Bees are necessary to plants because of their pollination duties, while wasps are beneficial to a garden as they feed on pest insects. Neither bees nor wasps are repelled by most flowers and plants for these reasons. However, several herb varieties and red perennials help keep bees and wasps from unwanted areas, such as pools or children's play areas.
Red varieties of marigold are an option for keeping bees away. Marigolds are a common bedding plant that blooms throughout the summer. This pungent-smelling annual appears in numerous forms including simple daisy or pom pom shapes on short and bushy or tall and willowy stems. A hardy plant, marigolds perform well in many climates, although they require frequent watering during hot summer months. Mulch helps marigolds retain moisture. Plant marigold beds as borders around pools that repel bees.
Wormwood is one of the few wasp-repellent plants. Planting it as a border keeps wasps and other unwanted insects and animals out of your garden. Absinthe, a green, alcoholic beverage that is illegal in most countries, is made from the absinth-rich leaves of the wormwood plant. Wormwood's long, feathery leaves can either branch out or form a rounded, shrublike appearance growing to 12 inches high.
Geranium is a colorful perennial. Look for it in red hues for best results in repelling bees. Its oil is often used as mosquito repellent, either alone or as an ingredient in another type of bug spray. Its flower petals are single or double, and rounded and fuzzy, and grow on dark-green, basal leaves. Geraniums grow between 1 to 2-1/2 inches tall. They require moist, well-draining soil and full sun to thrive. Plant them in clusters around areas to deter bees, such as kiddie pool areas or sandboxes.
Additional Herb Repellents
Additional herbs that serve as insect repellents and may help keep wasps and bees from your yard include basil, mint and pennyroyal. Basil has green, medium-sized, oval-shaped leaves running down its green stems, while mint has darker green, purple or blue leaves in opposite pairs down the stems. Mint also repels ants while basil is repels flies and mosquitoes. Pennyroyal features rounded, bushy, purple flowers and small oval-shaped leaves running down brown stems. It deters wasps, chiggers, mosquitoes, fleas and ticks.