For the most part, bees are seen as beneficial insects worth protecting. They contribute greatly to our environment as natural pollinators and can help gardens and landscapes thrive.
Ground bees in particular have been found to be a fabulous addition to any lawn or garden. These insects are solitary and docile in nature, and the nests they build do absolutely no damage to your soil. In fact, their underground nests are even considered helpful.
That said, an infestation of any type of bee can be problematic, especially for those with severe bee allergies or a fear of flying or stinging insects. Furthermore, ground bees are often mistaken for other problematic insects like wasps and yellow jackets, who sometimes also build their nests in the ground.
If you are dealing with a ground bee problem year after year and are wondering how to get rid of ground bees once and for all, we are here to help. But before you decide you want to kick true ground bees out of your garden for good, why not take a moment to learn a bit more about them?
What you learn about these interesting and beneficial insects might surprise you and you may even change your mind and decide to keep them around. Let’s find out!
What Are Ground Bees?
Ground bees are solitary bees who build their nests in dry soil.
Commonly called miner bees, mining bees, or ground nesting bees, ground bees are a species of bee in the Andrenidae class. There are around 4,500 species of ground bee throughout the world and each species can range in size and appearance with some being just a few millimeters long while others grow to be about an inch.
Ground bees are the largest of the solitary bee groups. They prefer to live alone with the queens raising her young on her own beneath the earth. Only female ground bees can sting, though they rarely do. In fact, they are known to be quite docile and would prefer to keep to themselves.
Male ground bees are a bit more active, especially during mating season. While they may put on a show and appear aggressive if provoked, you needn’t worry. Male ground bees don’t have stingers and can cause no harm to you or your loved ones.
In fact, ground bees are all around excellent additions to your garden for many reasons. Because they are solitary insects, there is very little chance of you encountering an infestation. That said, there are times when ground bee communities can crop up in your yard, especially if the environment is right for them.
Still, their nests cause no damage whatsoever to your grass or garden and often help it thrive by aerating the soil. Best of all, these fuzzy little creatures are excellent pollinators and can keep your garden lush and gorgeous all spring and summer long.
If you still don’t want these bees around, don’t worry. Most people just wait them out. Ground bees don’t nest for long and once they leave, their nests simply wash away with rain. That said, a ground bee’s life cycle is also short, with most adult ground bees living no longer than six to eight weeks.
But when are you most likely to encounter ground bees? Experts say during spring, which is their mating season and when these bees become most active. Ground bees prefer to nest in bare patches in your lawn, flower beds, garden, or even alongside the perimeter of your home.
Best of all perhaps is that ground bees are lovely and fun to watch. They range in a number of colors from orange to yellow to black to red with shiny black bellies and fuzzy bodies.
The below video shows the charm of solitary ground bees at work on their nests.
So yes, we’re fans of ground bees, but that doesn’t mean you have to be. If you’d prefer to get rid of them, we’ll help you out with a few tips and tricks below. On the other hand, if you’d like to learn how to control and manage ground bees and keep them in your yard and garden, we’re hooking you up there as well.
In either case, let’s start by taking a look at what attracts ground bees to certain locations.
What Attracted Ground Bees To Your Yard or Garden?
Ground bees are attracted to certain types of flowers in your garden as well as dry soil.
Solitary ground bees prefer dry soil that is easy to dig into so they can make their nests. Once they do so, they protect the nest with a waterproof lining to keep bacteria and other contaminants from harming their young.
Female ground bees often seek out their ideal nesting spot in common locations around your yard or property, including:
- Bare patches in the soil
- Dry soil in potted plants
- Dry soil in flower beds
- Dry soil in gardens
- Dry soil along the perimeter of your house
If you’ve had a lot of rodent activity in your yard, those old abandoned rodent holes will also be highly attractive to ground bees as these provide the perfect pre-made real estate. Working smarter, not harder? We totally relate, ground bees.
Like most pollinating bees, ground bees are also attracted to certain types of flowers. Their favorites include flowers with purple, yellow and blue hues. Some of their favorite types of flowers include:
- Queen Anne’s Lace
- And Lavender
Best of all, some of the above flowers (lavender in particular) are natural deterrents to garden pests that are not beneficial like mosquitoes, fleas, flies, scorpions, and moths.
So, if you want to keep ground bees around and get rid of a bunch of other annoying bugs, try planting some of the above plants. If you want to deter ground bees and get rid of them, maybe consider removing a few of those flowers on that list and filling up any old rodent holes in your yard.
Speaking of getting rid of and deterring ground bees, let’s talk about some other ways you can stop these critters from buzzing around your garden and driving you crazy.
