely harmful to bee populations. If you have any vinegar in your kitchen cabinet, keep it there. Do not use vinegar in your garden. If you have a bee infestation that is dangerous to your family, call a professional exterminator who can remove or relocate the hive. An infestation large enough to pose a threat to people can’t be tackled with vinegar.
What Species of Bees Will Vinegar Kill?
Vinegar solutions are harmful to all species of bees. From honey bees, to gentle bumblebees, ground bees, and carpenter bees, vinegar is capable of killing each of these species. So-called “natural methods” of weed control that include vinegar actually decimate bee populations.
- Honey bees
- Bumble bees
- Ground bees
- Carpenter bees
- Sweat bees
A spray bottle with a vinegar solution is no better than a chemical herbicide like Roundup or Preen. It will kill bees but it may not be instant. The acetic acid will take a few minutes. If it’s sprayed on a hive, vinegar may have the effect of angering the bees instead of killing them quickly. Do not use vinegar as a substitute for true extermination or bee-relocation strategies.
5 Reasons to Never Use Vinegar Near Bees
A spray bottle full of vinegar and water might seem like a cure-all for the weeds in your garden, but vinegar should not be used in your lawn or garden. Here’s why you should never try to use vinegar to kill or drive off bees.
Vinegar Kills Bees
Vinegar is deadly to bees. The acetic acid in vinegar will burn the bee, killing it within minutes. This might seem like a positive if you’re scared of bees, but it’s truly not. Bees are very unlikely to sting unless their hive is directly threatened. In fact, most species of bees are completely harmless. Certain bee species, including some varieties of honey bees and mining bee, don’t have stingers at all. Additionally, carpenter bees are unlikely to sting because the males that protect the hive don’t have stingers. The bottom line is, bees should not be treated as pests.
Bees Can be Driven Off by Vinegar Smells
The scent of vinegar confuses bees. It masks the smell of flowers the bee colony relies on for food. So, if you’ve recently sprayed vinegar in your garden, you may make the local bees incapable of finding flowers that need pollination. Because vinegar confuses the bee’s sense of smell it can even get lost, wander off, and die. Spraying vinegar weed killer in your yard can disorient worker bees and cause an entire hive of bees to starve to death.
Bees are Essential Pollinators
Bees are not a nuisance—they are critical to our environment and food production. By traveling from flower to flower to collect pollen, bees pollinate flowers. This allows trees to produce fruit and ornamental flowers to produce seeds. Without bees and other pollinators, many of the fruits and vegetables in your garden won’t produce any food. So, it’s best to encourage bees in your garden. Even seemingly harmful bees, like carpenter bees, are useful pollinators.
Bees are in Danger
Declining bee populations worldwide are a serious cause for alarm. As bees die or are killed off by human interference, fewer plants are pollinated. This leads to crops failing because unpollinated plants produce no food. Using vinegar to kill bees only increases the risk to our environment. So, it’s never a good idea to use vinegar as a “natural repellent” to drive away bees or kill them.
Vinegar is a Poor Weed Killer
Vinegar-and-water mixtures are terrible at killing weeds permanently. Weed roots are not harmed by vinegar, so the weed will just regrow after you damage the leaves with your vinegar spray. If you want to get rid of weeds, use one of these bee-safe weed-killers. You’ll wipe out nasty weeds permanently and protect bees so they can pollinate your plants.
Can You Spray Bees With Vinegar?
You should never spray bees with a mixture including vinegar. All types of vinegar are deadly to bees. This may sound great if you’re afraid of bee stings, but killing bees is bad for your garden and the planet. The reasons to avoid using vinegar to spray bees or weeds are:
- Vinegar kills bees by burning them with acetic acid.
- Bees can be disoriented and driven off by the scent of vinegar.
- It’s necessary to have bees in order to pollinate your fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
- Bee populations are declining dangerously worldwide, which poses a threat to food production.
- Vinegar is a very ineffective weed killer.
Vinegar is great for cooking and cleaning around the house, but it should never be sprayed on plants outdoors. Doing so can drive off bees or kill them, which is not the best solution. If you are facing a serious bee infestation that poses a threat to your family, contact a professional exterminator to help solve the problem.