Ground Nesting Bees

A dirt pile like this one is a sign that you have ground bees nesting in your lawn. (Courtesy: Pestguy)

A dirt pile like this one is a sign that you have ground bees nesting in your lawn.
(Courtesy: Pestguy)

Have you ever surveyed your lawn in early spring and noticed little burrows or dirt piles? These piles are signs of ground nesting bees.

Ground nesting or miner bees are a solitary species of bee that create their nests underground with galleries where queen bees live individually and take care of their own young. Unlike other species of bee including bumblebees and honeybees, they do not form hives.

Ground bee queens do not attempt to protect their young and are very docile and unlikely to sting. The males commonly frequent the area patrolling for females who are seeking mates. The male bees are also docile. They may be very active and even appear aggressive. However, they don’t have a sting and are harmless. Like other bees, they are foraging for nectar and pollen.

Although the little burrows may appear unattractive, they do not pose a threat to your lawn. In fact, they actually enhance it because the holes also serve to aerate the lawn and permit the penetration of water and nutrients.

After the spring nesting season, the ground bees leave and the soil washes back into place until the holes ultimately disappear.

There is really no need to do anything about these bees or their nests. Many homeowners simply leave them alone. Still, if you wish to rid your property of them you can do it without the use of pesticides. The fact is these bees favor dry soil to nest in. Watering the area will cause them to leave.

A colletes inaequalis also known as a ground nesting bee. (Courtesy: United States Geological Survey Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Laboratory via Wikimedia Commons)

A colletes inaequalis also known as a ground nesting bee.
(Courtesy: United States Geological Survey Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Laboratory via Wikimedia Commons)

If you have a problem of ground nesting bees returning to your lawn year after year and you want to rid your property of them, run a sprinkler in the area before they show up. When they appear, they will find the soil to be too wet to inhabit and go somewhere else.

Another specie of bee that nest in your lawn is yellow jackets. Unlike the docile ground-nesting bees, yellow jackets are very aggressive. So aggressive in fact that they will attack if you use water to get rid of them.

The yellow jackets begin to appear soon after the ground bees leave their nests. They tend to occupy old rodent burrows, holes between tree roots and cavities in structures. Actually, yellow jackets are not bees, but a specie of wasp. They do not feed on pollen, but rather prey on other insects and nectar.

Fertilized yellow jacket queens appear in early spring and search for a suitable place to build a nest. Once found, the queen builds the next, lays her eggs and once they hatch she feeds the young, who grow into workers and feed the larvae. Yellow jacket workers are seen foraging as early as June. Their peak season is late summer and early fall.

If yellow jackets are a problem on your property, seek assistance from a professional to get rid of them. They have the proper tools and equipment to do the job.

About Robert Janis

Written by Robert Janis for LawnEq - Your specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable manufacturers.

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