Miner Bees in Your Lawn? What to Do About These Ground Nesting Bees

If you’ve spotted bees on your lawn or the ‘soil volcanos’ they leave behind, chances are you’ve got Miner Bees inhabiting your lawn.

Do they sting?

Will they ruin your lawn?

Should you be worried?

This article is going to answer all of those questions.

 

What Are Miner Bees and Why Are They In Your Lawn?


mining bees

Miner Bees or mining bees are ground-nesting bees of which there are around 100 species.

The Tawny Mining Bee is the most common.

They are solitary bees.

They aren’t controlled by or serve a queen in a well-defended hive alongside a big, long-living colony like Honey Bees or Bumble Bees.

Instead, they’re sub-social, meaning they reside in loose groups where they simply live in the same area and share the same resources.

This is why you might see several holes or mounds of soil in your lawn.

Why Do Mining Bees Burrow in the Lawn?

ground nesting bees

You’ll typically see mining bees on your lawn between April and June.

In the early spring, males search for females and will mate several times before dying soon afterward.

After mating, female bees excavate the soil and create up to 3 shafts, each one with up to five smaller burrows, or nesting chambers.

These shafts can be up to 60cm deep.

She will lay several up to five eggs with one egg in each chamber.

The bee lays each egg on a lump of pollen and nectar and they will hatch within days before the new larvae start their year-long development. The following year, they emerge from the nest and the life cycle continues.

Can Miner Bees Sting?

Females can.

That said, a female will only sting when protecting her nest or if she’s trampled on. Even then they don’t hurt much at all. They’re only rated a 1.0 on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index.

Beware though, if you’re allergic to a bee’s sting, you could end up in trouble.

Males, on the other hand, can be very active and even appear aggressive when in search of a female as seen in the video above. There’s absolutely nothing to worry about though because they don’t have a sting.

They’re completely harmless.

 

What to Do if Mining Bees Inhabit Your Lawn


Generally speaking, Miner Bees should be left alone to live their lives.

Having them in your lawn benefits your garden in the following ways;

  • They’re Your Lawn’s Natural Aerators – Like earthworms, ground-nesting bees are nature’s natural lawn aerators. Their shafts can reach depths of 60cm and they’re typically 5mm-7mm wide, allowing air to move freely through the soil.
  • They Pollinate Other Plants – As they collect pollen for their nests, they pass from plant to plant, flower to flower pollinating and fertilising as they go.

The mounds of soil they create as they excavate can be easily brushed back over the lawn is the same way you’d brush away dry worm casts.

After 5 or 6 weeks, the bees will die you’ll not see them again until the following year when the new bees emerge.

That being said, on rare occasions, Miner Bees can be a nuisance and you might be compelled to get rid of them.

 

How to Get Rid of Mining Bees From Your Lawn


As I said earlier, Miner Bees reside in loose groups and not in large colonies.

Sometimes though, this is hard to believe if your lawn is taken over by hundreds, even thousands of bees buzzing around and digging holes.

This active behaviour can be quite alarming if you don’t know what’ going on, especially for kids and pets.

Although rare, this is the result of many generations of bees using the same area of soil and food resources.

If Mining Bees have taken over your lawn, you can remove them without doing them any harm.

Plant Bee Repelling Plants and Shrubs

Planting bee repelling shrubs in your garden and around your lawn is a good way of putting bees off from coming into your garden without the use of pesticides.

Bees don’t like plants like Lavender and Peppermint. Planting them in the borders around the lawn will encourage them to stay away.

Good Lawn Care Practices

If you look after your lawn with good lawn care practices the grass should be thick.

Mining bees prefer areas with a little less cover as it makes it easier for them to access their nest. Keeping your lawn thick and lush will help keep them away.

Use Spices or Essential Oils

You can also use some of the spices and essential oils you have in the kitchen cupboards as Bee repellants.

Spices like Cinnamon and essential oils like Lavender and Tea Tree will stop the bees coming in and encourage them to leave.

Sprinkle Cinnamon power on areas of your lawn or leave Cinnamon sticks in and around the areas the bees are nesting in.

You can also mix Lavender, Tea, Tree or Peppermint oils in water and spray it around your garden.

Call a Pest Contol Expert

I don’t like this option and I really don’t think there is any need to bring a pest control expert in because this usually ends up in the death of the bees.

Bee populations are in decline so in my opinion there’s no excuse for killing them. But, in the interest of being thorough and presenting all of the options, I’ve included it.

 

In Conclusion


I’m always glad to see ground-nesting bees in my lawn.

Yes, you’ll need to deal with their soil mounds as and when they appear but it’s just a case of sweeping them away. Plus, the benefits they bring to my garden far outweigh the problems they cause.

Unless Miner Bees cause you massive problems, it’s best to just leave them be. Give it 5-6 weeks and they will all disappear.

What About You?

Have you got, or have you had mining bees call your lawn home?

What did you do about it?

What do you plan on doing about it?

Leave a comment below and let me know.

And as always, if you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll jump in and answer them.

