A female mining bee in the entrance to her nest.

How To Get Rid Of Ground Nesting Bees

Excerpted from: Brody Brothers

When it comes to ground nesting bees, you might be surprised if you stumble upon a nest in your yard. A staggering 70% of bee species nest underground.

  The Culprits

The culprits include Bumblebees, Mining Bees, Carpenter Bees and the Cellophane Bees. These native bees burrow into the ground to nest. Unlike honey bees, ground bees are solitary and do not live in colonies.

Another culprit is the Bumble Bee however, they are one of the few species of ground nesting bees that live in colonies. They often nest in large holes that are already made by a small animal.

Female ground nesting bees go underground to lay their eggs inside tunnels in the ground. You can easily identify a ground bee nest. It’s a small pile of dirt with a large hole in the center. This is where the female tunnels go inside to lay eggs.

These eggs hatch underground and spend wintertime underground. In the summer, they come back out and the females begin digging tunnels again to lay eggs.

Before Removing Ground Nesting Bees

Before you decide to get rid of ground nesting bees you may want to consider the large benefit they provide both to your flowing plants and to agriculture. There pollination efforts are critically important to our ecology.

Additionaly, although many of the ground nesting bees can sting, they are by nature very gentle and unlikely to sting unless they are rounghly handled.

Many solitary bees are very tiny — smaller than a grain of rice — and therefore too small to sting.

  Benefits Of Ground Nesting Bees

Unlike social bees and wasps, they are not aggressive. Ground bees generally won’t bother you if you don’t bother them. Females have stingers but won’t sting you unless they feel threatened.

You will often see male ground bees out hovering around the underground nests. The males are not equipped to sting or hurt you. The worst they will do to you is to chase you away.

Most important they are incredibly important pollinators.

  Is Killing The Best Method To Get Rid of Ground Nesting Bees?

It's really not necessary to kill ground nesting bees. These are generally docile bees in comparison to honey bees. Killing them can be a threat to the ecosystem over time.

Instead of killing ground nesting bees, you can also try some of the following advice.

  How To Get Rid Of Ground Nesting Bees

Mining bee nest graphic.
Structure of a
Mining Bee nest

1. Cover Nesting Holes

This strategy will prevent the bees from tunneling back inside to lay eggs. Once the bees realize they can’t get back into their nest, they will likely disappear and find a new place to burrow. To block the underground nests, you can put items on top of the holes such as bricks.

2. Wet The Soil

Ground bees burrow their nests in dry soil. The act of watering your lawn can be enough to send the bees elsewhere. You may have to try watering multiple times in order for this method to be effective. Consider using a sprinkler so you don’t have to come in close contact with the holes.

3. Sprinkle Cinnamon

This spice is a put-off to bees and can help you get rid of ground bees when you’re in a pinch. The idea is to sprinkle cinnamon on the holes of the nest. You will need to do this each day for at least one week for it to take effect.

4. Vinegar Spray

Mixing a spray bottle with equal parts of water and vinegar can help to get rid of ground bees. One cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of water can serve as your solution in the spray bottle.

  A Few Words Of Caution

  The use of chemicals and pesticides is ill-advised. It’s harmful to children, pets, and the soil.

  Since the DIY methods above can ultimately aggravate the bees, you’ll want to try these suggestions at night when the bees are asleep. Remember that the female can sting if provoked. Males won’t sting you, but they can swarm and chase you.

  Do not attempt these approaches if you have a bee allergy. The female stings and it can result in a severe allergic reaction.

Further Information:

 Wisconsin Bee Identification Guide
 Spring Wild Bees of Wisconsin
 Bumble Bees of Wisconsin
 Wild Native Bee Nest Boxes

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