Ground Bees

Ground Bees   

Ground Bee Removal and Control

Of the three types of yellow jackets found in this part of the country by far the most encountered, usually while mowing the grass, are Terrestrial Yellow Jackets. Also referred to as subterranean (underground) yellow jackets, their nesting habit is responsible for their most common name - "Ground Bees". Although these are one of the smallest of the yellow jacket species, 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch, what ground bees lack in size they more than make up for in aggressiveness. If a threat is perceived, each can and will most likely sting repeatedly until the threat is gone.    

Situated in underground cavities, ground bees' soccer ball to basketball sized paper nests are usually suspended from overlaying plant roots, logs, or landscape timbers. It is not uncommon for these stinging insects to get a jump start on nesting grounds by inhabiting an abandoned chipmunk den.

Ground bees are notorious for seeming to just 'pop up' or appear over a short period of time. "I just cut that part of the yard last week, and they were not there," is something that is heard quite often. As much as this appears to be true, it is not the case. Sometime during early to mid-spring, a ground bee queen searches yard after yard until a suitable nesting site is found. Once established, her nest's size and population grows exponentially - the larger it gets, the faster it grows. If it "...wasn't there last week..." just imagine what it will be like a week from now. This makes the need to exterminate and remove ground bees as soon as they're discovered extremely important. Ground bee nests are not limited to the grass-covered areas. For instance, if you subscribe to a fresh layer of mulch every year or two, then you probably are at a higher risk for a ground bee infestation. When the fresh mulch is layered upon the mulch of previous years, it compacts the deteriorated mulch below into a soft, airy, compost that is easily excavated and quite 'sculptable.' In other words, as the old mulch is dug out and removed, the walls of the cavity created hold form rather well and do not cave in or collapse - a highly desired nesting site quality.

Ground bee removal and control can be extremely tricky and dangerous as it takes a trained eye and experience to determine the nest's location since it's hidden underneath the ground's surface. For example, if the nest is situated underneath soft/loose material, like mulch, careful approach and proper inspection of the area surrounding the nest's entrance is crucial. Otherwise, one may inadvertently puncture through the top of the nest cavity while walking over (or crawling, if the nest is situated behind bushes or other hard to reach areas). Although a relative or friend will swear up and down that it will work, gasoline should NEVER be used in the attempt to control or exterminate ground bees. Not only is it extremely dangerous, it also rarely ever works. Gasoline is however quite effective in killing the roots of the adjacent plants, grass, shrubs and flowers.
Your bee removal specialist is available 24 hours a day if you need emergency service for urgent yellow jacket removal. 
Share by: