How to Get Rid of Ground Bees: Your Complete Guide

We'll teach you how to identify and get rid of ground bees effectively, and what to do when nothing helps
By
Phyllis McMahon
Phyllis McMahon
Research Writer
Phyllis teaches English Literature at a local college and loves writing in her free time. She’s also a great cook – her British beef Wellington is something the best res read more
reviewed
Reviewed By
Chas Kempf
Chas Kempf
Expert Consultant
Chas works in a professional pest control company and knows all the nuances of this job. Also, he’s a fantastic tennis player and loves to organize BBQ parties for his fam read more
Last updated: January 08, 2023
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The first thing that comes to everyone’s mind when they think of bees is a beehive with many bees buzzing over it. Not all bee species nest in beehives. If anything, many bee species nest underground. Although rarely harmful, ground bees can be a nuisance, boring holes in your yard and messing with your garden. The bees live in a dug-up or burrowed nest. You will know you have a ground bee’s nest when you see a hole with a pile of dirt around its entrance. If this is the case, you need to learn how to get rid of ground bees and what to do when things get out of hand.

Ground bees have a metallic appearance with yellow and black stripes. Some have green stripes. They may look like honeybees but have different characteristics. Ground bees can become a pest if they burrow in your yard, lawn, or garden. Some species, like the mining and carpenter bees, can cause construction problems.

Things You Should Know about Ground Bees

Ground bees are a species of bees that nest in the ground. According to an article by the entomology department at Cornell University Trusted Source Understanding bee diversity in New York We estimate there are 450 bee species in New York state, comprising 45 of the 425 genera of bees worldwide (Michener 2007). Our most common (and speciose) genera are Andrena, Lasioglossum, Nomada, Sphecodes, Megachile, Colletes, Osmia, Hylaeus, Melissodes, Bombus and Coelioxys. cals.cornell.edu , ground bees make up about 70% of the entire bee population. Unlike honey bees, ground bees are solitary and do not live in colonies. They are also not aggressive as other social bees. Male ground bees are a bit aggressive, but all they can do is bounce off of surfaces helplessly.

Types of Ground Bees

How to Get Rid of Ground Bees: Your Complete GuideThe common types of ground bees include;

  • Digger bees
  • Sweat bees
  • Mining bees
  • Bumblebees
  • Squash bees
  • Leafcutter bees
  • Carpenter bees
  • Mason bees
  • Cellophane bees
  • Plasterer bees

The bees have a wide range of colors, including metallic red and black, blue, green, and copper. Also, they appear in different sizes, with the largest being close to the honey bee in size.

How to Identify Ground Bees

Since ground bees don’t have a uniform look, it is easier to identify them based on their nests. The species have different nesting habits. For instance, carpenter bees are notorious for nesting in wood structures.

The first sign of a ground bees nest in your yard or garden is a couple of bees buzzing and hovering over a specific spot on the ground. Ground bees love to create nests in areas with loose soil. Therefore, places with anthills and mounds are perfect hotspots. Most ground bees excavate new homes every time they move. Bumblebees use burrows abandoned by rodents like field rats.

If you notice multiple bees flying low and using a single hole to enter the ground, you have one or more ground bees’ nests in your compound. Once you establish the scope of the invasion, you can come up with a solid extermination plan.

How Ground Bees Spread

Female ground bees lay eggs inside tunnels underground. The eggs hatch and develop underground during winter. During summer, the females come out and build tunnels underground to lay more eggs. Essentially, only one generation is born yearly, meaning their spread is less dramatic than other pests.

Why Do Ground Bees Appear in Your Yard?

How to Get Rid of Ground Bees: Your Complete GuideGround bees, like other pests, are attracted to conducive living conditions. You will see multiple burrows pop up if your yard has ideal conditions. Since ground bees are solitary, the multiple burrows don’t necessarily mean you have an uncontrollable colony in the yard.

Do not confuse ground bees with ground nesting wasps, known as yellow jackets. Ground wasps are extremely aggressive and have distinct waists whereas ground bees are rotund and harmless. If you notice ground wasps on your property, get a wasp fogger or call pest control if you don’t think you can handle the situation on your own.

