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How To Get Rid Of Ground Bees?

Common bee collects pollen from flowers in a meadow

Common bee collects pollen from flowers in a meadow

Ground bees can be one of the largest outdoor pests to homeowners. Unlike bees which have nests in trees and shrubs, ground bees are dangerous because anyone can step onto their nest. This would cause the bees to be provoked and attack an individual. Luckily, there are several methods to remove the ground bees from your home and yard.

One of the most environmentally friendly ideas is to cover the nest with several large tarps. These tarps should be big enough to cover the nest whole as well as several feet in each direction of the nest. Placing tarps over the nest with heavy logs/stones/bricks on each side of the tarps. Make sure to do this at night in order to have as many of the bees in the nest as possible. Wear dark colors so that you do not attract any bees while placing the tarps on top. This method is one of the most environmentally friendly methods that can be used.

Another method involves pouring chemicals down the bees nest. These chemicals can be toxic and/or dangerous to animals and the yard surrounding the ground bee nest. Chemical powders and sprays are available for purchase at your local home improvement store. Try to find a chemical product that is specialized for ground bees, not any type of bees.

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Professional exterminators can respond to remove the bees from your yard. Many of these exterminators charge a set fee for visiting the location and then charge an hourly fee plus materials to remove the bees. This process can become extremely expensive rather quickly. Bee keepers offer another option for homeowners. Some professional bee keepers are attempting to locate as many bees as possible and will come to your home to remove them. They may not be available to come out to your home for days and they may/may not be able to remove all of the bees.

There are several methods that you do not want to use when trying to get rid of bees that nest in the ground. One of the worst methods that you could use is putting gasoline into the nest. Gasoline is extremely flammable. Any gasoline poured into a nest that is ignited could burn for hours. Fire departments have had to respond to gasoline fires and they take some time to put out. Also, pouring gasoline into the nest could cause groundwater damage as well as violates federal, state and local laws. Do NOT try to flush out the ground bees with a simple water hose. Water is not going to do anything but fill the hole that the bees were in. It is not going to remove the bees or cause the bees to evacuate. Do NOT try to pour drain cleaner or any poison not meant for ground bees down into the ground. These substances are just like gasoline and are not safe for the groundwater.

Be extremely careful when trying to remove ground bees. There are many different methods that can be used and each should be used with extreme caution. Anytime that you are stung, it may be worth calling a professional exterminator to remove the ground bees from your home.


Kelly Hurston has been a professional writer for 10 years. She joined TheHousingForum Team in May, 2010. Kelly enjoys cooking, doing DIY projects, and is an avid reader.

  • Wildthingloon

    I’m sure if mine are dangerous but I have over 50 small mounds in my back yard with bees. How can I be sure that they are dangerous and the chemicals that the exterminater laid didn’t do it. The spray and water activated pellets showed to not even put a dent in them It is such a large area. How can I get them all?

  • Aslaytonjr8

    how long do you leave the tarp down…

  • jeanne

    so what do you do after the tarps are down??
    Could I use bedsheets//at night//and then pour boiling water thru???
    I don’t see how the tarps can kill them>>>

  • PennyV

    Jeanne, the idea behind using tarps is to keep the bees from entering or leaving the nest.  This encourages the ones outside the nest to relocate. It keeps the bees that are inside the next from getting out to get more food.  However, the thicker tarps also prevent the bees from getting enough oxygen so they suffocate.  Bed sheets tend to be more porous than tarps are so would allow more air to get in to the nest.  

    The tarp method basically requires these steps:
    1. wait until dark, then lay tarps over the nest’s entrances (there may be more than one entrance).  You’re doing it when it gets dark so that you can get as many bees as possible at one time.  Most of the bees should be in the nest by dark and will be more docile then.
    2, Make sure the tarp is laying flat on the ground so the bees can’t work their way under the tarp.
    3. weigh the tarp down on all four sides so that it stays completely flat to the ground and doesn’t allow the bees to escape from the nest.
    4. leave the tarp down for 3-4 days.

    The main drawback to this method is that it can kill the grass under the tarp as well as kill the bees.  Some people recommend using glass bowls to cover the nests instead of using tarps.  The glass bowls allows sunshine to reach the grass so doesn’t kill the grass out.

    Some people also recommend pouring water down into the nest 3-4 nights in a row.  On one forum, the person used a combination of mesh wiring and using a garden hose to put water into the nest for several nights in a row.  So your idea of using bed sheets and boiling water may work out just fine.

  • PennyV

    Aslaytonjr8, you should leave the tarps down 3-4 days.

  • PennyV

    Wildthingloon, the only way to get rid of them all is to keep making the location undesirable to the bees and killing them off a few at a time, starting with the most annoying bees first.  But before you can effectively get rid of any of the bees, you should first try to identify what type they are.  There are many species of bees and wasps that nest in the ground, and not all of them are that aggressive when left alone.  So you may just want to concentrate on the areas that are the most well-used by humans.   Most pets have enough common sense not to rile up the bees.  And the bees usually have enough commonsense not to place their nests where there is lots of other animal activity going on.

  • PennyV

    It should also be noted that research has proven that dark-colored clothing and the color red attract stinging insects, especially bees and wasps.  So it’s best to wear light colored-clothing when being near the nests.  It should also be noted that anyone attempting to remove or kill bees and wasps shouldn’t be wearing any scented perfumes, deodorants or lotions nor have used scented soap or laundry products, especially those with floral or fruity scents.

  • Rich

    If left untouched , will the bees survive the winter undergound ?

  • PennyV

    It depends on the type of bee it is, Rich.  Ground bees typically live anywhere from 40-100 days during the winter season, depending on the severity of the weather, the bee’s gender, and availability of food.  In most cases, ground bees are solitary and docile creatures.  They may live near other ground bees, but they are not part of any colony.  They tend to build nests in sandy, barren soil during June, July & August.  Many of the females die off once they lay their eggs.  In some cases, the bees may stay in a hive and go dormant until Spring.

  • E Curtis Preston

    Is soapy water effective? Or ammonia?

  • Jim

    Would pieces of plywood work in lieu of tarps as don’t have any tarps?

  • PennyV

    Jim, pieces of plywood should work just as well as tarps. as long as the ground is level and the air supply to the nest is thoroughly closed off. You may want to throw some dirt around the edges to ensure there’s no openings. But as with the dark tarps, leaving plywood down for several days may kill off the grass underneath due to lack of sunshine reaching the grass.