It may surprise you to know that around 70% of the U.S. bee species nests underground. Finding ground bees in your garden can feel scary. It’s natural to feel that way, but they aren’t as dangerous as you think.
Ground bees are beneficial to your garden. They are essential to our ecosystem as pollination can’t happen without bees.
You may want to get rid of ground bees. Before doing that, it’s crucial to learn more about them.
Remember, when in doubt, call a professional. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell how large an underground nest is or the kind of pest. You might need help.
Never remove bees alone if you have an allergy. Ask for help or hire someone.
Where possible, use methods that offer you protection but also ensure the safety of the bees. Here’s a look at how to get rid of ground bees. There are several methods you can try yourself.
What are Ground Bees?
Ground bees make nests underground rather than hive on a tree branch like honey bees. There are several different species, which include:
- Mining bees
- Sweat bees
- Blueberry bees
- Carpenter bees
Unlike honey bees that live in colonies, ground bees tend to have solitary lives. Bumblebees are an exception as they create colonies. Female bees can sting while male bees cannot.
Ground bees find holes made by another animal and use that as their nest. They’ll make a small mound of dirt around the entrance from digging tunnels.
Ground bees are good for your garden. Females burrow underground to lay their eggs. They make intricate tunnels that help to aerate the soil. Of course, they also help with pollination.
Although beneficial, ground bees can become a problem. Sweat bees will hover around in the summer months and can be a nuisance. Carpenter bees sometimes live in wooden structural beams and can cause damage.
How Do I Know It’s a Ground Bee?
Ground bees come in a variety of colors and sizes. It isn’t easy to tell the difference between the flying, stinging pests that live in our gardens.
You must be sure that they are ground bees before attempting to remove any nests. Other pests might be dangerous and need alternate methods of removal.
Here are the critters we confuse the most:
- Ground Bees – They nest anywhere from 2 inches to 2 feet underground and aren’t easy to agitate. Ground bees aren’t aggressive. They won’t disturb you if you leave them alone.
- Hornets – They use paper-thin sheets to build nests that look like teardrops. Hornets are very aggressive and can be dangerous.
- Yellowjackets – These are some of the most dangerous pests. Their nests look like those of a hornet. They will also eat through wood and drywall to make nests in there. Yellowjackets are the most aggressive.
- Wasps – You can tell a wasp, by the way, their legs dangle when they are flying. Wasps make nests anywhere they like, most often in attics. Wasps are aggressive.
Once you identify the ground bees, you can get rid of them.
How to Get Rid of Ground Bees
There are two main ways to get rid of ground bees: naturally or chemically. There are various methods under each branch.
You may need to call a professional if you have a big ground bee issue. Pest controllers will either use natural or chemical methods to move the bees.
Try your best to move ground bees without killing them.
Here are the best ways to get rid of ground bees. It’s best to try most of these methods at night to avoid stings.
1. Cover the Nest
Block the entrance to the ground bee’s nest using bricks, stones, or other coverings. They won’t be able to tunnel down to lay eggs. The ground bees will leave to find a new place once they realize their nest is gone.
Getting rid of ground bees using this method is safer than with chemicals. You will save your soil and the bees.
Never use this method if you are allergic to bees. Ground bees aren’t aggressive, but being close to their nest might make them feel threatened. They might sting you, so ask someone for help.
2. Dampen the Soil
Here’s an interesting fact, ground bees make their nests in dry soil. Spray the area where you suspect they built their nest. It’s better to use a sprinkler. The wet soil will send them packing.
You can prevent them from coming back by watering your garden every day. Some places have water restrictions. You can pour water over the spots you had ground bees before.
3. Use Cinnamon, Peppermint, or Cucumbers
Ground bees don’t like the scent of cinnamon, peppermint, and cucumbers. You can sprinkle some cinnamon around the entrance of their nest. Do this every day for a week.
You could also place cucumbers or peppermint oil around the entrance.
It’s better to use this method as a last resort. You have to get close to the nest, which is sometimes dangerous. Again, don’t do this if you have allergies.
4. Make a Vinegar Spray
You can make a homemade solution to get rid of ground bees. Mix one cup of water with one cup of vinegar, put it into a bottle, and spray the nest.
It will also get rid of grub worms and fungus gnats, which is a bonus.
5. Build a Sugary Trap
Ground bees are usually solitary. They also love sugary treats like honey bees.
You can pour a little syrup or soda into a bottle. Put it outside the entrance to the ground bee nest. It will fly in and become trapped. You might kill it using this method.
6. Ground Bee Pesticides
There is a wide range of ground bee pesticides available at most home improvement stores. There are many varieties like dust, liquid, or spray.
Most pesticides come with detailed instructions on the correct application. Usually, you’ll spray the nest and observe it over 24 hours. Watch for activity and spray again if necessary.
7. Use the Power of Plants
There are many plants that ground bees detest. Planting them in your garden can act as a deterrent. These plants include:
- Pitcher Plants
You must have a plan when you get rid of ground bees. Start by identifying the nest and ensuring they are ground bees. Next, choose the method you like best. Finally, put the plan in place.
A Word of Caution Before Getting Rid of Ground Bees
It is safer to use the natural methods of driving the ground bees away than trying to exterminate them on your own. Extermination methods often involve chemicals. These are bad for your family, garden, and the environment.
It’s better to try these methods at night when the ground bees are sleeping. Male bees can’t sting you, but they will swarm and that’s quite scary. Female bees will sting.
When Should I Hire a Professional?
There are many reasons to hire a professional to help you get rid of ground bees.
Many people lack the time and resources to get rid of pests on their own. Hiring someone to do the job is often easier.
Maybe you tried to get rid of the ground bees on your own or are too afraid to try. Pest controllers can help.
Avoid using DIY methods if you are unsure or anxious. A professional will happily help you with the problem.
If you are allergic to bees and live alone, rather call a professional. It’s important to be extra cautious in this situation.
Ground bees are good for your garden and aren’t a threat. They can become bothersome and dangerous if they start nesting too close to the house.
These methods will help you get rid of ground bees. If you feel afraid to try it yourself or have an allergy, call a professional.