Ground Bees Active but Don’t Be Afraid

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This time of year many people notice small dirt mounds in their yards or in parks or ball fields created by small bees. In many cases these are mistaken for ant hills or the mounds made by big wasps like cicada killers. In fact they are made by solitary bees in the family Andrenidae.

Andrenid bee climbing out of its hole. Photo: SD Frank

Andrenid bee climbing out of its hole. Photo: SD Frank

These are among our earliest native pollinators to emerge so they can take advantage of early blooming flowers like maples and red buds. Agents may get many calls from worried or frustrated homeowners who are concerned about their safety or the condition of their lawn. Homeowners should not be worried because these bees are not aggressive and in a couple weeks they are gone.

Image of Andrenid bee mounds

My yard in spring filled with small mounds created by Andrenid bees. The mounds aerate the soil and only last a couple weeks. Photo: SD Frank

They only live in places with bare patches of dirt so if you are lucky enough to have some in your yard it is probably because you take a more casual and sustainable approach to lawn maintenance and go easy on the fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides. These bees are a great teaching opportunity. You can read more about them in this post from a couple years ago. You can find more information on native pollinators on our native pollinator pages.