Sunday, June 22, 2008

Ground Bees and their control

Ground bees come in all shapes and sizes. Some are great in number and some live by themselves. Ground bees can incorporate wasps, bumble bees, yellow jackets, cicada killers, and digger wasps. Some are dangerous and some not so bad. So what's a person to do?
If you encounter a swarm of low flying black wasps or bees in your garden then you have an infestation of digger wasps or ground digging bees. They are not very aggressive and most cases you can walk through them without getting stung. As always, if you are or suspect that you are allergic then stay clear of all bees and wasps.
If you encounter large bees a few inches long then you have a case of cicada killers. Again, not very aggressive.
Yellow jackets and bumble bees can attack so be careful.
The best way to handle most of these ground bees is to dust their holes with a good insecticide dust. These dusts can be bought online at do it yourself pest control products stores. A good dust to look for is apicide, tempo, or delta dust. If dealing with yellow jackets or bumble bees use extreme caution, dust in the evening, or call a professional exterminator.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

I once read a "cocktail" ( safe cocktail " to feed the harmless underground bee that digs holes & swarm on the lawn. Anyone have that available ? It was Dish detergent ?? Clorox ?? & Insect spray ?? Am I right ?

Melinda said...

I have tried something that I read and it worked great! I waited until after dark when I did this. Spray a bucket thoroughly with Raid or any inspect spray, and let it sit all night as well as a few hours in the morning to insure all bees are dead. Worked well and all the bees are gone. There were hundreds inside the bucket, and I am sure underground contained some dead bees also. We have had no more since. Hated to have to resort to this measure, but after multiple stings, and my husband was getting stung when he mowed, we just had to do it. Hope this helps.

Billy Mac said...

Interesting Melinda...when you say you sprayed the bucket....after that did you place the bucket over the hole? Interesting idea.

Anonymous said...

I use a 3'x3' wire screen placed over the hole at night and spray the hole with a bee spray. Then I place a small shovel of sand over the hole. I usually see no activity after that.

Billy Mac said...

Great ideas all around!

Anonymous said...

I sprayed the hole with raid and then layed my bug zapper over the hole. I got them coming and going.

joe said...

Last fall I notices a few "ant-type" sand hills on the lawn & did nothing. Today, I went out there & about 1/4 of my 1 acre property is swarming with them! A
ton of bees that look like honey bee but are only black & grey! HELP!!

Seth-Troy,NY said...

I've got the same problem, there must be 100's of holes near my garden and garage. The solutions for one or two holes do not apply, these things are everywhere. Are they temporary?

jessica2020 said...

Last spring around this time I had ground bees in my entire front yard, well the parts where grass was not thick and there was a struggle between grass, weeds and dirt...another issue in its own. However, I had what seemed like hundreds of "ant hills," but the hills were homes to ground bees. I went to Home Depot and purchased the Selvin (spelling?) powder to kill them, I am not sure if the product worked, but after a few weeks the bees were gone. This spring the bees have returned. It appears that they come in the first few weeks of spring, but do not stay. I still do not have a way to kill them, and would love some help. Let me know what you all have found as a solution.

Paul said...

I live in south Georgia and the past couple of years I have had some kind of bee that drills a hole into the ground with a small mound around it. I have hundreds of these things in my yard. I have observed them flying in and out of there hole. has anyone else had such a problem and can you offer some advice as to getting rid of them, also what kind of bee is this?

Bob J said...

I tried the dust last year and they are back again. Seems like twice as many tiny little holes. Will try the Selvin (SP) and see if that works. You are correct. they hit the challenged areas of the lawn..

Anonymous said...

mike i got the same here in williamsburg va i think i might set on fire to see if it works but will try anyhting highly allergic to bees so any help would be great

Ken C said...

I have hundreds of these bees swarming in a bed next to my foundation. They are very quick moving and active. I sprayed the ground with Sevin hooked up to my hose a few times at night last year and they finally left. They have come back again this year and after two sprayings, they still are here. They appear to make there own individual holes. Maybe they will lay eggs and leave. Can any one identify this bee and offer a suggestion to get rid of them. I can't cut the lawn with them there,

richard said...

i live in North New Jersey and i have these bees all over my front lawn and the grass is in good shape. The ant like hills with good size holes and the bees buzzing all around. what can i do????

