Ground bees

ljf424March 31, 2006

We have about 100 (yes, 100) nest in our backyard full of ground bees. The hole is the size of a pencil. They are very small, black and yellow, fuzzy, and docile. I am guessing they are...miner bees? And debating leaving them alone b/c I am guessing they'll go away after a while. One Home Depot staffer suggested Sevin dust, another spray. Thoughts? So much for fertilizing the lawn this weekend.

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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton) you say, they don't bother you, I would leave them alone and yes, they should not last for too long.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2006 at 2:28AM
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Whatever you do, please do not use Sevin! That particular chemical treatment is not only harmful to beneficial insects like Praying Mantises, it is also harmful to humans. I hear that its use is now being discouraged.

If these are Miner bees, there should be no cause for alarm. Given that our native honey bee population is almost completely decimated, we need all the pollinators we can get. I have an Osmia hive in my backyard and encourage all types of 'people-friendly' bees, as well. Miner bees are part of this group and will not sting you (although I hear they can give you a 'nip' if roughly handled).

If they are not Miner Bees, they are probably some other type of solitary bee, but most of these types of bees are usually friendly and either have no stingers or have stingers only in the female population, which is characteristically non-agressive anyway.

If you have any kids, this may be a good chance for them to learn a fun nature lesson, hands-on (and would make a great science project, too). Miner bees, like other solitary bees, can be raised by gardeners and will benefit your area tremendously (I have an Osmia bee hive in my backyard and enjoy it immensely). At least this way, you can manage the bees and transfer them from the ground to a structure of your choosing (Please see the link below for details). The good thing about these bees is that unlike honey bees, you don't really need any special gear or clothing to manipulate them (I use my bare hands and sometimes go out in stocking feet to observe or manipulate my hive.)

But whichever way you decide to go, if you can simply tolerate them for the season (ending around mid-June or so), then please do. Then call a bee expert in your area (not a pest controller) that can come and take them off your hands. And in the meantime, you will be doing your backyard and your immediate plant community a world of good. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Miner Bees

    Bookmark   April 4, 2006 at 4:03PM
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tracy72(Zone 6)

We moved into our house last August. I noticed alot of bee activity and took note of the little holes in the ground. We sprayed it held them off but they returned. Now this spring i just started digging to start gardening, i came across sleeping black & white bees..there wasn't any holes and it was around a tree, to my suprise there some of them were..i managed to kill them (3 of them). I called a professional and they told me they could'nt start treatment until the bees come out, i have to call them back in about a week. So much for getting started on hiring landscapers, they said to hold off on that too...any comments or suggestions....

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 12:09PM
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The bees you have are probably a type of solitary bee (probably Miner bees). They really do not sting and are very beneficial to gardens and are needed right now given the current devistation of the honey bee population. Is there a reason you want to get rid of them? (Personally I am looking for Miner Bees to acquire--I already keep Japanese Hornfaced Bees with a few Blue Orchard bees that took up free residence with them).

Mason bees are being preferred now as pollinators because of their docile disposition (they are know to be great around kids and pets). But if you can not tolerate them, your best bet is to call your local University's Entomology dept, your state's Agricultural-Entomolgy dept., or local beekeeping group to get help with taking them off your hands. Out of those groups, someone should want them. :)


    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 7:34PM
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I have about 100 or more solitary bees in my back yard too! They leave pencil holes in the sandy soil. The good news is that they don't last very long, probably 4 weeks or so.
Our bees are near a swing set, and I know they don't sting. We can walk right through them without any stings, but kids get scared anyway.

Is there any way to move them to another location in my yard?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 10:42PM
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Hi Wendy,

I talked to an Osmia expert (she used to work in a state Bee Lab) about your situation and she stated that it is hard to relocate them right now because they are most likely to return to the same area this season. You can try, however, in *one tug* to dig up that area and transplant it to another area of the yard, after they have gone dormant (end of their season). However, their holes go down at least 3 feet and you might not get all of them.

What the expert told me was the best thing to do is try to get the kids to appreciate and enjoy the bees as they are; turn it into a natural learning project for the family (and possibly an extra credit project for school). She also stated that a way to discourage them from coming back to that area next year is to plant grass/ground cover over that area of exposed dirt. They are attracted to exposed dirt and discourage from nesting where there is ground cover.

So my personal suggestion is to put ground cover over that area and provide a bare dirt area in another part of your yard and when they emerge next year, they may go over to the bare dirt area that you created.

Well, hope that helps some.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2006 at 7:16PM
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wrichard(z5 NH)

wow. Thanks for the informative response! I now have thousands of bees in that area of my yard. They come out in warm and sunny weather and just swarm the area. I have seen bees piled on top of each other in balls.
I had no idea their holes went down 3 feet either. Digging up that much would take a long time. I'll try to plant grass or a verry large flower bed there, but I'm going to wait until they're gone before I invade their territory.
Thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 8:06AM
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heatherine(5b ME)

Three years ago is when my bees started showing up. I was horrified, thinking there was this huge underground network of basically one gigantic nest and I'd never get it out. They chose the highest-traffic area in my yard - also right next to my perennial garden - to nest. Come to find out they are solitary and each of those hundreds of pencil holes is a different nest. After the first year of using Sevin (which only barely worked), I decided to let them "bee." I felt so awful killing these solo bees and their tiny, individual nests - all I could think of were the baby bees. Yeah, I'm a softie!

Last year the only problem was that my little boy was frightened of them, but this year I think he's outgrowing it. I keep reassuring him they won't sting. And really, they won't (they might if you step on them). Next year when I have a bigger budget I plan on completely rototilling the area before they arrive and putting in a ground cover but this year they've got a free pass. They only last til June or so.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 2:36PM
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You're welcome, Wendy. :) I'm glad that the info was helpful to you.

Hello "heatherine",

It's great to hear that you are letting the bees "bee" this year and that your son is outgrowing his fear towards them. :)

One note about Sevin, though; I have heard that it's use is now being discouraged because of the potential hazards it may cause to both people and helpful insects. It is considered a "contact nerve toxin" among other things and people are looking for alternatives.

Here are some links re: some studies on it (you can also find a lot more if you do a Google search with the word phrase "dangers of Carbaryl" [the chemical name for Sevin])

Links -


The Trouble with Carbaryl -

The Trouble with Carbaryl: Six dangers the pesticide label won't warn you about. -

Carabyl Re-assessed -

Well, hope that is helpful.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 4:48AM
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I have hundrededs of little mounds in my yard spreading more and more every year. Each has a little hole that goes very deep into the ground. They are a small type bee.

Is there any way to get rid of bees? It is a huge mess every year especially when we get rain.

Please help.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 11:55AM
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I have the same problem as you, the mounds of dirt in the lawn are making it very rough. The lawn-mower bouncing up and down. Walking on the lawn in those spots is problematic.

This year I had a brain-storm, I rented a power rake. Going over the affected area a couple of times completely flattened the dirt mounts = problem solved.

I imagine this will be an annual or bi-annual event. But it was well worth the effort.


    Bookmark   March 25, 2007 at 1:36PM
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If you want to kill a underground nest use starter fluid. Its ether and puts them to sleep. just find their hole and spay the flying bees. When there are no bees flying around spray a good amount down the hole and mark it with a stick. after 15 to 20 minutes go back and do it again. the nest will die off after doing this a couple of times. I dont like to kill the good bees but this works great on ground hornets. Its cheap at 2 dollars a can of starting fluid, and the ether evaperates so your lawn is not hurt.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 9:55PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

It was said:
"If you want to kill a underground nest use starter fluid."

Doing so is environmentally irresponsible.

As was said, these bees don't sting; they are pollinators; and they inhabit sparsely planted ground.

Avoid the area temporarilly or, as was said previously, plant it to thick stand of groundcover or something else.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 6:08PM
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I have what i believe you are calling digger bees. they haven't really proven to be bothersome, haven't stung anyone, and only come out when it's warm and sunny. is it possible that the babies would form like a black cloud under a large shade tree and just fly around and hang out all day, or am i dealing possibly with a totally different bee problem here all together? I have 3 small children and don't want them to be in any harm.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 6:27PM
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For some good answers, see the above replies posted by selocic. We need more environmentally tuned people like that giving good advice. As I may have mentioned before, I used to be afraid of wasps with their dangly legs. I was stung by a couple as a kid and they just seemed scary. After years without incident, I realized that they don't just sting out of nowhere without reason. After watching a particular type of wasp catch and eat cabbage worms in my garden, it really drove home the benefits of wasps and bees. I've been an avid beekeeper for a few years now and have gained respect for all kinds of bees and wasps.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 9:35PM
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Bumblebees also make tunnels in the soil for their nests, and they are a very affable bee, despite their size. They are black and yellow with a roundish body, fuzzy, and vary in size, the largest one usually being the mother of the small tube colony. They are very picturesque when collecting nectar from flowers, because they are able, due to their larger size and weight, to obtain nectar from more difficult flowers that other bees are unable to pollinate. Sometimes they obviously struggle to get to that nectar, and they are fun to watch.

If the mother bumblebee is killed early in the season, her little brood in its underground tunnel starves to death. Her progeny develop one at a time, and the older "children" then help the mother bumblebee to care for the younger ones that have still not developed into bumblebees.

There is a hornet or mud wasp that looks something like bumblebees, but it is shiny, and more aggressive than the bumblebee.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 3:05AM
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I have to disagree with some of the above advice. Bumblebees WILL sting. We just moved into a house and found out that we had a ground nest of bumblebees the hard way - the kids were playing over it and 5-6 bees swarmed out and stung the kids. My poor 4 yr old got it the worst - 3 stings that swelled up before I could grab her and get her away. Since they're close to the back door and between the back door and the driveway, we sometimes get chased down by them on our way to the car.

I have tried bug spray, bug foamer, and water, but we still have bees. They only seem to have one entrance, and it goes down about a foot. Any advice on how to eradicate this nest?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 8:35PM
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It's true that Bumble Bees do sting, around the holes in the ground the workers can be very aggressive at times. The best way to get rid of them and the safest is to use dusts, which are literal (not like Sevin). There are a few types, your local greenhouse can supply them, you might want to look at the link below, this site gives out quit a bit of good info on ground-nesting bees.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ohio State University Fact Sheet

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 5:30PM
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O.K I've read all the postings but can't seem to find anything that describes the ground bees that attack me every time i get out the weed whipper. A few weeks back I inadvertently came within 5 yards of their nest the first time ( a small football sized clump of brush) and got stung repeatedly. They were on me before I knew what was happening. Very aggressive. 2-3 stings that time.

Yesterday, aware of where their nest was, I stayed a good 15-20 yards away this time with my eye on the nest. Again, the little suckers came after me. One got between my glove and the back of my hand and my hand swelled up so much it was unusable. Another got me in the elbow of the same arm and from my elbow to my hand is one big ol swollen mess. Never had a reaction like this and never had so much pain.

I got a good look at the culprits which were primarily black fuzzy with a tad bit of cream color on their abdomen. The sting site was waaaay larger than any other sting I'd ever gotten before (1+ mm), the pain waaay more than I could ever remember. Later that night when things settled down I went out to check out the nest and this time from nearly 20+ yards away. Very little activity at first, just a few flying in and out and then suddenly they came after me again. We're talking seriously aggressive.

Everyone says "Yep. Yellow jackets." but I know what yellow jackets are and these were not yellow jackets. Then I hear "Yep. Wasps." but there was not the long slender two-piece body I associated with wasps. These guys looked like black fuzzy honey bees with teeny bit of cream color on their abdomens and a really bad attitude.

I'm mostly interested in what type of bee, wasp, hornet they may be. I'll find a way to prevail over the nest. :-)

Any help would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 10:55AM
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I tried to post this yesterday, so if it is a duplicate, please forgive a new member. Like Zulubob, my dog, neighbor and I have all been stung by VERY aggressive small ground bees. The are yellow and black striped with very dark pointed wings held at a 45 degree angle from their backs. They are definitely NOT yellow jackets. They are very agressive, have a diamond-shaped stinger, and produce a very painful sting. While I admit that I swell up at gnat bites, these stings are almost instantly red and very large. Yesterday I asked if they could be africanized honey bees, but I realized that they are some kind of ground bee. I cannot find a picture of them on the internet. I've lived in the same location for 15 years and have never seen these bees before.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 11:57AM
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whskyfan(Z9 Central Ca.)

