There may be certain situations when individuals wish that they could do something to immediately eliminate an exposed group of bees. A swarm hanging in an unappreciative home owner’s yard or somewhere on a school grounds might be an example, as is an overturned truck load of beehives. The question arises as to what chemical can be sprayed to stop the bees and get them immediately under control, that is totally immobilized and/or dead.
The answer in many cases, especially in areas of Africanized bees, is “soapy water,” a detergent solution formulated with one cup of dishwashing detergent in a gallon of water. The solution can be applied using various sprayers. This works because detergent acts as a wetting agent. The result is less surface tension present in the solution being sprayed. Instead of beading and running off, the water sticks to the bees. This also prevents flying because the wings of the insect cannot get up to speed while soaked with water. Finally, the insects’ spiracles, or breathing holes designed to ward off or repel water, are entered by the “wetter” detergent water mixture. The bee can no longer breathe and suffocates. In essence, the technique is as effective as many others, including flame throwers, which are never recommended. See various examples on the World Wide Web.