How To Get Rid Of Ground Bees – Identifying A Ground Bee Problem In Your Yard
Ground bee holes look like small mounds of dirt with a hole at the top.
While it is true that ground bees are solitary and highly beneficial, from time to time their communities can get out of control. Ground bees live one bee per hole, but a number of holes have been known to crop if the conditions are ideal. These ground bee communities are often built close together, like a tiny little neighborhood.
Luckily, ground bee nests don’t last long, with most of them going away within four to six weeks. If you want to wait it out, do so and consider these little insects free aeroraters.
On the other hand, if you’re concerned about the number of ground bees and ground bee holes popping up in your yard, it’s best to be vigilant and look for early signs of a ground bee community.
Some common signs of a large ground bee community popping up on your property include:
- Small mounds of soil or sand with a hole nearby
- One bee entering and exiting this mound of soil
- Fuzzy looking bees flying around these mounds
- Small mounds of soil clustered in groups near one another
- Seeing bees with fuzzy upper bodies and heads
Do you recognize the above signs? If so, you have ground bees. However, if you notice many more bees entering one flat hole in the ground and these bees have shiny abdominis and no fuzz on their bodies, you’re dealing with yellow jackets.
Do You Have Yellow Jackets?
True ground bees may be confused for yellow jackets, who are also known to build their nests underground.
Some people confuse yellow jackets for ground bees. Yellow jackets are a type of wasp who, unlike the ground bee, can be aggressive, territorial, and sting multiple times if provoked.
If you’re really struggling with a yellow jacket problem and need to use insecticides or bee killer to control and eliminate the problem, we have listed a few products that will do the trick.
That said, keep in mind that insecticides do contain harsh ingredients that can be harmful to people, pets and the environment if not used correctly.
Let’s take a look at some products below that are specifically designed to control and eliminate yellow jackets at the source.
Bonide Spider and Bee Killer
This product is specifically designed to protect your yard and home against spiders and “ground bees” like yellow jackets. It is simple to use and comes in a puffer applicator to apply the dust directly into the targeted location.
You can use this product both indoors and out and directly on yellow jacket nests in the ground. You can also use this product to repel bees and spiders by applying it early in spring before they become most active.
We should note that, while this is an effective remedy to control and remove bees and wasps from your yard, it does contain an insecticide known as permethrin which can be toxic to people, pets and the environment.
Spectracide Wasp and Hornet Killer
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This is another insecticide you can use if you thought you were dealing with ground bees but realized you are actually dealing with yellow jackets or other types of wasps. Spectracide Wasp and Hornet Killer comes with aerosol spray cans that can reach up to 27 feet away to keep you and your loved ones protected during the removal of these stinging pests.
That said, this product will also work on getting rid of true ground bees, but as we’ve mentioned, using insecticides is rarely necessary to do so.
If you don’t have yellow jackets and have successfully identified a ground bee community and would like to let them do their thing in your yard, that’s great. Of course, if you would prefer to downsize that little community, we totally get it.
Whichever route you choose to take when it comes to controlling ground bees on your property, we’re here to help. Keep reading to learn more about how to manage, control, and even deter ground bees.
How To Control Ground Bees – Most Popular Methods
Many gardeners enjoy having ground bees around as they are beneficial pollinators.
If you’re here because you’re having problems with the ground bees on your property, here’s the good news: ground bees are super simple to control and deter and you don’t need to use any pesticides or insecticides whatsoever to get rid of them.
That said, there are a few natural products you can purchase to help get rid of and deter ground bees, as well as home remedies you can use to repel them. Of course, if you have decided you don’t want to get rid of ground bees and would rather control their nesting areas and monitor the population, we can help with that too.
Natural Products That Deter Ground Bees
Most natural products and natural bee deterrents on the market to deter bees use ingredients that are safe for people, pets and the environment.
That said, some of these products can harm or kill bees, so if you don’t want to harm them and simply repel them, be sure to do your research before purchasing so you know you get the right product. We will list some of our favorites products further down in case you are wondering which the best might be.
Products That Attract Ground Bees
If you’d like to keep ground bees around and just control and monitor them, as we mentioned above, you might consider investing in a few products and tools to keep them in a certain area. If you make a special space in your yard and garden for these seasonal bees, you will have a better chance of staying out of each other’s way and reaping all the benefits these shy guys offer.
Home Remedies To Control Ground Bees
Because ground bees are so simple to deter or control, why not take it upon yourself to do some of your own pest control? We have a list of some great ground bee repellent recipes and simple ingredients and tricks you can use to both deter or attract ground bees, depending on what suits you best.
To begin, let’s take a look at some of our favorite natural products for how to get rid of ground bees below.
Natural Products That Deter Ground Bees
Ground bees are simple to control using natural ingredients.