I have several of these helping me "landscape" my cactus garden. they are very docile and make great "gopher holes" around my miniature buildings.

Here is a link that might be useful: My sand bees

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 2:24PM
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I discovered ground bees just recently (when I mowed over the hole/hive) I was stung 3 times before I even realized what happened. Like zulubob & beph, these bees were very aggressive! They are yellow with black stripes & these were small. The stings hurt like hell, I got 6 on my arm & 9 on the back of my leg! Thank God for Benedryl & baking soda paste! I'm definately going to try some of the "remedies" from this site! Thanks, all!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 6:24PM
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too bad nobody responded to these last three posts. this sounds like what i have encountered in my front yard around a very old tree stump. they went after my husband the other day, today they stung my big dog several times. poor guy, almost drove him crazy. i'll have to wait until dusk to check out the nesting area more closely, but i would appreciate more info about these little stingers! we're in southwest ohio.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 11:29AM
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I have a ground nest of tiny, very fast bees-they don't seem aggressive but they are just too close to the house for my liking. They really get going when I water! (I'm hoping they're not just babies and will get bigger. Yikes!) I would like to get them to move without killing them-any suggestions? I'm in Sonoma County if anyone would like to come and get them?! Please.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 2:31PM
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mccollja(4 Twin Cities MN)

I'm trying to clear an area for a hosta garden and have those very aggressive bees in the ground around a small tree root. I've tried spraying the foam bee killer and get bitten whenever I try to dig around the area. Its hard to see the entrance to their nest. I'd really like to get rid of them. Do you think I could run water around the root and try to drown them??

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 11:00PM
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Water will work, but it's best to find the entrance. Just observe for a while and you should be able to see where they are coming out of the ground. You can usually get close and observe without being bothered. Mark the spot and stick the nozzle of the hose in the hole and let it run for 20 minutes to 1/2 hr. That's usually enough to do the trick. While my first choice is letting them be, sometimes they make a nest where you just have to get rid of them.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 9:33AM
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Hello, I live in northern New York and have had ground bees since May. At least that's when I first noticed them. I have read all of the posts that say to leave them be. They'll move on. But they're not and I am unable to enjoy my backyard because of it.

Granted, they are not aggressive. I can mow the lawn and they will not sting me, but they will come out and hover above their nest to show me that they are there. Also, I have a 4 ft diameter circle of 3 ft high grass that I cannot cut due to the bees. I do not want to mow directly over the nest. Also, my 4yr old doesn't want to go in the backyard because he is scared of the bees.

I know the bee population is suffering, but I cannot go in my backyard and the bees show no sign of leaving. So although I don't want to kill them, I am pretty much at my last straw.

How can I get rid of these bees permanently???

Thank you!!


    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 4:50PM
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I've always had a few holes (like ant mounds) in our old front brick walkway, but a couple weeks ago there were suddenly 50 or more holes with what looks like digger bees flying all around, going in and out. There are very docile, I walk in the midst of them, even try to sweep the sand back in the holes wearing sandles and they don't bother me. I wouldn't normally care, but this old brick walkway is becomming undermined, sinking, becomming uneven because of the mining and tunnelling these bees are doing. I unfortunately need to eliminate them.
Any help would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 8:55AM
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We think we have ground bees, however to be sure I have photos of one. Can I post it on the forum for some experts to look at?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 9:07AM
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I was working in my yard today, planting a flower that my son had got me for Mother's day and notice quite a few bees flying around in the area I was working. I texted my husband to see what I should do. I poured gas on them. Not sure what kind of bees these are, but didnt want to take a chance of one stinging my family. I dug up the mulch alittle and seen their bee hive, it looked so cool. So my question is will they got back in the same area? I just want heads up so when I am in that area again.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 6:27PM
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I hope they do and sting you good. Beginner gardener for sure. You killed the bees before you knew what they were? Now we know what is killing all the bees. Very stupid on your part. Then there is the issue of pouring gas on the ground. I wish I knew your address so I could rat you out to the EPA.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 8:32PM
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OK, cutting the grass tonight and before I know it, I am being attacked. I count six stings from these "docile" bees that don't sting.

