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What Are Mining Bees?
If you’ve spotted a black and yellow flying insect digging into the ground it might be a mining bee. Also referred to as digger bees, these flying insects are solitary bees which nest in burrows in the ground. Unlike many social wasps and bees controlled by a queen they don’t form long-lived colonies, nor do they live inside one well-defended nest. Instead, each mining bee female usually digs an individual burrow to rear her own young. Mining bees are not aggressive and can be good for the garden.
Mining bees occur in loose groups, but are not social insects like honey bees or paper wasps. They are what’s called ‘sub-social’ in that they don’t have a hive of divide labour between workers and queens like fully social bees and wasps, they have a commune-like system where there all live in the same place and they are all closely related and share resources including food locations, but they rear their own young. So, they are primitive social insects- evolution isn’t dull!
Miner bees can sting, but only do it very rarely and only when defending their eggs.
In the garden, mining bees are extremely beneficial insects. They pollinate many different types of plants and their burrowing does not harm vegetation and may be beneficial in aerating the soil. If you do have them in the garden it would be advisable to wear shoes as they are not likely to sting you unless you tread on them. If they are really causing a problem, wait until autumn/winter and dig the nests up or turn the soil over in that area. The brood chambers won’t be that deep and it should prevent recurrence the following year.
Miner Bee Facts
Description - Miner bees can be distinguisged from most other small bees by their velvety areas in between the compound eyes and the antennal bases called 'facial foe'.
Size - Body length commonly ranges between 8 and 17 mm with males smaller and more slender than females.
Diet - Mining bees are important pollinators. The adults eat nectar (many are picky consumers of just a few plants) and they provide both nectar and pollen for their larvae.
Habitat - These bees are commonly found in gardens and parks, creating their nest cavities along south-facing embankments with sparse or short vegetation, including managed lawns.
Lifespan - Once outside of the nest, the average lifespan is a brief 4-6 weeks.
Purpose - In the garden Mining bees are extremely beneficial insects. They pollinate many different types of plants and their burrowing does not harm vegetation and may be beneficial in aerating the soil.
Protect Your Home From Miner Bees
Our RSPH qualified technicians can help protect your home & family by providing fast, discreet, effective targeted bee control solutions. Get in touch today to arrange one of our technicians visit you property.
Eradicating Miner Bees
Our RSPH qualified technicians provide safe, effective solutions to get rid of miner bees, using industry-leading treatments. If you have spotted any of the signs above, you should arrange for professional treatments to get rid of bees quickly.
Call us today on 0800 107 8741 and have a chat with one of our trained staff members for more advice & to get your quote.