As we mentioned above, ground bees are very easy to get rid of. For this reason, it’s totally unnecessary to use harsh chemicals and poisons like pesticides and insecticides to get rid of them. Instead, many experts recommend using simple deterrent and repellent sprays that not only get rid of ground bees but also repel them and keep them from coming back.
If you’re wondering which natural products would be best for getting rid of ground bees and keeping them at bay, we have listed a few of our favorite natural products below.
Mighty Mint Insect Repellent
Anything that includes peppermint oil as an active ingredient will work well to repel unwanted ground bees. The Mighty Mint insect repellent product above will also help protect both inside and outside of your home from spiders, ants, roaches, fleas, and more.
We love that this product contains all natural ingredients and is safe to use around people and pets. However, while this spray will help repel and deter ground bees from nesting, it will also kill them on contact.
If you don’t want to kill the bees simply spray it around where they nest to encourage them to move on and avoid spraying this solution directly on them .
Burt’s Bees Outdoor Insect Repellent
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Burt’s Bees has been a popular company for years and is well known for making natural products that work effectively.
The above outdoor insect repellent is made with all natural ingredients and can be used to repel a number of insects, including ground bees using a combination of herbal ingredients and essential oils like rosemary oil, cedar oil, lemongrass oil, peppermint oil, geranium oil, and soybean oil.
Green Man’s Lemon Bomb Spray
This is an insect repellent and bug killer that is completely non toxic and safe to use around kids, pets and the environment. It works against ground bees, carpenter bees, spiders, termites, lice, ants beetles, bed bugs, hornets and more.
This product does kill on contact so don’t spray it directly on the bees if you would prefer to only repel them. That said, it can work as a strong repellent once sprayed and can keep ground bees and other pests from returning.
Pure Peppermint Oil
As we mentioned above, anything containing peppermint oil is an excellent pest repellent and is especially effective against ground bees. You can use pure peppermint oil in a number of different ways to get rid of and prevent ground bees from nesting on your property.
Some people choose to make their own peppermint oil spray by adding ten drops of peppermint oil to two cups of water in a spray bottle. You can spray this solution around your yard and lawn where you want to deter or repel ground bees.
Another way you can use peppermint oil to deter ground bees is to soak cotton balls in the oil and place them near any ground bee holes you notice popping up around your property. This will repulse the bees and encourage them to look elsewhere for a home.
Products That Help Attract Ground Bees
Bee houses can help encourage ground bees to stay in a certain part of the garden.
Are you on the ground bee bandwagon? Then this is the place for you. In order to attract ground bees to your yard and garden, you’ll want to make it more hospitable to them. You can also use these below products to help monitor and control where ground bees congregate in your yard so you have a better chance of not bothering one another.
Take a look at some of these adorable and effective products you can use to attract and control the ground bees around your home.
KIBAGA Mason Bee House
This is a natural bee house you can purchase that attracts a number of bees, including the beneficial ground bee if placed correctly in your yard. It provides pollinating bees a safe place to raise their young and get away from predators. It will also help keep them in designated areas in your yard or garden.
The house is made of natural wood and bamboo and can house up to 60 bees at a time.
Welliver Outdoor Bee House
Another bee house that’s perfect for ground bees is this bee house by Welliver. This is a standing bee house that is very simply made. It includes paper tubes and is made of sturdy wood to protect bees from the elements while also encouraging them to stick to their part of the lawn.
This bee house can also help attract honey bees, mason bees, and other beneficial bee pollinators.
Best Home Remedies For To Control Ground Bees
Anything that includes peppermint or peppermint oil can help repel and control ground bees.
As we mentioned above, ground bees are super easy to control, which is great if you’re on a budget or if you simply don’t want to spend money on pest control products or products to attract these natural pollinators.
Here are a few ways you can go about deterring ground bees or attracting ground bees using ingredients and tools you likely already have at home.
Home Remedies To Deter Ground Bees
- Moth Balls
The overwhelming smell of mothballs not only repels roaches, spiders, bats, mice, and rats, but it can also repel ground bees. Simply place the mothballs around your yard where you want to keep these bees from making their nests.
However, please note that you should use moth balls with caution. They contain harmful ingredients that can be toxic to people, pets, and other beneficial insects if not used as directed.
- White Vinegar
You can either soak cotton balls in white vinegar or leave open containers of white vinegar around your yard or garden near ground bee nest sites. This will help repel the ground bees and they will likely choose elsewhere to nest.
People may love cinnamon but the scent can be irritating to ground bees. If you want to get rid of them, simply sprinkle some cinnamon around nesting sites to either help get rid of them or to deter them altogether.