Can I get some facts on these creatures? I have two kids, are they truly docile - except when a lawnmower runs over their home? Will they really only be around for 4 weeks or so? Don't recall them being around before but I haven't kept up on the grass cutting too well this year.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2009 at 9:48PM
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Hi~ Usually I'm over at Garden Junk, but need to find out what I've got in my ground. Need to get a good look. Sun was directly on ground this AM and I saw a constant stream of bees flying up, looked like a stream of bubbles in the sun. Some were returning to same area as I watched. Few years back had a nest of something very aggressive here. Probably same things now. But, either a skunk or raccoon or ground hog dug out that previous nest during one night. Found a bowl shaped excavation in the morning maybe a foot deep. Maybe I can count on that again, but not sure I'll be that lucky.
Am in SW Ohio. Any suggestions on what might be just showing up in early August?
Nancy in Cincinnati

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 1:10PM
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Thanx, usmc_recon. That's what I was thinking, too. They are small and yellowish. RATZ! The nest is just a couple feet off the driveway where we walk to get to the house. No avoiding it. To date, the critters have kept to themselves. But we have several outdoor cats that frequent the area..... hope none of them tries to squat in the grass right there. Owwwwwwww....
I don't want to destroy the nest, but need to consider the risks for man and beasts.
Appreciate the response.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 6:37PM
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I was digging and also hit a nest. They were biting or stinging mad! I zig zag ran across lawn, through garage and into house - didn't lose them... Was still getting bit in house. I left for the weekend and think that all the ones inside have now died. They are little, black & yellow. The bite/stings itch! Please help me correctly identify & what I should do. (Revenge was first thought, but I did invade their home...)
Pic of bees:
Lower Michigan; zone 6.

Here is a link that might be useful: click here - what kind of ground bee?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2009 at 10:23PM
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My dog was attached by the ground bees in our back yard. They stung him all over his body. We had to take him to the Vet where they gave him a IV and some other meds. How can I get rid of these bees? I am worried about my grandkids. The bees are small with transparent wings. I am not sure if they are under the ground but I know they are in a pile of lumber by our back fence.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 6:16PM
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flowernay(z7b E.TEXAS)

There is a difference between the docile 'miner bees' and the aggressive 'yellow jackets'. Miner bees come out at the first sign of spring. Their solo nests, found in colonies look like little ant hills. As previously described, their nests do have pencil sized holes. I've walked right through a colony with no problems.

Yellow jackets have large, underground nests with many inhabitants. The holes are about the size of a dime. Yellow jackets swarm and attack when their nest is disturbed or the ground around them vibrates. I've gotten clobbered while mowing the lawn, washing the car, etc..

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 5:19PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I just started visiting this forum as I am about to try putting up mason bee houses. I am concerned about the overall problem with bees dying and I've noticed a reduction in the number of bees in my garden. So I noticed this thread and how many posts there were to it and after having read many of the posts, I see a lot of people struggling to deal with stinging bees and nests on their property. It would seem that we could save a lot of bees, simply by helping homeowners find another way to keep them from becoming a problem without killing them. Is there a solution? Most people have small properties and to have a nest somewhere on the property where people are using that area, seems like the bees are always going to lose that one.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 7:50AM
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Yikes! Can't believe I'm reading about people complaining about beneficial bees on a gardening forum. Halictids and other ground bees are highly, highly beneficial bees and have had many scientific papers written about them. There are some absolutely huge, historical grounds with these types of bees including Adrenids etc. This includes Utah and Russia which boast of some of the highly coveted locations that farmers boast about.
To not connect the dots between habitat, pollination, and crop/food production, is of a very high ignorance especially with gardeners. This is the very thing that I was talking about on a recent radio interview.
Put up with these bees, boast of them to your friends and neighbours, learn about their biology and just wait a few weeks. They'll be gone 'til next year. You can keep on mowing, and doing regular activities and they'll work around you and leave you alone.
I guess this forum is showing me the differences between biologist and gardeners! I'm both and the former helps the latter.

