Learn How to Prevent Ground Bees from Building Nests or Harming Loved Ones
Surprise: Not all bees live in hives. Many make their homes in the ground, creating tunnels that disrupt lawns and create a nuisance for people and pets alike.
In fact, out of the 20,000 different species of bees around the world, approximately 14,000 are ground bees.
Several species of ground bees are common in the New England region of the United States, including social ground nesters like bumble bees and solitary bees like miner bees and digger bees. Although most ground bees aren’t aggressive, they will sting if threatened and may swarm around the ankles and shins of people walking in the vicinity.
If unsightly tunnels or nests have you worried, learning more about what it is and the danger it presents is a good first step in getting rid of ground bees.
These bees are pollinators, making it important to consult with professionals like the experts at Catseye Pest Control to ensure the best practices are being followed to handle ground bees without harming the ecosystem.
What are Ground Bees?
As the name implies, ground bees will nest in and under the soil. Most ground bees are solitary, which means they don’t live in colonies, but the nesting sites can be located near each other. Each female typically digs its own nest by creating tunnels that range from around 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch in diameter.
Some ground bees find holes made by small animals and will nest inside the hole.
Most ground bees are small, meaning no more than around 3/4-inch long. Depending on the species, the pest may have colors ranging from black, yellow, green, blue, copper, and metallic red.
Types of Ground Bees
There are a variety of ground bees, which can be seen in different colors and sizes. Some of the ground bees common to areas of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire include:
- Bumble Bees: Unlike other types of ground bees, bumble bees build underground hives, either burrowing into the soil or repurposing an existing hole. These bees are typically black and yellow with fuzzy abdomens.
- Cellophane Bees: These bees are one of the first emerging spring pollinators in the Northeast. They have dark heads and bodies with dark and light hair — also known as pile, and white or ivory stripes. Female cellophane bees can sting if they are stepped on or picked up.
- Sweat Bees: These ground bees are attracted to human sweat, so they may fly around people who are outdoors. Sweat bees don’t commonly sting, but females can sting if their nests are disturbed. Some sweat bees are dull or metallic black, but others are more colorful, coming in shades of metallic purple, blue, and green.
- Miner/Digger Bees: Males can be aggressive but don’t have stingers; females can sting when threatened. These bees are small with velvet-like facial patches. They may be furry and have a bright stripe or metallic-green color.
Ground Bee Dangers & Damage
One of the telltale signs of ground bees is the presence of low-flying bees that go into the soil using a single hole.
Property owners may also find what looks like anthills and mounds that the bees use to make their nests.
Although one or two ground bee nests aren’t likely to cause significant damage, if enough bees move into your outdoor space, it can cause problems, especially if the bees create nests in areas where you garden, mow, or otherwise spend time.
If you inadvertently disturb a nest, female ground bees may sting in retaliation. Some species have venom that causes a burning sensation. Others retain their stinger after stinging a person or animal, which could result in multiple stings in a single episode. Although the venom isn’t poisonous, it can trigger an allergic reaction in some people.
Tips for Safe Ground Bee Removal or Prevention
Wondering how to prevent ground bees naturally? Discourage ground bees from setting up shop with these preventive tips that can help prevent ground bees and other bees by making the space less hospitable:
- Till and enrich the soil with organic matter.
- Plant additional shrubs, ground cover, grasses, and other vegetation.
- Maintain soil moisture with frequent watering and adding mulch in bare spots.
- Avoid planting flowers that bloom in early spring and have brightly colored flowers.
- Add plants that repel ground bees, including petunias, lavender, citronella, geraniums, and marigolds.
Well intentioned DIYers may do more harm than good when attempting to go at bee prevention and removal alone.
For starters, if you’re not sure about what kind of ground bee you’re dealing with, you could mistakenly do battle with another kind of bee or wasp. For example, yellow jackets look like ground bees, but these aggressive ground nesting wasps can certainly sting you.
Trying to treat nests on your own can aggravate the bees. Remember, bees will sting if the nest is threatened.
And a single bee sting can lead to a variety of reactions — including hives, itching, or swelling at the sting site, in addition to more severe reactions like difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat, or tongue.
You might see misleading advice online or from friends and family about how to remove ground bees on your own by filling in the holes. Unfortunately, this won’t fix the problem. It will only cause the bees to create more holes to establish new entrances and exits.
And it can be extremely dangerous if it isn’t handled properly, making it essential to work with a trusted expert in bee control.
In fact, to ensure that the situation is handled properly, working with a knowledgeable professional is absolutely vital.
Professional Ground Bee Control & Removal at Catseye
Whether ground bees are creating a buzz at your home or business, a stress-free outdoor space without worrying about disturbing a nest or enduring painful stings is a must-have.
Professionals not only help prevent future problems, but they can also handle proper removal of miner bees, cellophane bees, and other types of bees, hornets, and wasps with the utmost care for optimal results.
Bee control and nest removal services from Catseye offers prevention as well as nest removal. Our experienced technicians have the skills and equipment to efficiently rid properties of ground bees without causing further problems.
This service includes an inspection of the property to determine problem areas and then a solution that has been tailored to meet the unique needs of the home or business.
Then, our pest management professionals will treat and remove the nests — often in a single visit. It’s important to know that some bee species may require special removal techniques and additional service visits.
Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a free inspection.