If a bee is circling around me, how can I make it go away, without killing her (including letting her sting me)?

Today it happened (it wasn't the first time), and the bee was around for 10 minutes until I gave up and just walked slowly away (I was sitting on the grass).

The point is how to make bees peacefully go away, and not for me not being there.

2 Answers 2


I disagree with the advice given by @Stan. I have a tried-and-tested technique with bees and wasps which I have been using with complete success for many years.

When one of them is buzzing around I DO use my hands to ward them off, but, where I agree with Stan is that you should not do it agressively. The insect must not feel the need to defend itself but you are trying to "guide" it away in the gentlest way possible. It helps to remember that these creatures live in a world where things move around them all the time due to wind, or maybe the flicking tail of a cow. They are not prediposed to assume that a moving hand is intent on aggression.

If you have something sweet like a fruit drink or ice-lolly, they will be trying to get to that. I found that by guiding them away from it no more than FOUR times (almost always THREE times) they seem to sense that this snack is not worth the effort and they move on.

Remember, to sting you, these creatures need to land on you and deploy their stinger in a particular way. You will easily be able to kill it, or, my preference, flick it off you before it can hurt you. Really, their stinging mechanism is no danger at all unless you aren't aware they have already landed on you and they then feel threatened because you've done something like scratched the area or sat on them.

Using this trick, not only do I have a 100% success rate at defending myself and my family, I have regularly stepped-in in public places where a person (usually a young mother) is in a total panic due to an insect, and managed to restore the situation without bloodshed on either side. I've never had to let an insect taste me or my ice-cream. I don't have to worry about what scented products I use.

It's important to add that I live in the UK where most things are NOT trying to kill you on a daily basis. I wouldn't like to guarantee this in a country like Australia where, as Terry Pratchett put it, the only harmless wildlife is "Some of the sheep".

  • Actually, bees can deploy their stinger almost instantaneously. Being a part-time amateur beekeeper myself some years ago, I saw that many times and felt it on my own hide. Not sure if they can sting without even landing, but they certainly can do it without any delay after landing. They are usually not interested in stinging you, though, unless you try hard to provoke them.
    – Headcrab
    Commented May 17, 2018 at 1:32
  • @Headcrab I defer to your expertise then, thank you for the correction. I'm basing that claim on a few bits of "circumstancial evidence" like seeing video of the sting process and this odd bobbing movement they seem to perform. Also, I didn't think had need to use the sting in "air-to-air combat". In my experience, even wasps are far more reluctant to sting than most people assume. My guess is that it must be quite costly for them?
    – Lefty
    Commented May 17, 2018 at 6:15
  • There's just absolutely nothing they may need from you, except going away from their hive/nest. Bees sometimes invade other hives and use their stingers to fight each other, otherwise it's just to defend their own hive. Wasps are predatory and use their stingers to kill their prey - IIRC, some species can even prey on small vertebrates, such as mice or lizards, but not something as huge as humans.
    – Headcrab
    Commented May 17, 2018 at 7:13
  • Thanks Lefty! I will try to wave gently towards them and see how they react. Until now I was trying to move very slowly and not wave hands, to not frighten them accidentally. Commented May 23, 2018 at 15:52
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    @arieljannai The trick is to place your hand between the bee/wasp and the object of their desire (ice-cream/drink/child/your body) and gently "push" them away. They will side-step your defences and try again - but you just repeat until they realise their effort is being wasted. They won't sting you just for doing this.
    – Lefty
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 20:03

Bees are defensive by nature and will not attack unless provoked or threatened. They are intelligent and curious. If you have nothing sweet to offer (or pollen), they'll get bored and move on. They have a life.

If they do get too close for comfort, try to remain calm and not to loose your cool.

Try to keep still and close your eyes if they hover close to your face. They might even land to "taste" your sweat or whatever soap remains on your skin. Stay calm. They have no reason to bite.

Avoid waving your hands, arms, or objects to swat the bee. The little guy will interpret your moves as aggressive and a threat which is true after all.

You smell marvelous. Well, of course you do. That's what draws insects to you; so, avoid wearing cologne, scented deodorant, or lotions which they find attractive.

When you get some space, walk slowly away.

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    Thanks Stan, but unfortunately it's more or less what I'm doing right now, and I want them to just fly to another direction and not for me not sitting outside on the grass - it's not about the stinging as it's about to just make her go away so I won't have to keep an eye and not move accidentally in a frightening way for them. Commented May 23, 2018 at 15:49
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    @arieljannai It must be a lovely place to sit. You both want to be there at the same time. Sharing is sometimes inconvenient. If you had arrived just a little bit later, she could have gotten her food before you came and sat on it. Maybe that's why she is patiently waiting for you to leave. ; )
    – Stan
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 19:40
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    It's the lawn areas of the university, indeed lovely 😄 Commented May 24, 2018 at 10:20

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