- Bee Repellent Plants
If you don’t want ground bees around, try planting some bee repellent plants in your garden. Some of the best plants to deter bees include basil, mint, marigolds, petunias, pennyroyal, wormwood, eucalyptus,pitcher plants, lemongrass and geraniums.
- Essential Oils
Like many critters, ground bees are repelled by certain essential oils. Some of the best essential oils you can use to get rid of ground bees include peppermint oil, geranium oil, clove oil, rosemary oil, eucalyptus oil, citronella oil, cinnamon oil and cedarwood oil. Simply soak cotton balls with the oil of your choice and place them around any ground bee nesting sites you find.
Home Remedies To Attract Ground Bees
- Design An Area In Your Yard Just For Ground Bees
If you want to keep ground bees around but ensure they have their own space, leave an open patch of land or garden exposed just for them. Remember, these insects prefer dry, crumbly soil in which to build their nests. On the contrary, wherever you don’t want ground bees, ensure lush gardens and grasses are growing and keep it watered frequently.
- Plant Flowers That Ground Bees Love
Another way to keep ground bees around and in their designated space in your yard is to provide them with a few of their favorite flowers nearby. Some of the best plants for ground bees include zinnias, pussy willow, queen anne’s lace, daisies, goldenrod, lavender, and borage.
- Poke Holes In Bare Patches Of Earth
This is a simple and fun gardening trick you can do with kiddos. Simply grab a few sharp pencils and pick a bare patch of land on your property. Poke a few holes around the earth that are around two to ten millimeters in size and try to make these holes face different directions. The ground bees will love these premade apartments all for them!
- Make Your Own Ground Bee House
You can also make shelters for ground bees using old tin cans. This is another fun project you can do with the kids. Rinse and dry an old food can thoroughly. Melt wax to coat the base, and stuff it with hollowed plant stems, bamboo, or sturdy straws. When you place these homemade bee houses in your yard or garden just make sure you place them in a way that any rainfall or moisture won’t fill the holes.
Alright, now you know how to get rid of or control the ground bees on your property, which is great. But how do you prevent ground bees from becoming an overwhelming problem in your yard?
Take a look below.
How To Prevent Ground Bees From Choosing Your Yard Or Garden To Nest In
One of the easiest ways to deter ground bees is to keep your lawn and garden watered.
Even if you absolutely love ground bees, you likely don’t want an entire community of them digging little holes all over your yard or garden. While this rarely happens, it can if the conditions are right and the overall result is unsightly, to say the least.
In order to control and monitor ground bees and keep them from becoming problematic, it’s best to do some routine maintenance around your home and yard and follow the below steps:
Water Your Yard And Garden Frequently
Since ground bees prefer dry, loose soil in which to build their nests, you can help either keep them in a designated space in your yard or deter them altogether by routinely watering. This includes watering potted plants, flowerbeds, around the perimeter of your home, and of course your garden and lawn. If you do notice ground bee nests beginning to pop up, you can simply remove them by watering them down. The ground bees will just fly off to make their nests elsewhere.
Fill In Old Rodent Holes
Ground bees become most active during spring. You can get a jump on them by monitoring your yard and property and filling in any cracks, crevices, or cavities left behind that may be an ideal nesting site. This includes holes in trees, along the siding of your home, around your perimeter, and of course holes in soil.
Landscape Dry Patches In Your Yard
Ground bees are not about digging up your yard to make their nests. They won’t destroy plant life and will sooner go elsewhere to find bare patches of earth. So, if you want to prevent ground bees from building their nests in certain areas, make sure it is alive with plant life or grass. Of course, if you prefer to leave those spaces bare, you can always just keep them moist.
Use A Bee Repellent Around The Perimeter Of Your Home
Last but not least, if you want to keep ground bees and other types of bees at bay, try using a perimeter spray. We suggest natural perimeter sprays like Wondercide, which we’ve listed below to keep ground bees and other pests like mosquitoes, fleas, roaches, and spiders from getting too close for comfort all year round.
Wondercide Outdoor Perimeter Spray
Wondercide uses the active ingredient cedarwood oil to repel all kinds of insects naturally. Experts recommend applying this spray in early spring around the perimeter of your home and in your yard where you want to deter insects like ground bees from foraging and making their nests.
This spray is safe for people, pets and the environment and is gentle enough to use directly on garden plants and lawns as well.
And remember, ground bees are especially beneficial insects and are the least dangerous of most bee species. They are shy, rarey sting, and hardley cause any problems to our yards and properties at all. The best method of action when it comes to ground bee control is to simply wait them out or water them out. These two methods are free, safe, and environmentally friendly for everyone.
So, what do you think? Would you encourage ground bees to move into your garden? We’d love to hear from you. Leave us your thoughts in the comment section below.
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.