Ground bees hide away, and the moment you step on a hive, you’ll quickly find yourself running in the opposite direction as bees follow close behind. Sweat bees are solitary ground bees, so they’ll remain in the ground and are unlikely to attack even if their hives are disturbed.
But other species are more aggressive and will sting in defense of their hives.
If you want to know how to get rid of ground bees or remove a ground bee nest, you’ll need to learn about the bees choosing your ground as their home.
Table of Contents
- 9 Ground Bee Facts and Questions
- 1. What Do Ground Bees Eat?
- 2. What Attracts Ground Bees?
- 3. Where Do Ground Bees Live?
- 4. Ground Bees Have a Variety of Colors
- 5. Ground Bees Are Often Small
- 6. All Ground Bees Are in the Hymenoptera Order
- 7. There Are Many Types of Ground Bees
- 8. Mating Season is Between March and May
- 9. Females Are Responsible for Burrowing
- 3 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Ground Bees Effectively
9 Ground Bee Facts and Questions
1. What Do Ground Bees Eat?
The ground bee eats pollen and nectar to subsist. If dealing with the sweat bee, these small bees will eat human sweat, too. Honey bees, on the other hand, will eat honey in the larvae stage.
An interesting fact is that the honey bee queen is fed royal jelly.
2. What Attracts Ground Bees?
Ground bees are attracted to soil that’s dry and easy to tunnel into. If a small rodent has made tunnels in the ground, the bee may choose these tunnels as their home to alleviate the work needed to make a hive.
3. Where Do Ground Bees Live?
This is an easy question to answer: the ground. Bees will make tunnels in the ground, up to six inches into the soil, and they may have advanced tunnels that connect to other cells. Since these bees are solitary, they live in their own cells.
There are also eusocial species of ground bees. This is a species that will join and share jobs among their colony mates. These bees are smaller in number, but they will work together and may connect their tunnels and passageways despite being solitary in nature.
4. Ground Bees Have a Variety of Colors
Many species make up the hymenoptera order of bees (ground bees). Since there are different species, they have different characteristics. Color is one of those characteristics that differ the most.
The color of these bees may be:
These bees can also have a metallic color.
5. Ground Bees Are Often Small
Every species is different in size, but bees that make nests in the ground are smaller in size. These bees range from 0.125” to 0.5” in length. It’s uncommon to find a ground bee that exceeds half an inch in size. During the research, we found some interesting pictures of this species.
6. All Ground Bees Are in the Hymenoptera Order
What are ground bees? They are insects, but they’re more specifically bees of the hymenoptera order. This order of bees contains different families. These families include:
These families will better help you understand the species of bee you’re dealing with.
7. There Are Many Types of Ground Bees
Ground bee pictures will show a variety of bees that look similar, but they’re all very different, too. This is due to the family the bee is associated with. The species, or names, that you may know are:
- Halactidae – A type of sweat bee that prefers salt soils. These bees have a black abdomen, iridescent yellow stripes, and they pollinate areas that other bees cannot.
- Apidae – The bumblebee is part of this family. Bumblebees are yellow and black with fuzzy hairs to collect pollen. Unlike other ground-dwelling bees, these bees are social. Not all bumble bees choose to make a nest in the ground.
- Megachilidae – Leafcutter bees live in rotting wood, or in plants that are thick, and they’ll often be found in the ground as a result. These bees have light stripes on their abdomen, and they’re darker than honey bees.
- Andrenidae – Digger bees are also called chimney bees. These bees are often brightly striped, or they may be metallic green in color.
- Hallctidae – Sweat bees belong to this family, and they’re one of the most diverse group of bees in the world. These bees are often metallic or a dull black color, but they may be blue, green or purple, too.
So, if you want to know how to get rid of ground bees, you need to be able to determine the exact family you’re dealing with. A professional exterminator will be able to identify the proper family a bee belongs to, and the appropriate measures can be taken for removal.
8. Mating Season is Between March and May
The mating season of these bees is between March and May. You’ll often find males hovering over a female trying to initiate intercourse. Oftentimes, the female will reject the male, but when they don’t, the mating process will begin.
If you can keep these bees at bay between these months, you’ll effectively stop the colony from spreading, reducing future bees from pestering you during the summer months.
9. Females Are Responsible for Burrowing
Depending on the family, the female will be responsible for burrowing. The sweat bee female is the queen of her colony, which is small with 40 bees or less in the colony. The female will burrow into the ground and will create nests where eggs are laid.
She’ll even fill the burrows with eggs, pollen and nectar to feed the larvae when they hatch.
3 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Ground Bees Effectively
The best form of ground bee control is prevention. If you’re able to stop the problem before it begins, you won’t have to spend the time or energy to remove the bees in the first place. The prevention method will be discussed first.
Keep in mind that bees are pollinators, and these bees shouldn’t be controlled unless it’s necessary.
Pesticides and a professional extermination should be the last resort if these bees are a problem. Pollinators are required for agriculture and pollination.
1. Prevention Works Best
The best prevention is to know how to keep ground bees away in the first place. Two of the best prevention methods are:
- Increase Watering: Ground bees require a drier soil to build burrows that are stable. A simple increase in your watering routine will keep the soil unstable for the burrows. Bees that are living in the burrow will either die, or they’ll fly away and try to find a new place to burrow next season.
- Limit Open Soil Patches: Bees don’t want to work hard to make their nest and burrow into the ground. The process is difficult, and open space with easy access to soil attracts bees. Thicker grass or foliage, or even the addition of mulch, will help to deter the bees from coming to your yard to make a nest.
These are quick and easy prevention methods that you can use to help control the ground bee population.
2. Use Ground Bee Repellent
What ground be repellent works best? This depends on the species. We’ll discuss what repels ground bees most often so that you can keep these bees away in a responsible manner. Remember, the declining bee population demands that people try their best to repel and prevent bees rather than kill them.
Commercial repellents are available, but an easy homemade bee repellent can be made, too.
A common repellent includes:
- 2- 3 teaspoons of liquid soap
- 3 – 4 drops of peppermint extract
- 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Add all the ingredients above into a spray bottle and fill the remaining space with water. Shake up the mixture and spray away around your yard and flowers. This mixture can be sprayed on the ground, too.
This will repel the bees in a responsible way.
There are other natural repellents, too. If the spray above isn’t enough, you can use:
- Garlic powder, sprinkled where the bees are nesting
- Citronella candles lit in the yard
- Cucumber peels thrown into the yard will deter bees
If you use these repellents, you’ll keep the bees away while allowing them to pollinate plants and flowers still.
3. Exterminate or Kill Ground Bees
If you want to know how to kill ground bees, call an exterminator and have them come out to give you an estimate. Exterminators can remove a large hive, or they can use pesticides to kill the bees.
You can use DIY methods to get rid of ground bees, too.
A few of the most common commercial products and insecticides used to kill ground bees are:
- Insecticide Dust – Delta Dust provides an insecticide that kills almost all kinds of bees. This dust can be sprinkled around your yard, and it will kill bees and wasps as well as ants, crickets, spiders, slugs and over a dozen other insects, too. Keep in mind that this product cannot be sold in NY or CT.
- Sprays – A variety of sprays can be used to directly hit and kill bees. Spectracide is a foaming aerosol that can be sprayed into the nest or at the bee to kill it.
Sprays and dusts work best if you’re trying to kill ground bees. Remember that these sprays and insecticides can and will kill other insects, too. Dusts cannot distinguish between a bee, ant, ladybug or other insect, so it will kill any insects that it comes in contact with. Many of these insects play a major role in the local ecosystem, so killing them isn’t beneficial.