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FEBRUARY 18 2022 /
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.
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.
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.
They leave little two-inch mounds of soil where they begin to dig their nests underground. Ground bees can be mistaken for bumblebees or wasps because bumblebees and wasps will also build their nests underground.
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, but the ground bee also serves a very important role in providing very helpful ecological services including pollination.
Many species of ground bees with their pollinating services are quite necessary for the production of various spring crops such as apples, blueberries, and cherries.
While ground bees are not dangerous or aggressive, other burrowing insects like yellow jackets are, making accurate identification paramount to your well-being.
The mining bee is slightly smaller than the popular honeybee.
The body of the mining bee is usually dark-colored with light brown or dull yellow hairs forming a stripe pattern. The very aggressive, stinging yellow jacket is larger and in greater numbers than the ground bee.
The yellow jacket gets its name in part due to its bright yellow striped body. The yellow is much brighter and the stripe is more prominent than that of the ground bee.
Even though they cause unattractive burrows throughout the yard, ground bees are very beneficial and can be the gardener’s best friend. These ground nesters will actively forage in search of nectar and pollen.
Mining bees, sweat bees, and digger bees all fall into the category of ground bees. These insects are very beneficial in fulfilling the much-needed, all-important role of pollination.
Their population, when viewing all the burrows in the yard, looks to be much larger in number than what it actually is, even though they are solitary bees, they still tend to congregate and build multiple nests in any area that is suitable for burrowing and nest building.
The male ground bee spends his time flying over this little city of burrows in search of a potential mate.
These bees will be more active and numerous during the spring months when the baby bees arrive.
Their colonies are very solitary they have a miner bee, sweat bee and digger bees. Once the queen has laid her eggs the males will leave and she will protect them.
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.
Your yard should be a safe haven for you to enjoy, not an area to fear because of potential encounters with stinging insects.
Take back your yard from bees, hornets, and wasps with the help of American Pest. Whether you choose a one-time service or an ongoing plan, we will keep your yard stinging insect-free. Contact American Pest to get started!