What Plants Keep Wasps and Bees Away

We all know that wasps and bees are essential for plants to be pollinated. Without pollination there will be no seeds and in some cases no fruit, as in the case of cucumbers and tomatoes.  But if you don’t want to have wasps and bees near your home, this article on what plants keep wasps and bees away will be very useful for you.

As I mentioned recently, wasps and bees are essential to all plants, but if you have small children in your garden or someone is allergic to wasps or bees you should keep them away. Fortunately, some plants will keep wasps and bees away without the need to eliminate these insects.

In my garden, in the section where I have my vegetable garden, I do not plant these plants that keep the wasps and bees away because I need them for pollination. However, near my home, I do plant several of these plants to keep wasps and bees away to avoid stings, especially from wasps. Continue reading to learn what plants keep wasps and bees away.

What Smell Do Wasps Hate the Most

There are several smells that wasps and bees hate, for example, they do not like the smell of clove, geranium, and lemongrass essential oils. Mix a few drops of these oils with water and dish soap, then apply the mixture with a spray bottle where you don’t want wasps and bees. Also, these insects detest the smell of peppermint essential oil as well as dislike the peppermint plant.

Another smell that wasps and bees hate is that of vinegar. Put some white vinegar in a container and place the container somewhere you don’t want wasps and bees. You can also mix water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it. This is another natural method.

The flowers of the cucumber plant attract bees and wasps, but cucumber slices keep wasps and bees away. The bitterness of acidic cucumber peels is not well-liked by bees and wasps.

Fortunately, some plants emanate scents that wasps and bees detest. Many of these plants are probably already present in your garden and just need to be placed correctly in the garden. Continue reading to discover the complete list of plants that keep wasps and bees away.

what smell do wasps hate the most
What Smell Do Wasps Hate the Most? Wasps hate some smells such as vinegar, geranium, citronella, and other plants.

What Plants Keep Wasps, Bees, and Hornets Away

I have compiled a list to let you know what plants keep wasps and bees away. It is best to place these plants where you don’t want wasps, bees, and hornets. You can plant these plants in hanging pots near where you normally observe wasps and bees. Alternatively, you can also place potted plants around your home to just keep these insects away from your home.

what plants keep wasps and bees away


Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) is an aromatic plant that belongs to the mint family. It is small, grows to a height of about 16” (40 cm), and has oval, serrated, dark green leaves. This aromatic plant is ideal to keep away wasps and bees. You can place pennyroyal in a hanging pot near a window.

pennyroyal keep wasps and bees away


Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is an aromatic herbaceous plant commonly used in Mediterranean and Asian cuisine. It has dark green, oval-shaped leaves and produces small white or pink flowers in summer. With basil, you will keep wasps and bees away from your home, and you will be able to prepare tasty dishes. This aromatic plant needs 6 to 8 hours of sunlight to develop properly. Learn more about how to plant basil in a pot.

potted basil keep away bees


Red geraniums keep wasps and bees away. You are probably wondering why red geraniums? First, bees can’t see the color red and second, they don’t like flowers with little pollen like geraniums. If you want to know more about what colors bees see, I recommend reading an article from the University of North Carolina. Geraniums also have a smell that is not to the liking of bees and wasps. Learn more about how to care for potted geraniums.

red geraniums keep wasps and bees away
Red geraniums are excellent for keeping wasps and bees away.


Eucalyptus is a tree native to Australia that has spread throughout the world due to its medicinal properties and its ability to adapt to different climates. This tree is drought tolerant and repels numerous insects, not only effective against wasps and bees. Eucalyptus is hardy in USDA Zones 8-11. I recommend reading our article on how to care for eucalyptus.

eucalyptus tree keep away bees hornets
The smell of eucalyptus is not liked by bees and wasps.


Wormwood is a herbaceous perennial plant characterized by its strong bitter taste and aroma that repels bees and wasps. I recommend planting wormwood in pots and not having it near other plants because it could also kill other plants. Place the wormwood in a place where it receives direct sunlight and with a well-drained substrate.

wormwood keep wasps and bees away


Mint (Mentha) is used to flavor sweet and savory dishes, as well as to prepare infusions and refreshing drinks. But mint is also excellent for keeping wasps and bees away from the home. Place mint in pots or hanging pots in a place in the home where you don’t want wasps and bees. If you plant mint in the garden, control its growth because it grows very fast.

potted mint keep away hornets


Peppermint (Mentha × piperita) is a variety of mint that is characterized by its fresh and spicy aroma, similar to mint. It is easy to grow in warm climates and adapts well to humid and sunny conditions. Having an aroma very similar to mint, peppermint is very good at keeping bees and wasps away.

peppermint keeps wasps away


Marigold is an annual plant characterized by its vibrant orange or bright yellow flowers. Marigolds are effective in keeping wasps away but not bees. Bees are attracted to marigolds. In addition, marigolds keep away various insects in the garden, so it is good to grow them next to vegetable plants. Marigold is hardy in USDA Zones 2-12. Learn more about how to grow marigolds.

marigold keep wasps and bees away

Pitcher Plants

The pitcher plant is a carnivorous plant species found mainly in tropical and subtropical regions. These plants attract insects with nectar and color, and once they enter the pitcher, they are unable to leave due to the slippery structure of the inner walls. Pitcher plants should be watered with distilled water or rainwater, it is a somewhat delicate plant, but effective against insects in general.

pitcher plant


Thyme is an aromatic and medicinal plant native to the Mediterranean, characterized by its small and aromatic leaves. It produces small pink, purple, or white flowers in summer. The strong smell of thyme repels wasps and other insects. The best way to use thyme to keep bees and wasps away is to let some leaves dry and then spread them around the home. You can easily grow thyme from seed.

thyme and herbs keep wasps and bees away


Lemongrass or citronella is famous for repelling mosquitoes, but it is also excellent for keeping away wasps and bees. Citronella can be grown in warm climates and is well adapted to humid and sunny conditions. Lemongrass is hardy in USDA Zones 9-10. There are different types of citronella that you can grow in your garden.

citronella or lemongrass keep wasps and bees away

Frequently Asked Questions About What Plants Keep Away Wasps and Bees

What Types of Plants Keep Wasps Away

Several plants keep wasps and bees away. The most common garden plants to keep wasps away are:

  • Pennyroyal
  • Basil
  • Geraniums
  • Eucalyptus
  • Peppermint
  • Wormwood
  • Thyme
  • Mint
  • Marigolds
  • Pitcher Plants
  • Lemongrass or Citronella

Do Mint Plants Keep Wasps Away?

Effectively, mint will keep away wasps and bees. Place the mint plant near the places you want to keep bees and wasps away.

Will Peppermint Plants Keep Wasps Away?

Peppermint plants are effective in keeping wasps away. Its aroma is very similar to mint and it is as effective as mint. A scientific study demonstrated that peppermint oil was effective against wasps.

Final Conclusions

If you found this article about what plants keep wasps and bees away share it to help others who have problems with wasps and bees. Also, if you know of another plant that is not on the list feel free to contact us, and we will gladly add it so that everyone can learn more about it.

About Julia Morgan

We are the Morgans, Henry, and Julia, both agronomists from the University of Michigan, where we met. We are experts in putting our hands in the soil and developing organic foods and improving production processes for decades. Likewise, we have worked for companies such as Mondelez International, BASF, Monsanto, etc. currently in our role as science writers for TheGardenStyle.com as well as advisors in promoting large scale food growing in urbanized areas. In this website, we share what we are most passionate about, gardening and farming. Enjoy and see real photos on our website. We hope that all our advice will be useful to you and that you will become an expert gardener.