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

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miner 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 will be in search of females and will mate several times before dying soon afterwards.

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, may be very active and even appear aggressive when in search for 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.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Miner bees were out in force over the weekend, (30th March).

    Not the Tawny variety, they may be the Ashy miner bees.

    The little buggers won’t sit still for a photo unfortunately but I guess the breeding’s been successful and I now have lots of little casts.

    Something to note, the local crows seem to be trying to eat them.

    What’s the best sort of flowers to encourage them next year?

  2. I’ve had a mini infestation too.

    I love watching them buzzing around my garden. We should all do what we can to encourage bees of all kinds into our gardens.

  3. I believe I have these bees in our garden.

    They appear every September for appx one month and over a period of four years have completely colonised our entire lawn (appx 10mx20m).

    There are so many of them this year that you can hear them even from inside the house, you can see clumps of a dozen or more seemingly fighting and the lawn is completely destroyed.

    We have plenty of lavender in the garden and frequently saturate the lawn to discourage them but neither of these strategies seems to discourage or repel them.

    Loathed though I am to get rid of them, they have now become a monumental pest.

    • Hi Russell,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Sounds like a bit of a problem!

      In this case, I’d Google a local beekeeper, see what advice he can give you.

      I’d be keen to know what he says.

      I hope this helps.

      Thanks

      Tim

  4. I have exactly the same as Russell, millions of bees covering all the lawns and swarming approximately 12” above the ground, they stay for 6-8 weeks between 3rd week in August until mid- October.

    They appeared in small numbers in 2013 but since then they have multiplied each year and are now in their millions.

    The second week in August this year I had 3 very large lawns covered with tarpaulins and bricked all-around hoping they would not escape and reproduce further.

    To my dismay even with these tarpaulins down hundreds more bees have appeared and are now in the flower beds and rockery. I am keeping these beds well watered with a sprinkler but even this doesn’t deter them.

    Children refuse to go into the garden as they are too afraid. I am at my wit’s end and just don’t know what to do next.

    Please, can somebody help?

    • Hi Carole,

      Thanks for your message.

      Wow, you sound quite distressed!

      If the methods in my article haven’t helped, the only other way of dealing with them is to call a local beekeeper and see what advice he can give to you.

      Failing that, and I hate to say this as our bees are in decline, but you might have to call a pest control expert.

      Please let me know how it goes.

      Thanks

      Tim

  5. Hello my name is Paul,

    I cut three lawns for a retired couple in the town where I live.

    Miner bees have appeared, which I’ve never seen before.

    At present, they only burrow in a small area of two lawns. My client said they hadn’t witnessed any last year, but did see them the previous year.

    Reading the Garden Seeker article the bees could be beneficial, as long as they don’t overpopulate. My client has done some research, but I’m not sure whether ant powder is such a good idea? I’m grateful for this article & I found it an interesting read.

    • Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your comment. I took care of the typo’s for you so don’t worry 🙂

      Sounds like they’re OK and yes, miner bees can be beneficial.

      In terms of ant powder, what do you mean?

      Are you referring to ant powder for killing the bees or it having a nasty side effect on the bees when dealing with ants?

      Thanks,

      Tim

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