Over run by ground bees

Asked May 20, 2016, 1:57 PM EDT

On May 8th, we noticed small bees hovering over the front lawn and flowerbeds. Then it rained constantly for a week. The following Sunday these mounds appeared and are spreading and multiplying it seems. They are located at our front door entrance which makes it impossible to use front door. Several websites said to leave them alone, they are good pollinators and not aggressive and will only stay a few weeks. That was ok initially but now it seems they are expanding and becoming aggressive. Anything you would recommend? Also, if they are nesting now will they be here again next year? And finally, we have lived here for 30 years...why now? Could the fact that we had lawn airated for the first time be a contributing factor? Thanks for any insight you can provide!

Anne Arundel County Maryland

3 Responses

We have gotten several emails on mining bees. They are beneficial pollinators and control should be avoided if possible. They are solitary bees, not aggressive, 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.
Aeration should not be a contributing factor. Chances are they will be back next season depending on site and environmental issues. See our website for more information
http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/mining-bees-lawns
mh

We are now almost at 4 weeks. The bees seem to have lessened but now I would like to know how to get my lawn and front entrance back! There are close to 150 sandy hills throughout the lawn and flower beds now. We did cut the lawn the other night in that area (very carefully) and no major problem. I want to work in the yard and don't feel safe. I would be planting and weeding at this point but am concerned about disturbing something and getting stung. Plus it looks terrible. How do we proceed now?

Since it has almost been four weeks, you will soon see the end of your mining bees. They are not aggressive and it is unlikely that you will be stung unless you try to hold a female in your hand. We have gardened among mining bees and have not gotten stung. We also know people who have tried every insecticide (including some that we would not touch with a ten-foot pole) to kill them and have been unsuccessful. Our advice is to wait. That being said there are products that are labeled for killing them on the shelves. We cannot give you specific names since the products change constantly. If you use any of them you will be killing beneficial insects that will keep your undesirable insects under control. vw