Ground bees can be a nuisance in your yard, poking holes in the ground and creating uncomfortable lumps in your lawn. They live in colonies and pose a pest problem if left unchecked. While they aren’t aggressive, they can attack when they feel threatened.
To get rid of ground bees in your yard, you can flood their nesting areas with water, trap them, electrocute them, or use natural repellents like cinnamon powder or cayenne pepper. Essential oils like peppermint, lavender, or citronella can also help repel the bees without harming them.
Ground bees typically make underground nesting tunnels with a single entrance, which can be identified by mounds of dirt at the surface. This makes it easier to spot them and treat their nests. Read on as I discuss the different methods for getting rid of ground bees.
1. Flood Your Yard
One of the easiest and most effective ways to get rid of ground bees is by flooding their nesting areas with water.
A wet environment is not conducive to bee nesting, so this will force them to find a new place to nest.
Ground bees prefer dry, sandy soil as it’s easier to burrow and tunnel in.
Saturating their nesting areas with water will make the potential nesting areas too wet for them to inhabit.
Use a garden hose or sprinkler system to avoid getting too close to the nesting areas.
Spread a 2-3 inches (5-8 cm) layer of mulch after flooding to prevent excessive evaporation.
Be consistent with saturating the nesting areas every few days to ensure all the ground bees have left.
2. Trap Them in Their Nests
You can also trap the ground bees in their nests by covering the entrance with a heavy brick or filling the tunnels with soil to completely block the entrance.
This will prevent the bees from entering or exiting the nest and eventually lead to their death as they run out of food and oxygen.
Cover the nests from mid-morning to late afternoons when the bees are out foraging. Wear protective clothing and keep a safe distance away from the nest.
3. Electrocution With a Bee Zapper
If you have the means, consider using an electric bee zapper to eliminate ground bees.
Zappers feature a powerful electric grid that electrocutes any ground bee that comes into contact with it.
When a ground bee flies over the zapper, its movement trips a sensor that activates the electric grid and electrocutes the bee.
Electric bee zappers are widely available in home improvement stores and gardening centers and are relatively easy to install.
Place them strategically around your yard to cover as much ground as possible.
However, use this method with extreme caution and only if you have the proper equipment and knowledge to handle it. The last thing you want is to electrocute yourself.
4. Use Natural Repellents
Natural repellents like cinnamon powder, cayenne pepper, or garlic powder can repel ground bees from the area.
The scents from these substances confuse and irritate the bees, causing them to avoid the area.
Sprinkle a generous amount of the powder on the ground near their nesting areas and reapply after a few days.
You can also mix these powders with water to make a spray. Apply the spray directly to their nesting areas every few days.
Alternatively, you can apply essential oils like peppermint, lavender, lemongrass, or citronella directly into the underground nesting areas to repel ground bees.
These natural oils have a strong, pungent smell which will discourage the bees from nesting.
Mix essential oils with soapy water for maximum effectiveness. Spray the bees late in the evening when the bees are least active and reapply every few days.
5. DIY a Soda Bottle Trap
For DIYers and budget-savvy people, you can make a soda bottle trap to get rid of ground bees.
Bottle traps are designed to lure in bees and trap them inside the bottle, where they eventually die.
You can use fruit juice, honey, or sugar water to lure the bees in.
You will need the following:
- Plastic soda bottle
- Fruit juice or honey/sugar water
- Cut the upper half of the bottle off, about 1/3 of the way down.
- Pour the desired lure into the bottom half of the bottle.
- Invert the upper half and insert it into the lower half, creating an inverted cone shape.
- Secure the two parts together using tape.
- Place the trap near their nesting areas and wait for the bees to get trapped. Empty and replace the lure every few days to keep the trap effective.
Repeat every few days until all the bees are gone.
6. Make a Vinegar Solution
Vinegar is an effective natural remedy for getting rid of ground bees. It has acetic acid, which is responsible for its strong, pungent smell that repels bees.
When it lands on the bees, the acid dries out their exoskeletons, killing them.
For this method, you’ll need the following:
- White vinegar
- Spray bottle
- Mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
- Spray the solution directly into the nest and around the nesting areas.
- Repeat every few days until all the bees are gone.
Spray at night and wear protective gear to avoid painful stings from the female ground bees. You can use the remaining vinegar solution to control aphids, mites, and other garden pests.
7. Plant Grass and Other Dense Ground Cover
Ground bees love bare patches of soil where they can easily excavate their nests.
Planting grass or dense ground cover around the nesting areas will make it difficult for them to dig and build new nests, forcing them to look for another area.
The added vegetation will also provide food and shelter for other beneficial insects like ladybugs and bees, which can help balance your garden ecosystem.
Choose fast-growing plants that require little maintenance and provide deep ground coverage.
Hardier plants like clover, yarrow, thyme, or chamomile are great options for ground cover.
Plant them in areas where the bees have been nesting, and water regularly to promote proper growth.
Mulch the area to retain moisture and discourage ground bees from returning.
8. Using Mothballs
Mothballs are a toxic yet effective solution to getting rid of ground bees.
These balls contain naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, two potent chemical compounds toxic to ground bees.
They are also harmful to humans and animals, so use them cautiously.
To use mothballs:
- Place the mothballs in a mesh bag and hang them near the nesting areas.
- Leave for a few days and replace them as needed, as the scent of the mothballs will eventually dissipate.
- Wear protective clothing and a face mask when handling the mothballs to avoid contact with the toxic fumes.
The toxic fumes from the mothballs will eventually repel the bees, and they will move away from the nesting area.
However, mothballs should be used as a last resort only after other methods fail.
Ground bees are an important part of the ecosystem, but they can become a nuisance when their nesting grounds are too close to our homes.
By following the tips above, you should be able to get rid of them without resorting to expensive chemical treatments.
Preventive measures such as planting ground cover and using natural repellents can also help keep them away in the future.
With these tactics, you should have a yard free of ground bees in no time.
Cheers, tools owners!