Read our article on the best wasp foggers for top quality and highly effective options.

Are Ground Bees Aggressive?

Unlike wasps and social bees like honey bees, ground bees are not aggressive. They would never bother you if you don’t bother them. The females have stingers for protecting their eggs but would only sting if they feel threatened.

Male ground bees haven’t the ability to sting or hurt you. You will see them hovering and bouncing up and down around the nests during the mating season.

Should You Kill Ground Bees?

As they are a docile lot, it is not necessary to kill ground bees as they aren’t entirely useless or destructive. According to UNEP bees, including ground bees are essential to people and the planet because they are vital pollinators. Killing them can be a threat to your local eco system over time.

Even if you have children and pets who like to play in your yard, killing should not be the first thing that crosses your mind as the only way to get rid of the bees.

The best thing you can do is keep your kids and pets away from the nests then call pest control experts to deal with the infestation as soon as possible. You don’t want to be dealing with emergencies when you or your loved ones are allergic to the bee stings.

If you choose to get rid of the bees yourself, consider all the natural methods suggested below to drive the bees away.

Natural vs. Chemical Remedies

How to Get Rid of Ground Bees: Your Complete GuideYou can use either insecticides or natural ingredients to repel ground bees from your property. Be sure to use a method that will repel and drive out the ground bees away from your property instead of killing them. As mentioned before. Ground bees are vital to the ecosystem.

Some of the natural ingredients you can use to repel the bees include;

  • Garlic powder and cucumber peels: Ground bees are repulsed by the smell of garlic and cucumber. They will move and build a nest elsewhere if you use the two ingredients in your yard.
  • Vinegar: A vinegar solution can kill ground bees by drying their exoskeleton. Mix vinegar and water in equal parts and spray around the burrowed holes to repel the bees and prevent a future infestation.
  • Soap solution: This is a popular natural remedy against most insects, including bees. However, according to a journal article by Colorado State University Trusted Source Insect Control: Soaps and Detergents - 5.547 - Extension Soaps can be used to control a wide range of plant pests. Small, soft-bodied arthropods such as aphids, mealybugs, psyllids and spider mites are most susceptible to soaps. The ease of use, safety and selective action of soaps are strong advantages that appeal to many people. extension.colostate.edu , soap or detergent solution only works as a contact insecticide and beneficial insects like pollinating bees are not very susceptible to its effects.
  • Cinnamon: Bees find Cinnamon’s smell repulsing. If you sprinkle a bit of the spice on the nesting holes every day for at least a week, you will succeed at driving them away completely.

Ways to Get Rid of Ground Bees

Here are safer ways to rid your property of ground bees;

#1. Trap the Bees in Their Nests

How to Get Rid of Ground Bees: Your Complete GuideYou can trap the insects in their nests by covering their nesting holes with soil, concrete, or landscaping stones. The insects will be unable to escape and suffocate. Other bees that had left the nest will find their entrance blocked and disappear to find a new place to burrow.

Since this method brings you in close proximity to the bees, take extra caution by wearing preventive gear. Also, it is easier and safer to trap the bees at night because they would be resting.

#2. Wet the Soil

How to Get Rid of Ground Bees: Your Complete GuideGround bees prefer to build their nests in dry soil. Watering your yard or garden can send the insects away. Use a sprinkler to avoid getting close to the bees. You can add layers of mulch after watering to keep the ground wet longer. For long-term prevention, plant some vegetation to reduce the amount of lose soil you have in the yard.

#3. Use Ground Bees Zappers

How to Get Rid of Ground Bees: Your Complete GuideGround bees zappers, just like insect zappers, are a fantastic hands-off method for getting rid of ground bees. A zapper is a large sheet of metal wiring that meshes with a source of light encased in it. Hang the zapper around the infested areas in your yard, and it will electrocute any ground bees or insects that come its way. The only downside of this method is that it will kill any flying creature, including the beneficial ones like moths and butterflies.

#4. Use an Electronic Flyswatter

You can also use an electronic flyswatter to get rid of yellow jackets. All you need to do is modify it slightly. The video below shows just how to do it.

