Ground bees active but do not threaten people or yards

Insect Ecology and Integrated Pest Management

As I write this my front yard is abuzz with small bees.  Many are flying around just above the ground while others fly back and forth to redbuds and camellias gathering pollen.

Although these bees do not generally sting I watch as mothers nervously cross the street with strollers.  Neighbors pass by and comment “Watch out for all those fire ants” referring to the small mounds that dot my sparsely vegetated lawn.  Others offer suggestions on how to rid myself of these dangerous beasts that are “tearing up your lawn.”

The bees I am watching are ground nesting bees in the family Andrenidae.  All the species

in this family are solitary and nest in the ground.  Solitary means they do not maintain vast hives with hundreds of workers like honeybees or yellow jackets. A single female bee builds the nest by burrowing into the ground.  She prepares larval cells where…

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