Ground Bees -- PLEASE HELP!

Asked May 12, 2015, 4:18 PM EDT

We've had problems for years with ground bees burrowing - and spreading - in our front and side yard. We've lived near the Loch Raven watershed 20+. I'm uncertain when the bees first appeared, but they usually appear in May, as large ant-hill-type hills start appearing with bees swarming just above the ground. They moved from the grass to the pachysandra. We've tolerated them, despite my husband being stung while mowing over them once in the late 1990s. The colony has been spreading, year by year. From 2008, 2009 & 2011 we resorted to professional chemical spraying, which did kill off the swarming bees, but did nothing to kill the underground eggs. Last year we did a full court press: excessive watering, spreading Borax, covering the area with plastic sheeting to prevent access to holes, and finally roto-tilling then laying a lot of new sod (as the grass was getting sparser and sparser as the bees invaded). It's about time for the bees to make their annual appearance. If they come back despite all our efforts, what can we do to eradicate them? We welcome your feedback. Thanks.

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

You may be referring to mining bees. They are beneficial pollinators and control should be avoided if possible. They are solitary bees and seldom sting. Their activity is usually brief about several weeks. They like exposed soil and good drainage. In flower beds, you may want to lay landscape fabric down and cover with several inches of mulch to discourage them. In lawn areas, seed in the fall to thicken up your stand of turf. There are no easy answers. See our website for more information