Ground bees

Janet MyersJuly 13, 2009

I am having a terrble problem with 2 bees that keep digging holes in my grand daughter's flower bed. I have tried flooding the holes, covering them up, and even filled them wih diatomaceous earth and nothing has worked. Does anyone know how to get rid of them? One bee is small but the other one is about 2.5 inches long. You can see pictures at:

If you look close in the middle picture you can see the smaller of the 2 bees.

Thank you


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
treelover(z8b SoCtrlTX)

Piper: Wow! Two & 1/2 inches long? Are you sure it's a bee?

Is your daughter allergic to bee stings? If not, you might choose to view this as an opportunity to teach her about sharing her space with wildlife, not to be afraid of bees, not to swat at them, etc.

You could even make a project of creating a native bee house with scrap wood. I put one up last year and the bees have been using it. It's fun to watch them.

Of course, if she's allergic that's a whole different story. (I didn't mean to sound preachy either . . . I know you're concerned about her getting stung.) If you have to rid that spot of them, different people have posted that the following work: baby powder, borox/water solution, citrus oil, neem oil, rosemary oil.

Here is a link that might be useful: native bees

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 10:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
treelover(z8b SoCtrlTX)

Oh sorry . . . she's a 'grand' isn't she!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 10:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
debndal(8a DFW, TX)

I couldn't find the bee in your picture, but does the larger one look like a bee, or more like a large wasp? This is the time for cicada killers to be out, and they lay their eggs in the soil. The female sting is supposed to be fairly painful, but the male doesn't sting. They are really scarey looking but they don't generally go after people unless provoked. But, even with that, I don't like them in my yard either. Not sure what the smaller one could be.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 10:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Look up cicada killer - the females have their nest underground and they are not aggressive. The only way to completely rid the garden of them is to dig up the soil completely - they have quite a tunnel network where they lay their eggs and take cicadas for the larva to eat. I've never heard of anyone being stung by them, but if you bother them enough, they will probably defend themselves. The smaller bee is probably the male and he's only interested in the females.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 10:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Janet Myers

I looked up cicada killer - - and sure enough that's what this bee is. The article said they can get over 2 inches long, so being in Texas, guess that's why one is over 2.5 inches. I tried flooding the holes last night but that didn't work, 2 new holes this morning. If these were in my yard, I'd probably leave them alone, but in grand daughter's (she is 11)flower bed-just doesn't work. They have already killed 2 vinca plants and another is looking bad. They are digging their holes right in the plants roots.
This child is going through some 'difficulties' right now and I really hate to see her flower bed destroyed. By the way, you won't find one single weed in it either. How can I get rid of these pests??? Really need some help here.
Thank You

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 11:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My husband got stung by one of these yesterday...he was using the tractor to scrap the ground to put down the foundation for the house and got one really upset...he didnt know it until she hit him :( Thought it was a hornet...but when we looked it was a cicada killer. Anyway...went looking for a way to kill them and found this...
Hope it helps :)

What You Need to Know Up Front
Learn about ground digger wasps. Ground-digger wasps (GDWs) are very large (slightly larger than a green hornet) passive-aggressive wasps that 'build' their nests in dry, unfertilized earth. They are typically large and black-bodied with yellow stripes on their back-end. When fully grown, they measure about one and a half inches (or more) in length with about a one and a quarter-inch wide wing span.
Know the signs. You'll know you've got ground-digger wasp nests in your lawn or garden when you see small granular mounds of dirt piled up anywhere from two-to-five inches in height. At the base of the mound of granular dirt will be a finger-sized hole with a 'path' of dirt leading out from it.
The nests will be sporadically built throughout your lawn or garden, but will typically be in the driest areas and/or under longer grass/weeds or under growing flowers. GDWs do not like, but can live in, moist soil.
Find out the life cycly. In the Northeast US, the life-cylce of a ground-digger wasp is about one month beginning in mid-July and ending around mid-to-late August (depending on where you live, their life-cycle may start earlier or later). They go from young adults buzzing about play-attacking with each other, to full-size adults in about two-to-three weeks.
Know that they only sting when attacked. While VERY menacing looking, they are passive stingers---meaning only if VERY threatened will they attack and sting. You'd practically have to start digging into their nests while they're flying about for one to come at you and sting you (so, don't do that!). Otherwise, they tend to buzz about to check you out and to scare you away---AND they probably will the first time you encounter them. Know that they'd rather get on with their business of killing cicadas up in the trees than sting you.
How to get rid of Ground Digger Wasps
While the method below basically kills the wasps in their nests, I've found no other (safe- for-nearby-pets) way to eradicate them from my own lawn than this method. I still get nests from year-to-year, but only one, maybe two now. The trick is to kill all of them while they're in their nests so their babies will not come back to the same place they were born.