About Tim Stephens

I'm a professional gardener with degrees in Horticulture & Landscape Gardening. I want to help you create the garden of your dreams. I want your garden to look like it’s maintained by a professional. As if I was there doing it all for you!

33 thoughts on “Miner Bees in Your Lawn? What to Do About These Ground Nesting Bees”

  1. I apparently have had mining bees in my yard. The skunks like to dig them up and now my yard looks like a mine field. What can I do to get the skunk away from the area and leave my yard alone.

    Reply
    • Linda the skunk will have to be trapped, by a professional or the animal control people in your area. If you do it yourself you will have to kill the animal by throwing a disposable quilt,tarp over the cage running a hose from the automobile under the tarp will put it to sleep forever.

      Reply
  2. We have had miner bees taking advantage of the patch of grass in our front garden for the past few years. They do not cause any problems to me. I have only been stung once when I put my hand on one by mistake and it is only a mild sting. They are only noticeable for a few weeks.

    Reply
  3. Interesting after watching above video. I too found a have a colony of mining bees in my border which at first i thought they were wasps. But after setting a wasp tray with bowl of soapy water & cat food wasn’t attracting any apart from few flies, drown of course.
    I don’t want to use pesticide to kill the bees, just want them to move out so I can plant my bulbs for next spring. Guess I need to wait when weather turns colder and they eventually die off.

    Reply
  4. We have bees nesting in the edge of the lawn – they are entering from the cut edge between the border and lawn. They were there the same time last year (hibernating?) – but didn’t notice them in the spring which according to other websites is when they are most active. And despite many reports saying they are docile I was stung last year when standing near the nest (thats when we spotted them!) and had a nasty reaction which needed medical attention. I am therefore keen to discourage them! Have tried spices to no avail. Wondered about making an insect hotel near the back of the border and see if they can be persuaded to move home!

    Reply
  5. I have more than you can possibly imagine. Literally 10s of thousands. My entire property is bees and bee holes. They don’t sting, both or really do anything harmful. Except for fact we cannot use yard for 4 weeks. I have literally tried everything. Even professionals…you don’t have to worry about killing them b/c you can’t kill them. They literally will not die.

    Reply
  6. We have had miner bees in our yard for at least 10 years now (Bergen County, NJ). They show up like clockwork every Mother’s Day and usually gone by Father’s Day. In the past they always stayed in one area where we have a lot of plants and Rhododendron bushes. This year they have spread to other areas around the house as well. This may seem unrelated, but we have had a continual ant problem in our basement. My wife believes the ants are drawn to the nectar in the miner bee’s nests, which are not far from our foundation, so she thinks we need to “get rid” of them. A pest control person is coming to take a look. Is there any possible connection to the bees and our ant problem?

    Reply
  7. I think this is what we have in our garden after taking a shed down they are in the dirt beneath it we are due to have someone come and flatten the ground and lay lawn what should we do about the bees?

    Reply
  8. Cathy – a bee hotel won’t work for ground nesting bees.

    I’m sorry you had a reaction. I suspect thick grass or possibly mulch might encourage them to move elsewhere. They ought to prefer access to soil where there is morning sun – is there another place to leave open soil for them that they might move to and be further from you?

    Reply
  9. I an noticing a group digging holes & little dirt balls from their excavating. But they are right off my patio & while I don’t want to harm them, they are too close to where we sit & spend time outdoors. Also my dog walks iff the patio onto the lawn to walk around & I am concerned for her.
    What to do about this?

    Reply
  10. I had mining (digger) bees in my lawn for a few weeks.
    I had to be careful when mowing so that I didn’t kill any of them.
    They appear to have gone now so having read the information I guess that more will come along next spring.

    Reply
  11. I hate miner bees and would like to kill them all and the heck with you ecology lovers. I spend $800 a yr for grass treatment and these things come every year and make my lawn look like a bomb went off. Tried keeping lawn wet with sprinkler. Sprayed with vinegar, sprinkled cinnamon, used Delta dust and paid exterminator $185 to spray twice and the pest are sill there. Even bought hand held electric swatter that zaps them down but doesn’t kill them! I want something lethal to kill these bastards and to hell with you climate change tree hugging, save the world liberals! Love to wave magic wand to move them to your yard!

    Reply
    • You and me both. . I’m tired of dealing with these things already. They are also around our pool trying to get between the coping and the wall. I watched one tonight go in between the wall and the patio blocks. My grandson is scared to death of these damn things and doesn’t want to hear they won’t hurt you. I need something to kill them !!

      Reply
    • I understand why you feel like you do about the bees that have invaded your space, but the reasons people object to killing them are legitimate. Sadly bee population truly are on the decline and when the bees are finally gone the human race will soon follow unless we can come up with an easy, inexpensive method of pollinating millions of acres of fruit trees and ground crops. We have food because bees do this job for us today. Best of luck finding a solution to your very real problem.

      Reply
  12. I seem to have a large amount of mining bees in at least one container in my garden. I was weeding near by and was stung 14 times luckly I am not allergic but they hurt like hell and its taking several days to heal. How can I get rid of them?