#5. Use a Ground Bee Trap

How to Get Rid of Ground Bees: Your Complete GuideBee traps are not considered the most effective method of getting rid of bees because multiple traps would be needed to catch all the bees. You can use bee traps with another method, like spraying the bees’ nests with repelling substances like vinegar. For ground bees, the case is different as they are solitary. Even the ground queen bee builds her own nest for herself and her eggs, making it easier to trap and kill her. With the queen bee gone, you can count the bees gone as well.

You can make a DIY soda bottle ground bee trap. You will need:

  • A soda bottle
  • Scissor
  • Sweet soda or fruit juice

Directions:

  • Cut the plastic soda bottle into two to get the top half and the bottom half.
  • Pour the sweet soda or fruit juice in the bottom half.
  • Place the top-half bottle cut-out upside down to create a funnel on top of the sweet soda or juice.
  • The trap is ready for use around the infested areas in your yard. The ground bees will get attracted to the sweetness of the soda or juice and will drown trying to find it.

You could also use other insect traps like a mosquito trap. Most mosquito traps can attract and kill other insects like bees. Read our article on the best propane mosquito traps to learn more about their effectiveness and the best models to buy.

#6. Use Insecticides

How to Get Rid of Ground Bees: Your Complete GuideThe market is flooded with insecticides and pesticides that can kill ground bees instantly. The chemical insecticides come in powder or spray form. The powdery options are more effective because it is easier for insects to come into contact with them on their own.

Ground bee insecticides are the most effective method of killing ground bees. However, they should be your last resort because they can cause harm to your soil and plants. Ensure you put on protective gear, including a mask and gloves, when applying insecticides. Keep your kids and pets away for their safety.

If you can’t find ground bees insecticides, use an insecticide for other pests like termites or ground wasps. The BioAdvanced termite killer is a prime example. It is highly effective and super-easy to apply. All you have to do is sprinkle water and walk away.

Ensure you wear protective gear anytime you go near a bee nest. Also, apply any of these methods at night when the bees are resting. It will be much easier and safer. For some of the methods, you have to keep repeating until the bees are all gone.

When Is It Time to Call a Professional?

Pest control professionals, or experts, always recommend calling them as the best solution to getting rid of bees and other pests. You may think it is just for profit, but mostly, it is for your safety. A pest control expert is knowledgeable and full of experience in getting rid of ground bees from a yard, garden, or lawn.

Some professionals will kill the bees to remove them and others will relocate the nests. If you feel you don’t have the time or courage to remove the ground bees from your property, get professional help. Also, if you or somebody in your home is allergic to bee stings, get help from a pest control expert immediately. Don’t put yourself or your loved ones at risk.

Final Thoughts

Although ground bees are relatively harmless, they can become a severe pest problem if they take over your garden, lawn, or yard. We have provided all the pro tips on how to get rid of ground bees. You don’t have to kill the ground bees. According to an article by Forbes Trusted Source How Do You Get Rid Of Bees In The Ground? – Forbes Home If you have a ground bee infestation, here are tips for getting rid of and keeping ground bees away from your house or yard. www.forbes.com , ground bees are vital to the eco system as they are great pollinators. You can use a natural repellant to drive them away or call in a pest control expert to relocate their nests.

Your last resort should be chemical insecticides or pesticides. They will kill the ground bees instantly but can cause harm to the grass, flowers, or crops in your garden. They also pose a danger to your children and pets.

References

1.
Understanding bee diversity in New York
We estimate there are 450 bee species in New York state, comprising 45 of the 425 genera of bees worldwide (Michener 2007). Our most common (and speciose) genera are Andrena, Lasioglossum, Nomada, Sphecodes, Megachile, Colletes, Osmia, Hylaeus, Melissodes, Bombus and Coelioxys.
2.
Insect Control: Soaps and Detergents - 5.547 - Extension
Soaps can be used to control a wide range of plant pests. Small, soft-bodied arthropods such as aphids, mealybugs, psyllids and spider mites are most susceptible to soaps. The ease of use, safety and selective action of soaps are strong advantages that appeal to many people.
3.
How Do You Get Rid Of Bees In The Ground? – Forbes Home
If you have a ground bee infestation, here are tips for getting rid of and keeping ground bees away from your house or yard.
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