Anonymous said...

I live in monmouth county nj, and i get these every year. The yard looks ugly for a few weeks with these "anthill" looking patches, but the bees don't seem to be aggressive, I'm told they pollinate which is important, and then after a few weeks they are gone - so i do nothing.l

Anonymous said...

I also live in northern NJ, Morris county - and it seems like these ground bees moved in about 2weeks ago! I have many holes in a bare spot of the garden where I dug up Pachysandras with the intention of planting grass. It sounds like the bees might leave on their own soon? Should I do nothing and hope they don't sting my kids?

Anonymous said...

I also live in northern New Jersey and have had ground bees in my front lawn from time to time. We've never had a problem; my husband just mows right over the nests and they don't react. My understanding is that there is a large variety of flying insects that will bore holes into the ground--some dangerous and some not so much. It is a good idea to find out what insect you are dealing with and then react appropriately. Bees are important for pollination and it is a shame to kill them unnecessarily. Good luck!

JJ said...

Not a practical solution but I thought I'd share it anyway. Had several very aggressive bee-yellow jacket nests in my upstate NY lawn until one night I peered out into the moonlight to see a skunk furiously digging and snapping his jaws. Could hear it's teeth clicking from my bedroom window. This went on for several nights and wouldn't you know it! No more bees of any kind about. Bless that critter I have a new appreciation for their kind.
In past years I would avoid bee/wasp nests for the most part or wait until very late at night for troublesome nests when they are cold and slow and suck them out with my shop vac. followed up by soaking the hole with a good pesticide and the contents of my vacuum. Good Luck.

Anonymous said...

I had a large nest near a fenceline once. I took a garden hose and set the thin nozzle of the sprayer on a gentle force and, way after dark, pushed the thin nozzle into the groundbee entrance with the water flowing softly. I didn't want a force of the water to dig the hole wider or flop out and spray everything but the bees. With the gentle filling of their nest with tap water for an hour, the bees were entirely gone by the next day. The steady soaking destroyed their nest and young and they had nothing to come back to. I poured a small amount of old motor oil down into the hole to really make it unpleasant and unlivable for them.

Be extremely careful when approaching a ground bee nest even at night. These bees can fly at night and are attracted to your body heat. Have an escape plan.

I shoved the water hose nozzle into the opening and ran like a deer to safety in a nearby slide-in truck camper with all the windows and door shut. Good thing. At least a hundred bees escaped and swarmed the security lights nearby. It was scary like a horror movie scary watching them swarm and sting the lights.

Walk very softly when approaching the nest while wearing shoes you can run for your life in (seriously, these bees are dangerous). Run in a zig zag pattern because most bees fly in a straight line. If you are physically unable to run for your life in any situation then get someone else to do the soaking for you.

Anonymous said...

I live in Iowa and I just noticed what appears to be bumble bees living underground right beside the foundation of my house.I killed a couple by stomping on them and a couple more by spraying them with a high pressure hose. I went inside for a few minutes and when I returned to put my hose away, there were dozens of them! How do I get rid of these guys and are they actually bumble bees?

Anonymous said...

We have what we call ground bees here I live in Ohio. They make nest in the ground and Lord help you if you run over them with the mower, they are very aggressive and will chase you and sting the heck out of you, clinging to your clothes and getting in your hair. I have killed them with seven dust. You have to put it in the hole at night. It kills for the season but you get a new bunch later and sometimes in a different area same season.

shannon said...

I am researching ways to get rid of groun dbees. i think we have yellow jackets.. they are med-smallish.. yellow and black.. so i am thinking yellow jackets (not a bee expert though). My boyfriend was mowing the lawn and suddenly he said he was covered in bees it seemed. I guess several of them were on his shoes and legs. he was luckily only stung once but he yelled and ran into the house, shaking them loose. So I am thinking we have aggressive bees. We also have tons of neighborhood children ranging in ages (2+) who run loose all over the neighborhood, and through our backyard. The nest is on the property line. We warned th eparents and th echildren.. meanwhile..the nest has to go. The best i have gotten from all of these tricks is that you work late at night. I need a solution that is sure to work, and quickly..before a child gets swarmed. thank you

nicole baker said...