    Reply
  13. Hi. I’m using Diatomacious Earth on my lawn. Seems to have the Queen Bee, Roaches, Spiders , Moths etc. I live in Nevada. Should I continue this? Thanks Deb

    Reply
  14. We have hundreds all buzzing around the ground. They are all gone now as I have
    sprayed them with Fly and Wasp killer.
    I would let them go if it was just a few but there were hundreds.

    Reply
  15. I have a large corner front garden which is overrun with mining bees, they came about 5 years ago, and the arrive at the beginning of September every year, and last a couple of months, they are now all over the lawn, and in all the borders, if there were only a few wouldn’t mind, but it’s the whole garden, I have tried peppermint, cinnamon, lavender plants, and various other things, all to no avail. What can I do?

    Reply
  16. I seem to have disrupted a nest of small bees as I’m digging up iris to transplant and make room for a group of arborvitae to be planted in this place. I’m not sure if they sting but I’ve continued working around the area, giving them space and so far so good. I don’t want to kill them but would like to finish the job. What do I do about them?

    Reply
  17. I have miner bee in garden lawns in Cambridge UK. Ours are yellow and black stripy. Happy to have them. In back garden the local badger also seems happy and diggs out the burrows. Makes quite the mess but I am much happier to share our space with other residents. Not hard to tidy a bit after them to be ready for next year

    Reply
  18. I don’t know about you or anyone else but I have found three different holes in my yard with a lot of bees working around them the hard way they stung me all over before I could get away. The stings hurt swelled some but itch and hurt for days. Like the other lady said one hole was dug out by something and looks terrible. The other were around my plant near my house and we’re found washing down my siding. Could these be a different kind of miner bee I know they are not honey bees they are to small.

    Reply
  19. 20.09.2021 Last week I came home to discover my front garden amass with lots of tiny bees, I wasn’t sure if they were going to stay or just resting. However I have now found out that they are nesting in my lawn, well its more dandelion’s to be honest. I did ring a pest control but as I couldn’t tell them where the nest was i declined their help. They are not bothering me, I am happy for them to stay for 5-6 weeks, I have observed them and they are not aggressive so as far as I am concerned they are welcome to my garden.
    I just hope my neighbour doesn’t notice them and spray them, I am forever grateful that I was born and bread in the countryside.

    Reply
  20. I have got mining bees who return every year to my border and tunnel under my lawn. It has now become a real problem, my lawn feels like it could sink with soft deep hollows and now an animal at night is digging big holes in my lawn to get to them or the honey. I want to take action before my lawn disappears. Please help.

    Reply
  21. Found some of these bees swarming around open holes in a front garden in September (UK). Weather was warm and dry at the time, but don’t know if adults were emerging from the holes or if the adults were laying eggs in the little holes. From what you’re saying it was rather late in the year for nesting, as it should happen earlier in the year. But with the climate the way it is everything seems topsy turvy. Hopefully by next time I go they’ll have gone and I can cut the grass.

    Reply
  22. we have a miner bees’ nest in a bank in a rather overgrown part of our garden .
    They are certainly not solitary.
    They look like wasps but are a bit smaller. they forage like honey bees.
    Bees are leaving the nest at about one a second and returning at the same rate of course. So there must be at least several hundred in the colony.
    We have seen nests in different parts of the garden for several years now. The entrance to a particularly strong one was four inches across.
    i gave up keeping honey bees about 10 years ago, so am rather glad to see these miner bees. They are pollinaters after all.

    Reply
  23. I have thoousands of miner bees…in my lawn, in my flower beds, in the boarders of my beds. Can walk down the fron walk to the driveway without walking through the swarms. Cutting the grass irritates them. I do have a highly landscaped property with something in bloom all the time, especially in March/April, when they build the most nest. Every year for the last 5-6, I get more and more. Family members with Bee allergies refuse to visit for weeks at a time. Tough my veggie garden is organic, my flower beds are not.

    That said, though I very much understand the value of these bees, I am spraying an lesco cross check plus, known to kill/harm bees in the area close to the house. No water/fish/run off issues in this are. We have 25 ac. Plenty of room for the bees to move away from the house but visit the flowers. Truely, considering the thousands of multi generations nesting here…I dont feel bad about what I am doing.

    Reply
  24. Since 3 days, there has been a profound bee activity in the evening time in my lawn. I checked on the ground nests but i found none. Also, in the day there are no bees around. But as the dawn approaches at around 7:15 PM the bees come buzzing all around and within 10 15 minutes the buzzing stops. I wonder what’s the problem. Please help.

    Reply
  25. I have chocolate mining bees in my garden, they have nests in my lawn and they enter through the plastic pipes under the grass.

    My kids love watching them and Interacting with them.

    They don’t bother us and we have nets up to stop them coming in the house.

    We have a lot of hoverflies around the entrances to the nests though also.

    They can live here as long as they want 🙂

    Reply

Leave a comment