Why do bees follow me all the time?

chueh(7B)August 12, 2007

Hi,

Every time when I am in the garden, the yellow bees fly around me. I don't bother them. Even when I am watering, I try not to water the plants that the bees are on. I even put the herbal insect repellent on, the bees still circle around me. I am scared and run all the time.

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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Are these bees or wasps? The only reason bees would follow you around is if you looked and smelled like a flower so any kind of scent, perfume and soaps, should not be used or applied before going out to work in the garden.
The Yellow Jackets, a wasp that many people mistake for a bee, is an aggressive, albeit beneficial, insect that can be a real pest because if they feel the least bit threatened they could attack.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 7:53AM
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chueh(7B)

Thank you very much

I saw bumble bees, yellow jackets, and other thinner wasps in the garden. Usually, the ones that follow me are bumble bees. I just don't understand why they follow me, because I never wear perfume, take shower, or put anything on me. That's why I use herbal insect repellent which contain oils of citronella, mint, and etc..... Still, they follow me when I use the essential oil... Very strange!!!!!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 3:53PM
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Judy_B_ON(Ontario 5B)

Bumblebees never bother me, they spend all their time on the flowers including the mint.

So maybe the herbal insect repellant is useful to repel mosquitos but attracts bees???

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 10:15PM
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debg

I had that same problem - even had one chase me thru a large store one time!

Now I use a piece of eucalyptus branch that I just stick in my hair or behind my ear. Works wonders. I buy a bunch from the store and stick them in a vase until I want one to use.

Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 3:15PM
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chueh(7B)

thank you all. I will try eucalyptus..

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 8:28PM
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dinajean(upstate SC -Zone 7b)

I had bumble bees at the beginning of the summer following me. Actually, they are very nosey. One was following me and I threw a stick in the opposite direction and it chased the stick and then came flying back to me. It was rather funny and cute.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2007 at 6:58AM
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mandyjane(9)

Bumblebees are earth healers, Very curious, loving, and at most can sense energy. They probably sense you tend their garden and follow you due to your positive energy. They are amazing, and very intelligent creatures and do no harm unless threatened... therefore ... DONT SWAT. They come close to faces, bodies, hands to explore what is around them. Plus they aren't very direct flyers unless going flower to flower (clumsy little guys) so just say Hello next time... leave some sugar water in a feeder, you'll get some hummingbirds too! Have a beautiful day!!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 12:18PM
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tcuevas1600_yahoo_com

hey when i was on my bike a a bumble bee was following me for some reson and i tried to get away but it followed me until i reached my house. why was it followed me .i don't were perfume and i didnt take a shower that day. also o what bee was it. it was black and bigger than a regular bee

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 5:35PM
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jackieb_comcast_net

I was putting down a mixture of fish emulsion, seaweed and other nasty smelling but beneficial stuff in my veggie garden today and I was almost finished when suddenly a big, black buzzing thing dive bombed me. Scared me to death! I recently had knee surgery for a torn meniscus and couldn't run very fast but I took off anyway. This thing followed me forever! I would look back and there it was. I kept screaming for my husband but he was weedeating with earprotectors on so couldn't hear me. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Now I'm afraid to go back to the garden. Do you think the concoction I was putting down got the bee riled up? I'm going to defintely get some eucalyptus and put it in my hat.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 10:31PM
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amyzan

I found this thread after a little wonky incident with a bumble bee tonight. (I'm pretty sure it was a bumble bee, it was rather chunky and black.)

I was out on my usual walk, when a bumble bee curiously circled around me. Normally, I get a slight bit edgy (with bees in general), but I try to just let the curiosity run it's course and keep on walking. In times passed, the bee will usually wander off somewhere.

Well not tonight. The bee circled, circled and circled again. Out of reflex, I got a little jumpy and waved my arms at it to deter it. Well, I think that probably wasn't smart (after more reading online), and the bee just kept on circling, faster.

So then I bolted into a run and could here the darned thing behind me, and it just wouldn't go away! I was feeling embarrassed, running past the neighbors house at full speed in my skirt while this bee was STILL right behind me. It managed to circle a couple more times while I was at my full run. I pulled the hood of my thin 'hoodie' over my hair and kept running.

Fortunately the house wasn't too far, and I could STILL hear that thing behind me all the way until probably 10 feet before the door. I didn't stop to check, I just whipped that door open and threw myself inside and slammed it shut.

I was gasping for air and looking out the window of the door and there was no bee.

I'm not exactly sure what happened. Do you think the bee would have stung me if I hadn't kept running?

What should I do next time? I plan on walking as usual tomorrow.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 11:53PM
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ifemayo1

Are you vegetarian or vegan?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 8:55AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

back in the day.. hairspray was a magnet ...

my theory is.. scent ...

the worse is women who put on perfume... and come visit the garden.. what do they expect.. they smell like flowers... crikey ..

its either your shampoo.. conditioner.. deodorant ... laundry detergent or softener sheets ....

i highly doubt its personal ....

ken

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 10:05AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I can't say I've ever had a Bumble Bee follow me, in 30+ years in the garden. I just love bumble bees, cute, fuzzy and always docile in my experience. So I have no idea why they were a problem for some people.

I can say that I usually have a fair amount of confidence around bees and will sometimes even deadhead when there are a lot of bees in the bed among the flowers I'm deadheading. I have to purposely focus my attention on them, because I'm tuning them out most of the time I guess.

Yellow jackets and wasps on the other hand, I find very aggressive at times. I actively try to avoid them if there is more than just a stray one here and there. I'm careful about watering around them, because I read somewhere that they are sensitive to sounds and vibrations, like from a lawn mower, etc. This fall there have been more than usual yellow jackets. When I have filled up the watering can, all of a sudden, I've seen a few buzz over to the can. And I was mixing fish emulsion and watering a few plants with it and they were very interested in flying around the area I just poured the fertilizer. I thought that was odd. I know that they are very attracted to sugar but I didn't think there was sugar in Fish Emulsion. Maybe there is?

Anyway, if a yellow jacket flies close to me intentionally, I usually can't help but react. I will turn in a circle, like a slow pivot, so the back of my head is facing them, rather than my face, because that makes me less nervous. Then I slowly walk in the opposite direction without lifting my arms or making any sudden noises or movement. I won't even turn my head to look back to see where they are. I understand that flailing your arms is the worst thing to do, or swatting at them. Running can actually get them chasing you. If there is a swarm of them after you though, I don't know how you could NOT run!

The thing I worry about though is running into a ground nest of bees. My brother had that happen when he was mowing the lawn when we were kids and it wasn't pretty. This year I've been thinking more about that, because I have seen more yellow jackets this year and just this week, I've seen them flying close to the ground and along some of my rock edges and I wonder if they are looking for a place to build a nest. So I'm trying to remember when I go out to be on the lookout for that.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 1:01PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

prariemoon, yellowjackets: they aren't nest building this time of year. Queens will look for a place to overwinter alone, then she will chose a site for a nest next Spring. The males and workers leave, mate, die, and the nests aren't reused from year to year.

They are interested in protein as well as sugar, feeding on foods rich in sugars and carbohydrates like nectar and fruit. Also foods high in protein, insects, fish, meat and can be more aggressive when food supplies begin to get more scarce with declining weather, that's the interest in your 'fragrant' fish emulsion.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 2:18PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Morz8, that is great to know! Thanks. So I don't have to worry about finding any nests until next spring. And now I know why they found my fish emulsion interesting. Well, I found it interesting enough to do a search about yellow jackets because I really don't know anything about them. Looks like I have lots of potential places for them to build a nest, so now I will be better prepared to be on the look out. I just saw that they build their nests from wood fiber that they chew into a pulp. Aha! That is why I saw them all over my wooden raised vegetable beds last spring!

I also see on the Gardener's Supply website, that they recommend that if you are stung by a yellow jacket, you should run as fast as you can and get away from them, because they mark you with a scent that will work as a target for other yellow jackets.

This has been interesting. I'm going to have to pay more attention next year, to which bees and wasps are visiting my garden and if there are any nests around somewhere.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 5:05PM
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susanzone5(z5NY)

Bees follow me when I wear a floral patterned shirt or the color yellow. I also have a floral sunhat which I no longer can wear.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 6:07PM
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Leafhead

Paper wasps and yellowjackets can be a frustration to the Butterfly Gardener as well, taking caterpillars and pupae back to feed their larvae. They also eat lots of pests as well. They, as well as honeybees and Bumblebees will sting if their nest is threatened or approached.
Most bees and wasps, however, esp the solitary ones, do not sting or defend their nests.
Some wasps, such as the Digger Wasps or Katydid Killers (Sphex), look fierce with their size, but are really passive and are only interested in nectar and katydids to feed their young.
Many other wasps destroy spiders, caterpillars and beetle grubs by parasitizing their hosts (think Ripley in Aliens), thereby making them valuable allies in the garden.
All solitary bees are essentially pollinators and do not become aggressive.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 2:46AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I can't help but wonder why wasps keep trying to make a nest in the canopy over our front door, if they don't want anyone approaching their nests. There's traffic there all the time and we end up having to knock them down when the nests are pretty small.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 3:25AM
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Leafhead

That's the trouble c Paper Wasps; they are unafraid of people and traffic. Canopies are perfect nesting sites; they provide shelter from the weather and have easy access to the great outdoors.
Your approach is correct, policing the area periodically and hosing off small nests before they become big ones. Sooner or later, they'll move on to a more favorable location, hopefully out of the way of people and pets.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 1:21PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Yes, they always move on but start over again the next spring. :-)

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 4:37PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

A few years ago, I was sitting outside on a nice afternoon reading a book. A paper wasp landed on the book, recognized it as a building source and began working the edge of the pages while I held the book in my hands. It made funny little sounds as it worked. Every few seconds it flew off to whereever it's nest was and returned a couple of minutes later to gather more construction material.

That was one well-read wasp!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 5:53PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

no.. thats one reader with gut of steel .. lol ...

i might allow it once .... but i dont know if i could sit there while it repeatedly did such.. without wetting myself.. lol

ken

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 9:25AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Lol, Ken. Wasps and hornets make me nervous, but this insect was so clearly not interested in me....and so clever at its job that I forgot to be scared. I learned the same thing with bees many years ago. I'll nudge bees away from flowers that I'm picking. I pretty much lost my fear of insects ages ago.

Now, Yellow Jackets are something else, lol.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 7:46AM
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