Here is a link that might be useful: Native bees interview on CBC go to March 10 podcast to hear 6 minute interview

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 9:21PM
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Personaly I would encourage them in to my garden, but that is me.
However a safe form of land treatment that will not harm the bee's but disencourage them comes in many forms.

You could staturate the ground with a water and a detergent like washing up liquid
Diluted acetic acid (table vinegar) in a watering can, which can annoy non acid loving plants, flower of sulpher is ideal. It will aid plant growth, give off a tiny amount of sulpher dioxide and deter the bee's.

You could even use sodium chloride, table salt but do this with the onset of winter so that by the time spring comes most of the salt is washed deep enough not to bother the plants but enough as to bother the bee's.

On the other end of spectrum hydrated lime (lime that has already reacted with water) Mix it in to water and spray, again a winter option as it is still akaline.

There are numerous ways, some of which will help the garden, but do not kill, try find a way to deter.

Bee's in any form are one of natures little miracles, they deserve to live as we do, the difference is they do something we as a species do not, they add to nature, not take it away......

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 10:18AM
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I came across this web site as new kid on the block trying to find out what the enormous invasion of grass hovering bee like creatures were! While I have read and been reassured by the posts on this forum, I have also seen a couple that have concerned me. I believe the little bees are called 'miner bees' and I have a better understanding of them now and are not as frightened by them, however I have read a couple of posts on here and other forums that they have stung children, pets and adults. My main concern is that my grandma is allergic to bees stings and as she now lives next door to us and frequents our garden it does not bare thinking about if she is stung it could be deadly. I also have children who want to play and although addressed with them the children are too scared to play out in the garden. I know they do a wonderful job etc etc but I would like some advice on how to get rid of them. I know they should be gone by June but that doesn't help me now. Can someone please advise as soon as possible. thanks.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 10:03AM
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Wandering what kind of bees are eating the leaves off my RED OAK TREES? I've seen the bees, they are a black with grey color and look similar to honey bees. How can I get rid of them?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 10:34AM
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I have problem with Ground Bees. An area of approx 2m diameter has many small holes, maybe 50 to 60 from which bees emerge and fly avove. I am trying to discourage them by pouring a shot of neat "Jeyes Fluid" down each of the holes. Too early to report results but this method was recommended by a bee keeper to get rid of unwanted bees. Its not cheap, 14 GBP per litre so I am hoping a little poured into each hole will do the trick.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 5:52AM
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If they look like darker versions of Honeybees they could also be Leafcutter bees. Which can be a problem for your new plants shoots and leaves during their spring nesting season. Approximately now til June for my area (mid-atlantic).

They are non-aggressive though and their sting is much weaker than other bees or wasp.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 4:25PM
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i've got these in my yard too! i can walk/mow right over them, they just byzz round about a foot above the ground, THICK, hundreds, little pencil holes, etc... i wonder if they're good for the soil? seem to aerate it a bit, lotsa holes, grass seems ok... they seem to keep neighbors pets off grass too, so thats a plus! im just worried one of them might complain as a nuisance/hazard... there are a lot of bees... thry dont bother me or my dog though, we give em space. stupid question; they make hone, right? can i digbup some? and or comb? or relocate some to 'hive', and try some? possible? absurd?... ? thanks

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 2:07AM
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Sorry to all the entomologists out there, but the miner bees trash our yard every year. I DO NOT want them to come back! They are practically impossible to get rid of. Any suggestions that really work?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 12:01PM
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I think I have a large group of leafcutter bees living in the stone driveway of the house we just bought. There are hundreds of holes in the dirt between the stones. I watched the bees and they are carrying leaf cuttings into the holes. They are beneficial, so I wouldn't mind them in another part of the yard, but I don"t want to drive over their nests and the driveway is looking pretty cruddy with little piles of dirt all over it as well. Any advice, please?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 3:48AM
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I have isolated sand holes with the opening about the width of a sharpie marker. The mounds are about the size of a baseball. I have read through this site and all the posts. I too, dislike killing nature's little miracle workers, but they are festering directly along our fence line where we place our garbage cans each day. I have tolerated them for a while now, noticing the holes and mounds duplicating every day. The top concern I have, is the true identification of these bees, if they are harmful to me and my pets, and tip top prioity - If they sting. I am allergic to bee stings and can become very ill if stung. I have been watching them from my dinning room window as that is right by our garbage can area. So far if I go out my side door which is approx. four to six feet away from nests, they do tend to chase me and they are incredibly quick. If I tend to try to view them from the front of this area off my lawn, they do the same thing. I haven't been stung yet, but I was curious if I give full description of the bees maybe someone can identity them.

