Burrowing or mining bees are usually "solitary" species, meaning that they do not form cohesive colonies like honeybees. They are beneficial insects, important to the pollination of many types of plants; their burrowing activities do not harm plants, and may even help them by aerating the soil. However, you may wish to control these bees if, for instance, their nests are located where children play or where you need to dig. While much less aggressive than wasps or even other bee species, mining bees will defend their nests, warns Greg Stack, Illinois extension educator.
Control With Pesticide
Apply the pesticide according to package directions in the area where the bees are nesting.
Scrape the soil near the burrow entrances with a hoe or sturdy metal rake, disturbing the ground and exposing the soil.
Reapply the the insecticide to the disturbed soil; when female bees come out of the nests to repair the burrow entrances, they will encounter the insecticide.
Control Without Pesticide
Aerate the soil above and around the bees' burrows with a heavy garden fork, jabbing the fork straight down into the ground several times.
Pour water directly onto existing burrows; it is best to flood the bees during their dormant periods, cool mornings and evenings.
Soak the surrounding soil, saturating the area where the burrow is located.
Repeat the flooding every few days until bee activity stops; the bees will tend to relocate to avoid the water.
- Colorado State U. Extension: Nuisance Wasps and Bees, by W.S. Cranshaw
- U. of Delaware Cooperative Extension: Mining Bees, by Dewey Caron and Derby Walker
- U. of Illinois Extension: Ask Extension: Burrowing Bees, by Greg Stack
- Utah State University Cooperative Extension: FAQ: "I have Large Burrowing Bees...," by Dean Miner
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