"How to get rid of ground bees" is a question many homeowners face during the summer months. While ground bees are not normally aggressive and the male cannot sting, it can be unnerving to have numerous bees buzzing low around an otherwise peaceful backyard lawn--especially during a family picnic. In addition, the presence of ground bees can indicate an unhealthy lawn. Finally, some of those bees in the lawn may actually be aggressive wasps! This site is designed to give a quick and informative summary for those experiencing a problem with ground bees.
Do you have ground bees? You'll notice low flying bees in and around your lawn. There will be a series of mounds the size of ant hills, but with larger holes with just one bee emerging from each mound. In addition, the lawn will most likely be dry and unhealthy looking (above image credits: NCSU.edu). Ground bees tend to prefer south facing slopes composed of sandy soil. Thousands of ground bee nests can appear in a small area on your lawn.
Ground Bees, What Do They Look Like? Ground bees are 1/2 to 3/4 inch in length. T'hey have a metallic look which might appear green, reddish, purple, blue, yellow or black.
Most of the ground bees buzzing around your lawn are males looking for females. The male ground bee cannot sting. The female ground bee can sting, but only does so if you grab her, or step on her. On the other hand, ground bees actually provide a beneficial service by pollinating all the nearby flowers!
Your lawn was likely unhealthy, sandy and sloped south. (image credits: osu.edu)
Your first line of defense is prevention:
We're assuming your lawn is unhealthy, and tends to be dry and sandy.
Do the above 5 things (we suggest early spring or mid-fall as the best time) and you will have more than a 90% chance of never seeing a ground bee in your lawn.
On the other hand, if you already have a ground bee problem...
To get rid of ground bees -- those thousands of low flying bees in your sandy, south-facing slope of a lawn -- don't use chemicals. Pesticides can be dangerous to humans, and to beneficial insects. Who wants to have a backyard picnic on a lawn sprayed with pesticide? Fortunately there's a simpler way to get rid of ground bees. Put lots of water on them! This creates two beneficial results: Water encourages the ground bees to find another home, and helps bring your lawn back to life. In fact, for even better results, work some mulch into the sandy soil before you water. For the best results, follow the prevention steps above and completely replant your lawn.
Okay, not everybody wants to, or is able to get out in the backyard and take the measures necessary to rid their lawn of ground bees. Perhaps it's a second property, the property of an elderly adult, or you're working long hours, or you'd rather spend your spare time sailing, at the yacht club or in an exotic vacation location. No worries...
Do you think you have a ground bee problem? Don't wait until they set up a ground bee empire in your backyard and turn your entire lawn into swiss cheese. Have ground bees quickly and safely eliminated from your yard.