Protect Ground Nesting Bees

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Ground bee covered with pollen resting on a leaf. Photo: SD Frank

Ground bee covered with pollen resting on a leaf. Photo: SD Frank

Ground bees are active throughout central NC. Ground bees prefer areas with bare ground or thin grass so they have room to dig. The bees create small loose mounds of dirt an inch or two in diameter and up to an inch tall with a hole in the middle as wide as a pencil. Agents and landscapers may get calls from people who believe they have fire ants or cicada killer wasps or yellow jackets in their yard. If this was the case they would have more reason to try and remove them. However, this time of year the most likely culprits are several species of native bees. They are not a danger and are only out for a couple weeks then disappear until next year. They even aerate your yard! Urban bees have a tough time as is and protecting their nests is more beneficial than planting flowers. So please leave them alone. If you must be rid of them you can water your yard which makes it hard for them to dig. Then they will go somewhere else. Yards with dense stands of grass also will not have ground bees.