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!

6 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.

    • 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.

  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.

  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.

  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!


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