Underground Miner Bees

Asked August 12, 2018, 1:51 PM EDT

I am a pollinator lover, but have some underground bees that I think are miner bees and they are in my patio garden, which is a safety issue. Is there a way to "chase" them away permanently, without killing them. I tried cinnamon around the hole, but that didn't work.

Oregon bees insect identification

1 Response

I’m uncertain which sort of insects you might have underground. An image of them moving in and out of the hole(s) might help clarify who is present.

Various native miner bees (also called solitary digger bees) nest underground; each one either digs its own hole or shares with one or two other bees of the same kind. They don’t sting. If this is who they are, they will complete their nesting activities shortly, typically within 6 to 8 weeks of when they began. The new generation will emerge next year at approximately the same time.

See the story about native ground-nesting bees at Sabin Elementary School which the students refer to as “tickle bees,” because they tickle when they walk on your hands. The Sabin School nesters are active early in the spring whereas other kinds are active later in the year.(https://xerces.org/2017/04/10/staff-story-the-tickle-bees-of-sabin-elementary/)

Bumble bees also nest in the soil; they are social insects which live in a colony of perhaps 100 or more individuals. Bumbles are quite docile and sting only if you deliberately disturb them. All the colony members will die by December 15 or, if it’s a mild fall and winter, January 15.

Neither solitary mining bees nor ground-nesting bumble bees can be removed permanently without killing them.