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.
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
On 19 Aug 2003 12:21:34 GMT, email@example.com (CbarRose) opined:
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.
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.)
On 19 Aug 2003 14:43:11 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (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.
tell them to fill a gas powered lawn mower or better something emits smoke and
so smoke crosses the area and the bees will get out. Ingrid
email@example.com (CbarRose) wrote:
List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List
Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame
Unfortunately, I receive no money, gifts, discounts or other
compensation for all the damn work I do, nor for any of the
endorsements or recommendations I make.
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.
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.
Another site claims that Africanized honeybees will
nest in the ground:
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.)
firstname.lastname@example.org (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
Wow, searching for pictures ... there are an awful lot of kids, pets and
Autobots masquerading as bumblebees.
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