How to encourage bees to leave

Asked September 1, 2017, 11:54 AM EDT

Hello, A lovely hidden nest of little (about half-inch-long and skinny) mostly yellow bees has been established in a hole in the ground near my compost heaps. I've been stung several times now -- the sting lasts for days, so I'm not anxious for a repeat. I don't think they are yellow-jackets, and I think I've seen those bees hovering over flowers in my yard. I don't want to spray the heck out of the nest. Any suggestions for how to encourage my resident pollinators to relocate? Thanks! ~

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

That's a tough situation. Encouraging them to leave is a charitable but difficult goal. We suspect they are yellow jackets, which are beneficial, too, even though they are not pollinators, but it is still reasonable to spray them sometimes. They are almost the only wasp that form large social colonies in the ground.

There is a chance that putting a hose on the hole and flooding the nest would work for you, but it could also result in more stings. We cannot recommend it. In this situation, spraying with a hornet and wasp spray in the early evening or very early morning when they are not active, should take care of the problem.

Here is our stinging insect pub: