Bees are seemingly docile creatures, that is until you cross paths with them. Sure, they maintain the balance in nature and make honey, but these amiable insects can cause mayhem in your household. Stinging insects like ground bees and wasps infest your backyard and garden property creating a ruckus for the inhabitants.
How to Identify Ground Bees or Mining Bees?
Ground bees or mining bees as the name suggests are bees that live on the ground and become active sometime during the spring season. These bees nest in the ground, under the soil, often in the bare patches of your backyard, lawn or garden. Mining bees are solitary creatures; they have no concept of class or colonies. The female bee usually lives alone and raises the younglings herself. Also, they hibernate during the colder months and emerge out only when the weather turns warm. Ground bees are pretty easy to identify. Ever noticed mounds or mud burrows clustering around your backyard or garden space? Chances are that there are mining bees working underneath.
The underground bees with their burrows in the ground are beneficial for the ecosystem. For starters, they aid in pollination, and secondly, they enhance the fertility of the soil. However, for all their perks, mining bees can be a problem for property owners as they have a habit of digging deep tunnel-like nests that loosens the soil. Also, their stings hurt really bad. We will talk about some simple and effective ground bee removal methods to help you get rid of these pesky creatures later in the article.
Are Ground Bees Dangerous?
Ground bees are generally very docile creatures that don’t turn aggressive unless unnecessarily provoked or threatened. A great many bees are solitary and prefer to live underground rather than hover above. The ones living underground don’t prefer to stay in colonies. This is why it is easy to upset bees when you’re not paying attention to what you’re stepping on. However, one cannot call them dangerous. It is pretty easy to spot their nesting grounds and avoid them. Usually small “balled spots” or places with no grass around indicate an insect activity underneath. In-ground bees, the males are generally more volatile though they have no stingers; females can sting but are not rattled that easy.
Do Ground Bees Sting?
Ground bees aren’t dangerous most of the time. Bees, especially the solitary ones fear human company and tend to stay away from them. Moreover, it is just the females who have stingers attached to their bodies and ground bees sting only when provoked or probed. They mostly use their tiny sharp weapons only for protecting the young ones. Ground bees are nothing like wasps or Africanised honey bees, i.e. they’re never hostile or harmful. These bees don’t swarm in large numbers over your head and go out of their way to sting the invaders into submission. All said and done, being stung by a bee (ground bees or otherwise) can cause pretty serious allergic reactions and rashes. It is best that you avoid these bees and their nests altogether.
Types of Ground Bees
A ground bee is an umbrella term used to identify every bee that builds its nest underground. They aren’t confined to just a particular color or shape, their appearance varies from place to place. The most common ground bees sport yellow and black patterns on their bodies, while others may look completely different appearing in a variety of vibrant colors ranging from metallic green to orange. Listed below are some common ground bees belonging to the classifications, Anthophoridae, Andrenidae and Halictidae;
Sweat bees are solitary and prefer to live in underground galleries relying on plants to feed their young ones rather than flying out and foraging for food. These creatures look more like wasps than bees and come in a variety of shades and sizes.
The colletidae collectively known as plasterer bees are among the most primitive extant of species on the planet. Their nests are lined by a cellophane-like lining, i.e. a secretion they use to smoothen out the walls of their burrows.
Miner bees or ground bees don’t belong to one single family. They’re a group of insects coming from at least three different classifications, the Andrenidae, the Anthophoridae, and the Halictidae. They are solitary insects who dig tunnels in the soil for nesting.
Carpenter bees look a lot like bumblebees, only they are furrier, smaller and lot less aggressive. The bees with their fur-covered black bodies, long black legs, and yellow throats are quite harmless and stay in deep burrows underground.
Bumblebees are yellow furry insects underground and come out to forage for nectar and pollens. They belong to the Apidae family and are among the only ground bees that live in colonies. Bumblebees nest only during the summer seasons and hence do not store honey.
What do ground bees eat?
Most bees feed on pollen and nectar collected from flowers that are used for nurturing their young ones. Ground bees are no different; they mainly feed on pollen grains collected from flowering plants contributing to the process of pollination. Other ground bees like carpenter bees feed on wood and plants. There are also some species of sweat bees that actually eat human sweat! Now, that’s gross. Ground bees are mainly solitary and don’t work in large colonies, hence they don’t really have any means of storing food for a long period of time like honey bees. The only time they do store food inside the cells is for the larvae that’s metamorphosing.
How to get rid of Ground Bees Naturally?
Bees belong to the order of Hymenoptera and can be clubbed in the same group as ants, wasps, and flies. So, how to kill ground bees? Just some simple home remedies and natural ingredients can do the trick for you. We have mentioned the top 10 bee control techniques that would drive away the insects without using pesticides or harm your property.
Set up Traps
You can either set up traps for the bees or simply cover their holes with heavy bricks, soil or concrete. Filling up the burrows or tarping is an eco-friendly way of keeping the bee population in check. It helps you get rid of the bees without pesticides.
Prepare a Minty Mixture
Mix two cups of peppermint castile soap and water, boil the solution and pour it in a spray bottle. Mint oil or extracts can kill just about any insects and bees are no exception. Just spray the soapy mix outside the burrows and pour some boiling hot water down the burrows.
If you want to use insecticides use a natural or organic one as it is relatively safer to use and doesn’t have many side-effects. D-force HPX is a safe option for ground bees control. It is available over the counter and contains a comparatively lesser percentage of chemicals as opposed to the more potent insecticides out there.
Use a vinegar spray
A vinegar spray is effective to remove safely the nests constructed on the ground. Before you conduct this pest control method, we recommend you wear gloves and cover your eyes as the bees might get aggressive when provoked. To prepare the mixture to add water and vinegar in equal parts, shake it well and spray it on and around the nest at night. You can even spray some of the mixtures on the plants frequented by the bees.
Zappers are a good solution for people who want to straight up exterminate ground bees. Zappers are nothing but large sheets of metal mesh or wiring that has to be installed on the boundaries of the property walls. Anything and everything that come in contact with it is instantly electrocuted and dies almost immediately. It not only keeps the flies and unwanted pests away but also keeps other threats such as thieves and trespassers at bay.
Make a soda bottle trap
A soda bottle trap attracts the bees and then traps them; they eventually drown in a solution and die a slow death. You can easily make your own soda bottle trap at home using a used soda bottle or any plastic bottle. Cut it in half and fill one portion of it with sweet soda or some fruit juice. Hang it on or around the beehive in the ground and leave it for a few days.
Water your lawn
Most of the beehives in the groundare built on dry, barren soil. The open spaces around your garden are most susceptible to mining bees. Adding loads of mulch or planting thick foliage of shrubs and trees around the places covers the ground bee holes and drives them out. Also, watering the ground regularly and leaving it moist also is a smart way to get rid of bees naturally.
Make a DIY bee spray
Don’t spend money on pesticides and insecticides; they contain dangerous chemicals that can harm you and your garden. Instead, make a DIY bee spray at home to deter the bees away. Bees are naturally attracted to certain sweet-smelling flowers, fruits, and honey. Similarly, they find the odor of mint and cinnamon to be particularly unbearable. To make this home remedy spray mix one drop of cinnamon oil, peppermint oil and tea tree oil in a cup of unscented baby shampoo. For best results, spray ample quantities of this mixture on the infestation area and leave it for a while.
Plant bee repelling shrubs
Planting some bee repelling plants, shrubs or herbs on your property is a good way to control the ground-nesting bees without using any pesticides. Eucalyptus, peppermint, or thick foliage of green grass discourages the bees from burrowing deep holes underground. Limit the open soil patches and barren land in your backyard area. Open spaces often attract bees as it’s easy to access and nest. Add a thick layer of mulch to the soil as well, the moisture keeps the bees away and also enriches the fertility of your garden.
Common kitchen spices like cinnamon, peppermint or essential oils like tea tree, lavender etc. can be used as an effective repellent to drive the bees away from your property. Sprinkling some cinnamon powder or placing some sticks near the nesting area is an effective and inexpensive solution to keep away the bees. Even mothballs, naphthalene and chloroform act as natural bee repellents.
Read Here– How to Kill Fruit Flies in Your Home
Getting rid of bees is a simple process really. However, there are times when things can go wrong, horribly wrong. Here are some precautionary measures that you need to adopt while you’re on a bee control mission to avoid getting hurt or causing any damage to the garden.
- Stay away from their nests, a ground bee has a very prominent nesting ground that you can easily spot
- Don’t provoke them unnecessarily, the female bee can sting
- Male bees are usually a lot more aggressive and though they don’t have stingers they can chase the intruder in swarms. It is best that you attack their nests at night.
- Try to drive the bees away instead of straight up exterminating them, ground bees are important for the ecosystem
- Avoid using chemicals and pesticides, they only harm the soil
- Wear protective clothing when applying sprays as the bees might attack when agitated.
The Bottom Line
Unless you are a beekeeper or a naturalist, you don’t really need a beehive in your garden, do you? Ground bees with their constant hovering often appear to be more aggressive than they really are. Why spend a fortune and call for professional pest control services when you can do it yourself? Using but a few common kitchen ingredients and taking a few precautions, you can drive the bees again or at the very least learn to coexist with them.