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ground bees stinging me!

Posted by judyefd 6ma/4vt (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 11, 07 at 16:40

Seems to be a nest of small, yellowish bees in and/or under one of my azalea bushes.

One evening at dusk, as I mowed the grass by this bush I got stung on my leg. Quite painful for a couple of days. I didn't initially figure out where it came from.

A few days later, while trimming the bushes in front of the house (again near dusk), I got stung on my hand when I got to that same azalea bush. (This time it wasn't just painful, my hand swelled up.) When I stepped back from the bush I noticed a large group of bees flying back and forth in front of it...in protection mode I presume.

I don't want to risk getting stung again and it's time once again to mow the lawn! Friends of mine have suggested that these are agressive ground bees. My sister says they're a type of wasp.

Is there a way to get rid of them without using poisons that would hurt beneficial bees (who love my flower garden)? Do I need to hire a professional?

Please advise! Thanks in advance.

Judye


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: ground bees stinging me!

Judye, I had a similar problem going back and forth over a nest entrance while mowing. The first time I thought a small pebble got kicked up and hit me on the leg.After the second pass and second sting, I realized it was bees.If you carefully note exactly where the hole is and wait until dark, you can put a garden hose in the hole and let the water run for 10 or 15 minutes. This usually solves the problem with no harm to the environment. I used this method a few times. I've also read where someone filled a 3-5 gal bucket with sand and turned it over on the hive entrance and left it there for a few days and it killed the hive.


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

More than likely what you have are not bees but are wasps, Yellow Jackets to be specific. Yellow Jackets are insect pest predators so unless it is essential to eliminate this nest I'd leave it because they will not nest there next year.
Covering the entrance hole will not do anything about them since they already have another point of egress and can easily make more. Putting a large glass jar over the entrance is reported to help, but that does not get the queen and she can make a whole new hive.
If it is really necessary to kill off these wasps the single best way is to put some Carbaryl (one brand name is Sevin) around the entrance hole so the workers returning to the hive must land in and walk through that poison to enter. They will then track that into the hive where it will kill off the queen and the larva in the hive as well as the workers. Since this is a very broad spectum poison use with due care is essential.


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

Thank you both! I was VERY careful the way I mowed last night in that area.

Tony, I too thought initially it was a small pebble flying hard into the back of my leg. But when I saw the hole and the pain continued I figured out it was a bee (or, more correctly, a wasp).

These are smaller than what I consider a yellow jacket to be, but they may come in more sizes than I know of! It's interesting that they wouldn't nest in the same place next year. One of my concerns is that this group of wasps would spread in the ground throughout the front hedges and bushes making the front of the house unapproachable!

Guess I better find the actual entrance...with binos and a flashlight! I will carefully and respectfully consider the use of Sevin.

Other ideas or suggestions?
Thanks!
Judye


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

It sounds more like yellow jackets. They nest in the ground, I have been stung in this manner when gardening & it was no fun.
We've since learned that in early spring, the queens who survived winter look around for holes already in the ground, ie mice & vole holes. They start the nest in those.
So this year we went all around the yard in early spring, before things started getting green, filling in the vole holes. So far, no yellow jackets bothering us. Although we keep an organic yard, so we know they are out there. As long as their nests are not where I am digging & weeding, I don't care.
Yesterday I was pulling the neighbor's English ivy that is always trying to come into our yard & take over, & I got popped on the head--not stung--by what turned out to be a bumblee. Looked carefully & I had been pretty near their nest hole--they also nest in the ground. A bunch going in & out. But they have taken over pollinating the tomatoes from the now-dead honeybees, so all I did about them was apologize & move away from the area.


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

Great idea about looking for holes and filling them in during the spring. Guess I'll have to check under all the front bushes!!

I've come across another nest! I'd been piling weeds and clumps of aggressive violets (that I didn't want in my compost pile) that I've pulled out over the last month waiting for yard waste day. Last week, as I started to shovel the pile into the YW bucket, a group of yellow jackets came flying out. This time I knew what to do...move away quickly!!

