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How to Get Rid of Ground Bees

The Guide to Getting Rid of Ground Bees

maryland-ground-bee-on-leaf

When thinking about bees, many homeowners picture beehives with bees buzzing through the air. While ground bees in Maryland can fly, not all bees live in hives like honeybees do.

In fact, a staggering 70% of bee species in the U.S. nest underground.


When it comes to ground bees in Maryland, you might be surprised if you stumble upon a nest in your yard. Homeowners think they need help to deal with ground bees, but the truth is that there are steps you can take yourself to ward off these unwanted guests without the involvement of a professional.

What Are Ground Bees?

baltimore-mining-bee-nest-in-ground

Also known as mining bees and digger bees, ground bees burrow into the ground to nest. Unlike honeybees, ground bees are solitary and do not live in colonies.


Female ground bees go underground to lay their eggs inside tunnels in the ground. You can easily identify a ground bee nest. It’s a small pile of dirt with a large hole in the center. This is where the female tunnels go inside to lay eggs.

These eggs hatch underground, and the hatched bees spend wintertime underground. In the summer, they come back out, in spring and the females begin digging tunnels again to lay eggs.

What Do Ground Bees Look Like?

Ground bees come in different sizes and shades of color. The largest species is about the size of a honeybee. The large variation is furry and darker than a honeybee. You may also see ground bees that are metallic green or have bright stripes.

The term “ground bee” is not coined to a single species of bee. Any bee variation that burrows underground can be considered a ground bee.

The Good Things About Ground Bees

While many homeowners want to get rid of ground bees, you should know that there are some benefits to keeping them around.

Do Ground Bees Sting?

First, unlike social bees and wasps, ground bees are not aggressive. They generally won’t bother you if you don’t bother them. Females have stingers but won’t sting you unless they feel threatened.

Male ground bees are often seen hovering around the underground nests. The males are not equipped to sting or hurt you. The worst they will do to you is chase you away.

Ground Bees Help Gardens Grow

maryland-ground-bee-pollinating-flowers

Ground bees are also pollinators. Pollinators are an incredibly important part of the ecosystem here in Maryland.

Should I Kill Ground Bees?

It’s understandable if you don’t want ground bees living in your yard. Perhaps you have young children around or you might have an allergy to bees. Whatever the reason, there are ways to get rid of ground bees without killing them.

Ground bees are generally docile in comparison to honeybees. And killing them can be a threat to the ecosystem over time.

Instead of killing ground bees, try the following with caution.

How to Get Rid of Ground Bees

The Brody Brothers team does not recommend using any type of chemical to get rid of ground bees. This attempt can backfire and potentially cause harm to pets or children. There are safer ways to approach removal.

Safer ways to approach the removal of ground bees include:

Cover the Nesting Holes (Habit modification)


Blocking access to the underground nest will prevent the bees from tunneling back inside to lay eggs. Once the bees realize they can’t get back into their nest, they will likely disappear and find a new place to burrow.

It should be mentioned that most calls for removal stem from properties with poor soil in need of amending. Ground bees often nest in bare, well-drained soil areas where grass does not do well. If amending the soil and planting dense turf is not an option, you can use other methods such as landscaping fabric and mulch. This will stop ground bees from accessing your soil and have them move on.

If you are allergic to bees, however, please do not attempt to do this on your own. Close proximity to bees can result in stings.


Wet the Soil

Ground bees burrow their nests in dry soil. The act of watering your lawn may be enough to send the bees elsewhere. You may have to try watering multiple times for this method to be effective, however. Consider using a sprinkler so you don’t have to come in close contact with
the holes.


A Word of Caution When Getting Rid of Ground Bees
There are precautions to take before moving forward with any of the above methods.

First, driving the bees away is a much safer approach than attempting to exterminate them on your own. As mentioned, the use of chemicals and pesticides is ill-advised. It’s harmful to children, pets, and the soil.

Secondly, since DIY methods can ultimately aggravate bees, try implementing these methods at night when the bees are asleep. Remember: females can sting if provoked. Males won’t sting you, but they can swarm and chase you.

If you have – or suspect you may have – a bee allergy, DO NOT ATTEMPT THESE APPROACHES. Stings from a female ground bee can result in a severe allergic reaction. If allergies exist, arranging for professional removal may be necessary.

6 responses to “How to Get Rid of Ground Bees

  1. I have the mining bees every year. I hate the mounds they make on my yard. Is there anything I can use to deter them? I have tried everything I can think of, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, lime, even baby powder. Nothing I am doing seems to work. So, when they leave, must I dig up my yard to get rid of the eggs and how deep would I have to dig to rid myself of these bees. They are an annoyance to me.

  2. Are ground bees only in the area of the nests when laying eggs? Will they move on after some time?

  3. Hello,
    It’s been two years now since we’ve noticed bumble bees near the foundation. They gently crawl down along the foundation, same spot every year. We have noticed 2 holes right next to the foundation of our sunroom ( 3 season room). The bees are constantly on my perineal, autumn sadom .
    Can they do damage to our foundation.
    Sincerely,
    Diane

  4. I am In Michigan and have ground bee’s I went out too weed my flower garden and all of a sudden I was being stung by these bees. I didn’t get into their nest, but I was near it. I had 3 really good stings. I quit. My yard looks good but flower beds are full of weeds,

  5. We live in costal Yucatan …and during construction of our new storage building, the ground bees have become aggressive to the point we must get rid of them.
    So far, chemical spray and fire have had no effect. Any ideas?

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