I have about 100 low flying wasp looking things in my backyard in between the pool & swingset, they are only in one area about the cubic footage size of a hot tub. I live in WV & I have never had them before but when it got very hot & humid they appeared, they look like they are getting in the ground but I can't find any holes. They are all black, look like wasps but have reddish butts on them. It is very frustating, Ive called exterminators & lawn care specialists & noone will come battle them. I heard they are agressive but wont sting. Im not pressing my luck!! I have 2 daughters & they cant swim in the pool or go in the backyard AT ALL! I am going to try the ideas on here like sevin dust or pesticides but if anyone is familiar with these bees I would appreciate any help or ideas. You can email me at www.lippychik@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Ok So My husband just poured a Stock pot full of boiling water on the ground nest. They did not come flying out at all. He is checking the nest again He also ran the hose in the nest. So I think we did it! No bites no more bees!

Anonymous said...

Live in Ohio and have some very agressive ground dwelling bees. They have attacked me, my dog, my husband mowing and ones got my grandson while he was over playing in the yard. They cling to your clothes and appear capable of stinging several times. The stings are really painful and difficult to treat. We tried mixing a Sevin based liquid and poured around the places we thought were their holes - no mounds or anything above ground. We then placed the bucket over the hole for the night. It seemed to work in that spot but I am really concerned there are more and will be back this year. I am hoping to find an exterminator who can insure results.

Anonymous said...

I live in Aurora, CO., and have problems with ground bees. Their little mounds multiply from a few to dozens. The bees are not aggressive - can walk through a bunch of them, but they are pests - a lot of mounds near the public sidewalk and come right towards my house as they spread. Have not found a good solution to get rid of them.

Anonymous said...

I live in Chesapeake VA and I have these Bees in my front yard, they do sting believe me I have a huge red circle where one got me a few weeks ago while mowing my yard. I sprayed them with the same spray I use for ants, and they came out of their hole and laughed at me, I guess they are here to stay, I just push my mower over them and back away. Can't afford another sting like the other one, my legs aren't that great to begin with. Maybe I'll try some seven dust or wasp spray next.

Dave in Chesapeake said...

I also live in Chesapeake. This evening I ran over a nest with my lawnmower an got stung over 50 times. I got an ambulance ride and am home now, The stings are VERY painful. I'll be trying the "bucket full o' raid" first thing tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

We live in upstate SC and have problems with yellow jackets. Usually they are found along undisturbed property lines, but are known to make their nest anywhere it's fairly flat yet they don't make their nests straight down. The longer the nest goes undestroyed the larger the nest gets and the more dangerous it becomes. They don't like loud noises that get too close or anything that disrupts their nest (i.e. mowers, weedwackers, stepping on them). They have multiple entrances to their nests, so use extreme caution. Yellow jackets will attack anything that disrupts their nest, whether mechanical or not). Do not step on yellow jackets to kill them because their body can emit a scent which can cause other yellow jackets to swarm you. The only way to get rid of yellow jackets is to burn them out. At night once they have essentially gone to bed is the best time, once you know where their entrance is. They do have sentinels standing guard. If you shine a flashlight into the entrance you can see them and they will approach the opening to intimidate you, so USE CAUTION. We use a large coffee can and fill it about ½ way with gasoline. Dump it directly into the opening and then torch it and quickly move away. Depending on the size of the nest, you should be able to destroy the nest with 2 applications. Observe the nest from a distance the next day. You will see some some straglers which will eventually move on. *** Over the past week or so, I have noticed small mounds. Today I walked through another area of our property and there were bees everywhere and they were in and out of those mounds. I ran across this website http://www.about-bees.com/index.html which might help with some general information. My husband is allergic to bees, so, I will give the water hose treatment a try and see what does.

Anonymous said...

I live in Northern NJ and I too have a severe problem with ground bees. I've had them for about 10 years and each year more & more holes appear. I actually went to the point of calling the NJ State Beekeeper from Trenton. He came to my house, stuck his fingers in a few holes, broke a few bees apart and told me they don't have stingers. I've tried EVERYTHING from the garden centers..nothing works. Just emailed Rutgers Univ. Dean of Agriculture to see if there's anything they would suggest. I will certainly keep everyone posted if I get any solutions.