Judye


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

I was out running with my running club in the Santa Monica Mountains and at the trail head, was a sign (I read later) warning about ground bees, and to be careful not to disturb their hives. We ran single track trail and one of the front runners may have disturbed them and I and a other running buddy got bitten (not stun, note difference) I first felt one in my left calf and thought at first it was stinging nettles, and then one of my buddies said there was one on my shoulder blade and then I found one still attached to my hip by it's mouth under the material flap of my shorts. So far they have not swelled up (it happened this morning). So my reason to send this was only to clarify that these are special bees that don't sting but bite (no stinger in skin) and looks like a big mosquito bite.


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

We have ground bees here and Yellow Jacket wasps. The wasps usually live in trees and in sheds. I just came online looking for any information about ground bees because I noticed the bees last week when I cleared out an old rotting tree branch. They did not attempt to sting me or my family. My son wanted to spray them and I would not let him because of the benefit to plants, etc. TODAY... I was out turning the ground and replanting a flower bed and as I started to come into the house, I noticed that the bees are swarming near my front door. I thought at first they were after the giant garden spider there and then I realized that they are swarming my hummingbird feeder by the millions! I have never noticed them by the feeder before and the hummingbirds should have all started migrating by now....they left the feeder full when they left and I haven't gotten around to taking it down. I don't want to kill the bees. I am not allergic to them or poison ivy or most other things that sting. What I want to know is what I can do FOR them to make them comfortable where they are NOW. Can I put some kind of house out for them...What do I do?


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

The wasps that nest in the tres and sheds are most likely Paper wasps, not the Yellow Jackets which, around here, tend to nest in the ground. Yellow Jackets also will swarm around a Hummingbird feeder while bees will not.


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

Here in Texas, Yellow Jackets nest in fruit trees (I got stung 26 times once when climbing a mulberry tree over in Fort Worth,by yellow jackets nesting in the tree!) and, indeed, in sheds. Yellow Jacket Wasps sting whenever they get a chance. They do not allow you to walk right up to them and NOT sting you. Bees, on the other hand, don't sting unless somebody is sending out scared vibes or picking on them. Yellow Jackets look different than bees. Do Yellow Jackets dance,have a lot of hair, and have black butts? The tiny flying fuzzy butts I am seeing are dancing and wiggling and seeming to communicate just like bees.


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

Another think, wasps dislike perfume and colognes. It will draw them from 10' away and then you will get stung.


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

Why would anyone want to spread a poison around to kill off an insect that we need so we can have food to eat. Bees are the primary source of around 1/4 of the food we eat, without them there would not be very many of the fruits, or some of the vegetables, we eat.
Spreading poisons around your yard and garden is not something that is either necessary or desirable.


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

Yes, ground bees do sting. Unknowingly I mowed over a nest of them and they came after me. At our new home I have found several funnels in the ground, loose dirt and saw two bees going into a tunnel. I don't want to ever get stung like that again. My husband says he is going to use water but I think I will use the starter fluid that some one suggested. Do they cover the funnels after eggs have been layed in them? It looks like some have been covered.


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

arch1, what you had that problem with was the wasps, the Yellow Jackets, not bees.

Here is a link that might be useful: Yellow Jackets


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

I have this problem always as I have a lot of critter holes in my yard.(I think they are chipmunk holes as I see them running around all the time) The entire neighborhood is infested with them. I have had a wasp nest in the ground on the left side of my home for the last four years so whomever made the statement they do not nest in the same place twice need to do some more research. You can't even go on that side of the yard. My mother had a very large one in her front yard that the hive was protruding from the ground. It took three Bee Experts and two days to dig it all up and move it. They told us from the size of it, it had been their decades.

Now usually I am not bothered by them as I stay clear but as I was mowing the yard yesterday a long ways away from the known hive I was stung on the calf. It was just one sting, no biggie I kept mowing. When I came back down that path, I was attacked! Eight Stings. After I ran all over the yard trying to get them off me I soon noticed a bee hive near the mailbox. (Trust me when you have a gang of bees on you that stay calm and walk away logic goes right out the window) I watched them as they circled that area so I had a general idea of where the new hive was. After placing ice on all the stings, I went to the store and got some wasp spray and went to work. I stood back and unleashed 4 bottles on them. I usually don't bother critters as long as they don't bother me but they had to die! Didn't matter if they help the environment, you sting me, it's on! After I did not see any more bees flying around I placed a screen from one of the windows over the hole to prevent them from flying out and unleashed two more cans into the hole. That took care of it. It may have been overkill but I got them.


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

shyspook, your description sounds like mason bees, very valuable pollinators. They are solitary bees that nest in hollow plant stems or holes in wood made by other insects. The males have no stinger and although the females do it's all but impossible to get one to sting. They usually ignore humans even when around their nest hole.


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

Bees die after they sting you. Wasps, the Yellow Jackets, do not and one can sting you multiple times and they release a pheromone when they do sting you that alerts oter wasps in the area that one of their own is under attack, by you, come and help.
Bees will seldom sting because they are more interested in gathering the nectar and bringing it back to the nest. I have been stung by bumblebees, twice when that bee flew into a door I had just opened, apparently in its flight path and it fell onto my arm and stung me, and once more when one flew up my pant leg and could not find its way out. Otherwise I have been out cutting down flowering buckwheat, asters, and many other flowering plants loaded with nectar gathering bees and they have not bothered me. I have also been out mowing when the White Dutch Clover in the lawn is in bloom and bees were working those blossoms and they simply move to other blossoms and have never stung me because I was mowing, but I have had Yellow Jackets sting me while I was mowing, apparently because they thought I got too close to their home, or maybe just because.


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

Most of the time yellow jackets will leave you alone if you aren't around their nest but they're moody critters. I've had them just fly up and sting me for no reason that I can see. I'll put up with an occasional sting since they do me so much good preying on large insects and caterpillars.


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

I was just stung by one while hanging clothes...So I found this article while researching what it was that stung me. After I put a baking soda and water paste on the sting area I called my mom and she told me to pour boiling water on the area of the ground where I got stung. I don't know if this will work for sure or not it made me happy to get back at the little buggers...


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

It is true,they help with our food. But in this case twice now I have been the food,not a good look,I need to mow the front lawn,there is more than one inground hive. "Help"!


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

It is true,they help with our food. But in this case twice now I have been the food,not a good look,I need to mow the front lawn,there is more than one inground hive. "Help"!


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

  • Posted by M.Trace Southern Wisconsin (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 23, 11 at 21:21

I have read all of these posts and I dont know but we are being stung year after year while riding horses in the parks by GROUND BEES! They are VERY agressive and they just cover the belly of the horse and the person on it, even if we walk along the trails they are close and they dont like the vibrations apparently and it is in the fall that they will chase you, we have to run out of the area! The first few dont get stung it is the the third person on down but they are very very agressive! they look like honey bees but they are darker brown and cream color otherwise look like a honey bee. THEY ARE NOT ground hornets or wasps. I am SO disgusted with the "experts" as they are not a hornet, not a wasp, they are just like a bee i see some above also describe them they are like a honey bee but darker, and they come from the ground in a big agressive pack after you! what are they really? and how do you deter them from attacking you. thank you


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

Old post but ran across this during a google search yesterday after my sin and his co-workers were attacked by ground bees. I agree with the last post about how tjese experts are claiming they are wasps. Hopefully those same experts have learned by now that they are not wasps. They are Africanized Honey Bees. Very agressive and deadly. Also known as "killer bees". Not your typical honey bee.


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RE: ground bees stinging me!

As a rule Ground Bees are solitary critters, just one per nest until the larva hatch and leave. Honey Bees, even that Africanized Honey Bees do not nest in the ground.
Wasps, including Yellow Jackets, will build nests in the ground, under eaves, inside your house, anyplace the queen can find in the spring to use to build that large hive she produces.
Africanized Honey Bees are located in the southern tier of states and have not, yet, migrated north so people living north of Tennessee, Missouri, Utah will not see them.


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