Half an inch in length, mostly black with a color at end of bottom that apprears to be either white or a off white color. Their bodies are a bit fuzzy, long abdomen. Completely transparent thin width wings. slender
They are fast and chase me, however no stinging yet.

Some of the bees are different but live in same location with ground holes: a bit longer, still thin and very quick, but with yellow heads, fuzzy, and black butts. Wings look a bit opaque.

I wouldn't want to destory a colony of good bees by mistake out of fear, and I would want to remove the hive properly if they are the aggressive kind. If anyone can help, I would look forward to hearing some advice. Thank you

Gardener Spring

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 6:08PM
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I am assuming i have mining bees as well... it was a curious site to see the little bees wandering around on the ground in the beginning of May. Live in upper ottawa valley, Canada.
The cat and I use the area as a coridor between the front and back yard and even after I knelt over the bees taking macro photos, and the cat decided to roll around over top of the holes, no stings.
Definately docile. I'll leave them be!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 10:01AM
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Identify the entrance, wrap a cloths basket with plastic ( trash bag ), place the basket over the entrance, poke a hole in the plastic and unload a can of wasp/ hornet spray in the basket. The bees come out the hole and are trapped in the basket full of that can of spray! Done.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 7:43PM
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gardenman101(Z6 Spingfield, Ma)

I know this is an old thread (just discovered it) I have thousands of theese miner bee's you are talking about. Every spring a have a balnket of them swarming over my front lawn (whats left of it) The front yard looks like someone went crazy with a machine gun that sprouted ant like hills. You are right they tend to fade after a few weeks, but I found them by accident when removeing a pile of old leaves in the backyard. As far as being docile i have at least 16 stings along the side of my stomach, they seemed to have found away into my shirt. Relocating them is not an option, any other options? Ty

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 12:28AM
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i was weeding my garden and stumbled across some little tiny bees, i dont know what type they are. We have decided to let them "bee". after reading some advice from this site. Thanks we wil just work around them. Thanks again

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 10:55AM
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I went outstide and saw a little big bigger than pencil holes in our front yard near the house. And I covered them up thinking that they were ant holes. But then, there was a group of holes that I was unable to cover, because a black with yellow wasp,(roughly the size of my whole pinky) came out. They have been flying around, and I realy would like to get rid of them, they fly around very aggresivly. I really don't want to pour gas on them and burn them because some of the holes are so close to the house. What should I do? Please Help!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 11:49AM
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These ground bees are all over the sand volleyball courts we play at once a week. I was a little leery about playing around them but we played an hour of volleyball without any stings.

While I wouldn't recommend this, it's pretty clear they are not aggressive.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 6:05PM
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Check out these photos click on them for more information.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ground Bee images

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 7:07PM
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I am researching how to rid of ground bees for my mother who has an infestation of them in her yard. I have read some good info in the previous post. The concern is the "killer ground bees from Mexico" she has heard about. Has she heard right and if so how can you tell the difference? She lives in the SE region of NC in the area know as the Sand-hills. Please help. Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 2:00PM
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...You can tell Wasps from Bee's by looking at them... Wasps are slender and smooth... Bee's are hairy and they are "plump"... Wasps (and nest[s]) can be killed with pyrethren spray (better to use when you have pets).., but if they are ground wasps.., better wear protection and carry a lot of p. spray.., those suckers are aggresive... I have over 100 mining bee's housing their brood where my pool used to be (sandy conditions).., but I am sad because I am going to build a nice fire patio there this year (after they leave)... So I am out there sitting with them buzzing around me.., they didn't mind at all... These eco- friendly and people friendly bee's are perhaps a nuisance to lawn lovers.., but today I was convinced that that are friends not enemies... Honey bee's are decreasing.., these bee's are tamer than honey bee's! I had a mining bee on my bare hand.., I was surprised! I am deathly afraid of bee's but.., New England Mining Bee's are AWESOME!!! (Even my dog sits with them without incident)... Wasps are a different story...

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 6:56PM
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    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 4:42PM
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I have to disagree with the many posters that have said that these bees do not sting. I have an underground colony this year and they have not stung me yet, though they do run into me over and over. But, last year I had a colony near the back of my yard and if I came within 20 ft. they came after me . And, yes I did get stung. Also, many posters have said they will gone for the most part by the middle of June. It is middle July and they are more active than ever. To save someone out there the time- I'm sure these are not yellow jackets.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 11:21AM
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I know this is an old thread, but I have a ground bee issue here. These appear to be honeybees. They have 3 nests in my yard that I've "found" while mowing, and while mowing a friends yard for her today, I "found" another nest. These bees leave stingers behind, and as best as I can determine, only honeybees do that. They are normally aggressive, i.e. you can get within a few feet before they start buzzing around. Unfortunately, once they've been disturbed by the mower, if it gets within 20 feet, they come out and come after me. I have a nest of honeybees about 14' up in a hollow catalpa tree, and I had beekeepers remove 3 transient swarms that paused here back in June...I don't want to kill the bees, but these are enough of a problem that I need to either evict or destroy them. Please advise if I am off-base here thinking these are honeybees, and why they'd be building in the ground. The nests have openings about an inch in diameter and there is no mound of dirt...if they had, I'd have seen them before mowing over them and getting repeatedly stung.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 4:56PM
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We have a ground bee hive in the backyard that we've left alone for years. We don't bother them and they don't bother us. Unfortunately, the hive is under the patio we're about to replace. I'd like to avoid killing them if possible. Is there a way to move the hive like people do with above-ground bees?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 6:55PM
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bearthompson(7A-7B border (Northern VA))

I've read comments/instructions by experts on several informative websites that say that: (a) ground-dwelling bees are harmless pollinators that can't/won't sting; (b) anyway, don't worry, because they'll be gone in a few weeks, by the end of June; and, (c) if ground-dwelling airborne insects are stinging, then they must actually be yellowjackets -- but that is just NOT SO. Yesterday (July 20), I was working in the small back garden of our townhouse here in Zone 7 Northern Virginia, when my watering disturbed a nest of underground bees that were entering and exiting a small (ca. 1/2 in.) hole in the ground under a dead holly plant. They came after me, and I got stung painfully several times -- once on my left eyelid. (Fortunately, I am not allergic/hypersensitive to insect venom, so I just took some benadryl to help minimize any reaction.) They looked very similar to honeybees, and nothing like yellowjackets or other wasps. (I am originally a biologist, and once studied bumblebees, so I know my insects pretty well.) I had some aerosol wasp/hornet spray in the house that shoots out a narrow stream 10 feet or more; I killed all the ones that were buzzing around outside the nest with that. Later, after the nest had calmed down some, I yanked out the dead holly bush under which they had nested, and sprinkled a generous amount of insecticide granules onto the soil below (where additional bees were visible, crawling around). I hope that killed them all, but I will inspect the area again in coming days. Organic gardeners and tender-hearted individuals who do not wish to harm an insect should do as they wish (I have no argument with them), but in my own view bees in such large numbers and of such an aggressive character could kill a pet, and/or put a person sensitive to their stings in the hospital Emergency Room with some form of dangerous anaphylactic shock -- they must be eliminated.

This post was edited by bearthompson on Mon, Jul 21, 14 at 12:50

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 12:38PM
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I usually leave ground and other bees alone unless the location may be hazardous to someone else. If I know where they are I just do not get too close. However... About a week ago there were two nest with 1+" holes at a location where someone visiting us would walk through. I had an old bag of Seven in a shed. When it got dark I put on my bee hood and carefully put about a teaspoon in each hole then covered with dirt. The next day there were no bees. I was going to dispose of the Seven but changed my mind. I would not dust plants with it but it worked great on ground bees with no threats to anything else.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 5:35PM
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