What Are Ground Bees

04/22/2015


Stinging Insects   

More than likely, during the springtime while working in the yard, you have noticed bees flying low to the ground. If you watch very closely, you may notice them entering burrows or holes in the yard. While they could be bumblebees or yellow jackets, chances are very good that ground bees have taken up residence on your property.

When the subject of bees comes up for discussion, most people think of active, swarming beehives and honey production. However, there are approximately 20,000 species of bees and the surprising fact is that 70% of them nest underground. Of all the ground bees, the more common are bumblebees, cellophane bees, digger or mining bees and sweat bees.

There are several interesting facts about these ground-nesting digger type bees. First of all, ground bees are very beneficial insects that perform the important service of pollinating your plants. Many of these species are solitary with every individual female building her own nest. Oddly enough, these solitary bees can be quite gregarious with sometimes several hundred females building their nests next to each other. This usually takes place in areas where there is loose, dry soil and the grass very thin in places.

Although the bumblebee can be quite aggressive, most of these solitary ground bees are anything but aggressive. The female does have a stinger but will not attempt to sting people unless threatened. The male, who is usually seen hovering around the nest opening, is not even equipped with a stinger. Not only are they not a threat, the ground bee serves a very important roll in providing very helpful ecological services including pollination. Many species of ground bees with their pollinating services are quite necessary in the production of various spring crops such as apples, blueberries and cherries.

Realizing the ecological value of ground bees, and their non-threatening characteristic, the preferable choice is to leave them alone. The time frame of their activity is limited to spring mating season and then they seem to disappear. Rarely do they interrupt your outdoor activities. However, if you desire to evict ground bees, they can usually be controlled with non-toxic methods. The ground bee usually seeks loose dry soil in which to nest. They will make every attempt to avoid wet areas. One simple way to drive them off your property is to soak or flood the area where you see their nests. Saturate the ground thoroughly with water once a week and they will quickly relocate to a drier location. Another way to discourage ground bees is to develop your lawn to the extent that your grass is a healthy, thick covering. This makes burrowing much more difficult and the ground bee will seek more compatible soil.

For more information on ground bees or how to control other types of stinging insects such as yellow jackets and wasps, give American Pest a call or click here. Serving Montgomery County, MD since 1925, our pest control experts are ready to help.






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