Ground Bees In Connecticut


I got a call this week from a customer who was very concerned about the ground nesting bees on his property, after speaking with him I realized how uninformed most people are about these useful pollinators which prompted me to write.

Similar to honey bees the various species of ground nesting bees are extraordinary pollinators for many fruit baring trees and shrubs including tomatoes, melons, and apple blossoms. Due to the dying off of honey bees, having some of these ground nesting bees on your property could be a significant blessing. Most commonly the bees encountered here in Connecticut that will nest in soil are the cellophane and sweat bees. The females will dig quarter to half inch-wide tunnels in areas where the grass is sparse and the soil is loose and dry. They then construct chambers and deposit nectar and pollen inside to feed the emerging offspring. The cellophane bees are solitary so each female constructs her own nest, sometimes the nests of several solitary females will be close together giving you the feeling of “a huge nest with hundreds of bees” on your property.

In most situations it is not necessary to eliminate these ground bees as they are helpful to the fruit ecology. These ground bees rarely sting unless provoked, preferring to retreat. They will sting if cornered and accidentally if stepped on. Their main activity will last between three and four weeks. The best way to rid them is by fixing the conditions of your soil. You can try and till your soil, add organic matter, and start spreading grass seed in patchy area and keep watered.

Yellow-jackets will also nest in the ground, using old rodent holes and hollow logs as nesting sites. Unlike fuzzy bees the Yellow-jacket is not much of a pollinator at all. Barely visiting flowers and if they do its most likely to kill another insect. If you have these guys nesting in your soil its a different story. Yellow-jackets can be a nuisance and if you have young children running around barefoot in your yard, a ground nest on your property can be cause for concern. The solution to this problem may require the use of insecticides to eliminate.

If you have ground bees on your property have a professional from Guardian come out and identify the species, put a plan into action, and together we can help to solve your problem.