Mary said...

I have a huge issue with the ground digger wasps and read that I should pour amonia down the holes, at night. If they weren't turning my yard black, I'd let them be, but due to the extensive damage, I have to get rid of them. I'll post if this method works.

Anonymous said...

For the past two years I have been bothered with these digger bees. I've had the exterminator come but they return. Is there any way to pre-treat the lawn so that this will not keep on occuring?

Tammy said...

Pour gas into the hole until it's full. Bee's won't like the smell.

Anonymous said...

Could you use a hose-attached sprayer filled with household soap and spray the individual holes just by soaking the entire area? I've had success in using Murphy's oil soap on various insects and they seem to not like it at all. So even if it doesn't kill the bees, maybe it'll bother them enough to move on.

Anonymous said...

I have lived in my present home for three years, and there has been an underground nest all of this time. I occasionally have sprayed the area, but the bees remain. Their nest is underneath some hens and chickens' plants in a flower bed. A couple of days ago I looked there and found the nest had exploded. There are hens and chickens and nest pieces scattered over an area of several feet. I have no idea what happened. Has anyone ever heard of this?

Anonymous said...

Just had yellow jackets in the ground today. easiest fix take a half cup to a cup of gas pour it in the hole and there will never be a problem at that location again! dont light it just pour it into the hole thats it.

MEL said...

I've lived through a strange rather unique experience (I gather) this summer-my first one with Yellowjackets. Right now, their nest situated on the far end of upper side concrete balcony has been recently drenched in September repeatedly
by torrential rain followed by getting drenched again by water & soap from guy living upstairs. From their comportment I could somehow tell that this was the last straw. Their nest was already in shreds at certain places and is probably was constantly wet hence unliveable at this point so it appears that they have moved. Has this ever happened? I am wondering if the Queen is still there. No action at all. They have been on their best behavior all season long. No sting, no botheration, in spite of my going around under their nest etc.
Really nice neighbors and was a nice experience. So I do I know if the Queen is still there or not?
Mel in Montreal.

MEL said...

I've lived through a strange rather unique experience (I gather) this summer-my first one with Yellowjackets. Right now, their nest situated on the far end of upper side concrete balcony has been recently drenched in September repeatedly
by torrential rain followed by getting drenched again by water & soap from guy living upstairs-not because of the YJs-he was cleaning out. From their comportment I could somehow tell that this was the last straw. Their nest was already in shreds at certain places and is probably was constantly wet hence unliveable at this point so it appears that they have moved. Has this ever happened? I am wondering if the Queen is still there. No action at all. They have been on their best behavior all season long. No sting, no botheration, in spite of my going around under their nest etc.
Really nice neighbors and was a nice experience. So I do I know if the Queen is still there or not?
Mel in Montreal.

Anonymous said...

Ground bees come back to areas where the soil is poor and sandy with littl organic matter and the lawn is thin. Use water, as the dry ground attracts them, to soak the space and they'll leave. If they are wasps this won't work at all btw, and too dress the area with compost. Do this three times a year and the soil will eventually be too healthy for the bees.

Anonymous said...

I've tried water, gas and now Sevin dust. My lawn guy won't come back until we've removed the bees. I keep reading that they only last through spring, but we're way into the summer at this point.

But, I am in Central Kentucky and we have had a drought. So, that might have encouraged them to return to our area.

I wouldn't mind them in the yard, but they are right along the front sidewalk of our house.

Will post here again if the Sevin dust works.

KPaige

Bobbi Martin said...

I live in KY and for the past 2 years I have had a strange looking flying thing that sounds like a bee, is about 2-3 inches long , tubular shaped , about 5.8 inches across at the top and 3/8 at the bottom, either yellow or red with black circles around the bodies, that make huge holes in the yard and go in them at night. The have a wing spread ( looks like one set of wings) of about 3-4 inches. I am highly allergic to bees. Does anyone hae any ideas on what these whoppers could be?

st george pest control said...

Realizing you have a pest problem can be one of the most stressful and embarrassing things. If you choose the right pest control company they will handle the problem professionally and efficiently.

st george pest control

bee control pittsburgh said...

the article is pretty great and the ideas are very helpful..i love reading it..thanks for sharing