Bees nesting in lawn

Would someone here help identify a social bee that nests in lawns? The bees look very like honeybees (from a few feet away) in size and coloration (they are almost certainly not wasps). They aren't particularly aggressive but alas, yesterday one did sting a toddler who grabbed at it while playing on the grass. The nest is in a very central and unavoidable place on a neighbor's property. I'm trying to get information to learn (a) what species these are, and (b) if there's a way to avoid destroying them. (As much as I hate the thought of killing bees, these may in fact be best removed from the gene pool for nesting is such a silly spot as the edge of a front walk.)
Many thanks for any information. Carol
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There is no way to identify it with a magic crystal ball! You will have to capture one and bring it to a garden center for identification, or take a photograph.
On 19 Aug 2003 12:21:34 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comspamnot (CbarRose) opined:

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animaux snipped-for-privacy@jh7ikd.net wrote:

Thank you for a reasonable suggestion, but these bees are swarming around the nest area and it wouldn't be possible to capture one. I realize the identification I gave is vague; I guess I'm just looking to narrow down the possibilities so I can do some more online research. I've tried searching for "ground-nesting social bees" and the like, and have had lots of hits but no real means of identification. (And it may not matter.....!)
By the way, I'm in the northeastern USA, if that helps with anything.
Thanks again, Carol
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Can you describe it in more detail. coloration,flight,size,etc?
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snipped-for-privacy@localnet.com (Beecrofter) wrote:

The bees are 1/2 - 3/4 inches in length (they aren't uniform in size), and more round than slender. The abdomen is dark, the thorax is yellow with some black. (I know, pretty lousy description!) Several I saw today going into the nest hole had pollen baskets. The local beekeeper who was called to the location could only ascertain that they were NOT honeybees (which we knew, of course) and were bees rather than wasps (which we also knew). Their behavior seems exactly that of the ground-nesting bumble bees whose description I quoted in a previous post today, but to me they don't look like bumble bees (not fuzzy overall, just the thorax).
I'll have to wait until morning to get a better look, now that you've asked the questions, unless you can make a determination now. (I'm not even sure they'll still be there, unfortunately.)
Many thanks! Carol
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On 20 Aug 2003 01:05:27 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comspamnot (CbarRose) opined:

Not all bumble bees look the same. My guess is they are bumble bees and are beneficial insects.
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On 19 Aug 2003 14:43:11 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comspamnot (CbarRose) opined:

Can't you describe what it looks like? You say you don't recognize it as anything familiar, but what then does it look like. Size, color, big, small, rings around abdomen, anything you can see?
BTW, I don't know what you mean by swarming. Describe that, as well.
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tell them to fill a gas powered lawn mower or better something emits smoke and sit it so smoke crosses the area and the bees will get out. Ingrid
snipped-for-privacy@aol.comspamnot (CbarRose) wrote:

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Lar snipped-for-privacy@comcastBUGS.net wrote:

They aren't yellow jackets, nor any sort of wasp I've ever seen. I've gardened for years and have seen enough yellow jackets to make that distinction. I wish they were, because then I'd be able to advise my neighbors to get them zapped. Right now, I'm trying to figure out a more conservative approach, because, fortunately, no one has become hysterical......yet!
Thanks for a very logical suggestion....I wish it were so.
Carol
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How social? According to a number of sites, there are a number of ground-nesting bees, and while most are *relatively* solitary, they can nest in groups.
See:
ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2143.html
Another site claims that Africanized honeybees will nest in the ground:
www.ci.pasadena.ca.us/publichealth/africanized_honey_bee_facts.asp
billo
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snipped-for-privacy@radix.net (Bill Oliver) wrote:

The first site you indicated above was one I'd visited earlier but I just went back and reread the following which appears under the Bumble Bee section:
<< Colonies are annual, lasting only one summer. There are usually less than 200 individuals in a colony and nests are generally found in open grasslands. The queen establishes the nest site by lining an existing cavity with dry grass or moss. She collects a mass of pollen and moistens this with nectar to produce a stored food called "bee bread." The first brood of spring numbers 5 to 20, all workers, who enlarge the nest, gather food and feed the larvae. The queen continues to lay eggs throughout the summer and by late summer, reproductive males and females are produced. These mate during flight and fertilized females move to overwintering sites. Remaining males and workers in the colony die with frost or the first hard freeze. Nests can be detected by the presence of many males flying about the entrance. Stinging workers, sometimes called "dive bombers," can respond quickly when their territory is invaded. Easily irritated, workers will aggressively pursue an intruder attempting to escape.>>
This is the scenario we're witnessing now, with many males flying around the entrance. My neighbors have summoned, through the advice of the township, a local beekeeper, who confirms the identification. We are seeing, for the most part, a hundred or more very nonaggressive males, but the child was stung yesterday by a stinging worker, and there's no way to avoid that happening again. If the nest were in a place that could be cordoned off and avoided, it would pose no hazard. However, it borders a heavily-trafficked sidewalk where kids ride bikes and play.
Anyway, thanks to all for your timely and helpful responses. For now, I'm leaving it to my neighbors, who are leaning towards having the colony destroyed. (If it were on my lawn, I'd find another way.)
Thanks all, Carol
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Could be "digger" bees, (anthropodidae): http://www.coopext.colostate.edu/4dmg/Pests/diggers.htm sed5555
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comspamnot (CbarRose) wrote in

I doesn's seem to match the digger bee picture in the link provided by sed5555 ... shiny green non-spotted thorax, head hard to tell but looks greenish, does have yellow segment.
Is it a carpenter bee? http://www.prokillpestcontrol.biz/bees.htm They have a dark spot on the thorax and looks like it might have a yellow thin segment.
Wow, searching for pictures ... there are an awful lot of kids, pets and Autobots masquerading as bumblebees.
-- Salty
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