Will Marigolds Keep Bees Away?

Marigolds are often recommended as a natural way of repelling pests in gardens. However, a common myth suggests that they have the ability to ward off bees as well. This claim has caused significant controversy in the gardening community, with some people actively planting marigolds to keep their gardens bee-free, while others insisting that marigolds have nothing to do with bee behavior.

Bee populations have been declining rapidly over the years, and the role of pesticide use in this decline has come under increasing scrutiny. Many gardeners are seeking alternative ways to keep pests at bay. Hence, it is important to understand if marigolds are truly effective in repelling bees or if this is just another misconception in gardening lore. In this article, we delve into the science behind marigolds and bee behavior to answer the question: will marigolds keep bees away?

Quick Answer
No, marigolds will not keep bees away because bees are attracted to flowers for nectar and pollen. While some people believe that the strong scent of marigolds may repel some insects, bees are not likely to be affected by it. In fact, planting flowers such as marigolds can actually be beneficial for bees by providing them with a food source.

The Pest-Repelling Properties of Marigolds

Marigolds are a popular garden plant known for their vibrant orange and yellow flowers. Apart from their beautiful appearance, marigolds have also been touted as having pest-repelling properties. For centuries, people have believed that marigolds can help keep insects and pests away from their gardens.

Studies have shown that marigolds contain a naturally occurring chemical called pyrethrins, which acts as a natural insecticide. Furthermore, marigolds are also believed to have a strong odor that keeps pests at bay. While further research is needed to determine the extent of marigold’s pest-repelling abilities, experts suggest that planting marigolds alongside other vulnerable plants could be a beneficial organic pest control strategy. Whether you’re an avid gardener looking to keep pests at bay or someone who simply appreciates the beauty of marigolds, these flowers may offer more benefits than meets the eye.

Understanding the Relationship Between Bees and Marigolds

Marigolds are often touted as a natural repellent for bees, but is there any truth to this claim? Before we can answer that question, we need to understand the role bees play in pollinating marigolds and how marigolds affect bees.

Bees are crucial in the pollination of marigolds, as they transfer pollen from the male to the female flower parts. However, marigolds are not a primary source of food for bees and do not produce nectar. This means that bees are unlikely to be attracted to marigolds solely for their nutritional value. Instead, bees may visit marigolds for other reasons, such as seeking refuge or using them as a stepping stone to reach other flowers.

How to Plant Marigolds to Keep Bees at Bay

Marigolds are known to repel bees due to the pungent smell they give off. However, simply having marigolds in your garden is not enough to keep bees away. To successfully use marigolds to keep bees at bay, you will need to plant them strategically.

Firstly, it is important to plant marigolds away from your target plants. This is because marigolds have allelopathic properties, which means they release chemicals that can inhibit the growth of nearby plants. Secondly, you should plant marigolds in clusters, rather than sporadically throughout your garden. This will create a stronger scent barrier that can better repel bees. Additionally, it is recommended to plant marigolds in sunny areas with well-drained soil for optimal growth and scent release.

By planting marigolds in the right location and in clusters, you can successfully repel bees from your target plants without harming them. However, it should be noted that marigolds do not completely eliminate the presence of bees. For effective pest control, it is best to use a combination of natural repellents and traditional methods.

The Effects of Marigold on Other Pollinators

The use of marigolds in repelling bees is widely discussed, but the impact of these flowers on other pollinators often goes overlooked. While some species of bees may avoid marigolds due to their strong scent and taste, other important pollinators like butterflies, moths, and certain bee species are known to frequent these plants.

Studies suggest that marigolds may actually benefit these other pollinators, providing a source of nectar and pollen for them to feed on. In addition, marigolds may attract beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings, which can help control pests in surrounding plants. Therefore, gardeners should consider incorporating marigolds into their landscape not only for aesthetic purposes but also for their potential positive effects on other pollinators.

Debunking Common Misconceptions About Marigolds and Bees

Marigolds are often believed to repel bees due to their strong scent. However, this is a common misconception as bees are actually attracted to the flower’s bright colors, particularly shades of yellow and orange. In fact, marigolds are known to attract a wide range of pollinators, including honeybees, bumblebees, and butterflies.

Another misconception is that marigolds contain chemicals that are harmful to bees. While some marigold varieties have been found to contain compounds that provide natural insecticidal properties, these compounds are only harmful to certain insect species and are present in very small amounts. Therefore, marigolds do not pose a significant threat to bees, and can even provide a valuable source of nectar and pollen for these important pollinators.

Alternative Ways to Protect Your Garden from Bees

Despite their importance to our environment, bees can be a nuisance when it comes to gardening. While marigold plants have been touted as a natural deterrent for bees due to their strong scent, there are alternative ways to protect your garden without disrupting the ecology. Firstly, planting bee-friendly flowers away from your garden can divert bees away from your plants and allow them to pollinate other areas. These include native wildflowers such as goldenrod, asters, and sunflowers that attract bees and other pollinators.

Secondly, using natural insect repellents like citronella or peppermint can help keep bees away without harming them. These natural scents can be sprayed on plant leaves or surrounding areas to make bees uncomfortable. Additionally, covering vulnerable plants with netting or cheesecloth can protect them from bees while still allowing pollinators to access other plants in the garden. By utilizing these alternative methods, gardeners can protect their plants from bees while still supporting their important role in the ecosystem.

The Importance of Properly Balancing Pest Control and Pollinator Preservation.

Pollinators like bees are crucial to our ecosystem. Without them, the world would be a much less diverse and productive place. However, there is also a need for effective pest control to protect crops and gardens from damage. Finding a balance between these two needs is essential.

The use of pesticides can be harmful to pollinators. It is important to properly time pesticide applications and use only the amount needed to control pests. Additionally, choosing pesticides that are least toxic to bees and other pollinators is crucial. On the other hand, creating a pollinator-friendly environment, such as planting a variety of flowers, can help attract bees and other beneficial insects to your garden. By taking a thoughtful and informed approach to pest control, we can minimize harm to pollinators and preserve their important role in our ecosystem.


In conclusion, there is no evidence to support the claim that planting marigolds will keep bees away. Bees are attracted to the bright colors and sweet nectar of flowers, including marigolds. However, several other factors, such as the availability of food sources and overall bee populations in the area, can impact bee behavior.

While marigolds may not be effective at repelling bees, it is still important to consider the impact of pesticides and other harmful chemicals on bee populations. By choosing natural methods for pest control and planting a diverse range of bee-friendly flowers, we can support these important pollinators and ensure a healthy ecosystem for future generations.

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