Sunday, March 6, 2011

Winter Park Ground Bees: I have hundreds of bees flying close to the ground!

Spring is the time of year for bees and wasps to really crank up their activity, and mating is almost first on the agenda!  One of the earliest bees we start getting calls for during early spring are a group of bees we call 'ground bees'. These are several groups of bees that build nests in the ground, and are largely non-social, meaning each female digs her own burrow, provisions cells inside with pollen and nectar, and lays eggs within. The eggs hatch, the larvae eat the stored food, and develop into adults, all underground several feet, and emerge sometime the following year, or maybe in the fall
Ground Bee nest opening

Often, we will find hundreds of these burrows, while they look similar to ant mounds, these have a larger hole, and not bee activity.

These are really cool bees, and I usually can lay down amongst the hundreds that are flying at grass-top level, photographing at will, with nary a sting. So, control of these is often not needed, however, we do have treatment protocols established for folks who are sting sensitive, or for high traffic public areas where the sting risk is a concern.

Feel free to call us if you'd like more information about these wonderful pollinators.

Richard Martyniak M.Sc., Entomologist 1-800-343-5317

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