Get the supplies. To eradicate an infestation of Ground-digger wasps (GDWs), purchase from your local party store and supermarket, the following items: a) a large bag of WHITE plastic knives, and b) up to three or four jug gallons of regular or lemon ammonia.
During the day, when the wasps are up hunting for cicadas in the trees, mark each nest you find with one of the plastic knives pushed into the ground as close to the hole of the nest as possible (without disturbing the hole). Leave enough of the knife sticking out of the ground so you can see it.
After 10:30 or 11pm, (later is better), that evening, using a flashlight, seek out the knives you placed and carefully pour about two-to-three cups of ammonia into each of the holes. At this time the wasps are probably nesting/sleeping, so you'll be catching them while in the nest. (You can stretch out the amount of ammonia by mixing a one-to-one ratio of water to ammonia. The diluted strength will still be enough to kill them.) Do NOT remove the knives.
The next day, repeat the process on any NEW nests that you find in the ground. You'll know the new nests from the old ones because you'll still have the knives in place from the night before. Once you've identified the new nests, remove the old knives.

If you have pets, it is VERY important that you do not allow your pet to dig anywhere near a nest. You must also NOT use a diazinon or any other POWDERED toxic treatment on the GDW holes. Dogs and cats will not know that the powder is lethal to them.
You'll probably continue to have nests each year. However, if you repeat the same process above each year, your chances of having more nests the following years will reduce greatly.
Share the instructions with your neighbors as chances are, they will also have GDWs and not know what they are or how to get rid of them. If they don't do anything, you'll have an infestation on the block before you know it.
The more cicadas there are, the more GDWs you'll have. So, if you have 7-year cicada infestation cycles, the chances are you'll have a LOT of GDW nests to deal with every seven years, UNLESS you (and your neighbors) follow the method above to eradicate them.
If you see a GDW with a cicada under its belly, quickly get out the ammonia and pour it down the hole as soon as the GDW goes into the nest. (Birds will actually attack [in mid-air] a GDW carrying a cicada under its belly.)

Do NOT agitate or aggravate a GDW. They will attack and sting you if their NESTS are threatened in any way. As such, it's important that you follow the above steps when you don't see any GDWs flying around---wait until they're either be up in the trees (during the day) or in the nest (if at night).
Do NOT try to step on them; they're VERY fast when they're young adults/adults. As they get older, they tend to slow down, but can still sting if threatened.
Use a low-powered flash light when treating the nests at night. Even at night GDWs will fly towards a very bright light.

Here is a link that might be useful: Artistry of Lorraine Davis Martin

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 8:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Janet Myers

Thank you so much!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 11:54PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Waxahachie Swap April 11 2015
We'll meet somewhere around 9 AM or so at Brown Singleton...
Pros/Cons of bush germander?
Has anyone had any positive or negative experiences...
Bunny Tail Grass (Lagurus ovatus)
I found Bunny Tail Grass on a $1 rack at the garden...
WANTED: San Antonio Plant Swap
Mark your calendars: Sat., April 18, 9 am, Rogiers...
HAVE: Ft Worth Spring Swap Trinity Park April 18
Okay, I know it's still January. technically. But the...
Sponsored Products
Tournant Dining Table
Black Linen Ruffle 'Bees Knees' Organic Dish Towel
$22.99 | zulily
Earth Rug 4' x 6' - BROWN
$179.00 | Horchow
Walker Leather Sofa - Brighton Sunset Orange
Joybird Furniture
6' Thermoplastic Coated Standard Expanded Picnic Table
David Bromstad "Devilish" Artwork
Grandin Road
Charlton 55" Bathroom Vanity with Drawers - Espresso w/ Clear or Frosted Glass C
Modern Bathroom
Roma Paisley Cotton Sateen 300 Thread Count 3-piece Duvet Cover Set
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™