We’ve had two crazy experiences with Lemon Eucalyptus (eucalyptus citriodora), involving bees. Yes, it is an oil the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends as an insect repellant for mosquitoes. We’ve found Lemon Teatree (leptospermum petersonii), to be much MORE effective, by the way…we do have a tiny amount of the Euc. Cit. in our Skeeter Beater products, but the main component is the Lemon Teatree.
Last summer I sprayed around my front door on the porch with Lemon Eucalyptus, distilled water, and a tiny bit of alcohol from a spritzer to keep mosquitoes and flies away. This was on a Saturday morning. I was inside for maybe 4 hours and when I opened my front door I was surprised to see it filled with numerous wood bees, which had gotten in between the screen door and my front door. I closed it quickly, went out the back and got the hose to get rid of them. A few still hung around, so the next day I literally mopped with soapy water and wiped down the areas where I had sprayed previously. The bees finally went away. I talked to Marge about it and there was no other reason for the bees to suddenly appear and swarm other than the Lemon Eucalyptus which surprised us! Note to self: Never ever spray Euc. Cit. on the porch again.
Fast forward to last weekend. I filled an aromastone in my laundry room with Lemon Eucalyptus and shut the door so it could diffuse and aid with dampness, etc. On Sunday morning I opened the door and found…yes, a honey bee! It was only one but why was he in my house? My only explanation is once again the Lemon Eucalyptus. I’ve never seen a bee in my laundry room in sixteen years.
So I did some research and found that the Lemon Eucalyptus tree in Australia is known for attracting bees. Interestingly, I’ve also now read that some of the Cymbopogon oils (Lemongrass), which are reputed to repel mosquitoes, are utilized to “lure” bees.
I am only sharing my personal experiences here regarding Lemon Eucalyptus, but I would be cautious using it outside, particularly in the Spring and Summer, and even more so if you are highly sensitive or reactive to bee stings of any kind. It is wonderful for mildew and mold and should be component for any blend of that type alongside Tea Tree.
The bee factor reminds me of a conversation Marge and I had once a few years ago upon hearing about a company promoting Catnip as an insect repellant. Since many of our clients who purchase Skeeter Beater take safari adventures, we imagined lions and other big cats being drawn to the scent of Catnip Essential Oil. (We do not offer it by the way, as we as its primary use is as a mosquito repellant. We find our SkeeterBeater to be more effective.) Can’t you hear the conversation from deep in the jungle? “I thought this stuff repelled insects.” “Yes, but it attracts lions and cats.” “Oh, I think we have a problem then.” (Loud Roar!)
As always, we are keeping safety at the forefront and here’s hoping you have a safe and enjoyable summer, free of bees and other “critters.”