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Digger Bees: What You Need to Know About These Ground-Nesting Pollinator

If you have ever noticed small mounds of soil with holes in your lawn or garden, you may have wondered what kind of creature made them. Chances are, you have encountered digger bees, also known as ground bees, a group of bees that nest underground. Digger bees are not a single species, but a broad term that covers thousands of different kinds of bees that share this nesting habit. In this article, we will explore some facts about digger bees, their benefits for the environment and your yard, and how to deal with them if they become a nuisance.

What Are Digger Bees?

Digger bees are typically large, fuzzy bees that belong to the same family as honeybees and bumblebees (Apidae), but have distinct characteristics and behaviors. They are found all over the world, with more than 900 species in North America alone. Some of the common types of digger bees include miner bees, yellow-faced bees, sweat bees, and plasterer bees.

Digger bees are mostly solitary bees, meaning they live alone and do not form colonies like social bees do. Each female digger bee digs her own nest in the soil, usually about six inches deep, where she lays her eggs and provides them with a supply of nectar and pollen. The larvae hatch and feed on the provisions until they are ready to emerge as adult bees. Male digger bees do not help with the nesting or provisioning, but only mate with the females.

Digger bees are active in the spring and summer, when they visit a wide variety of flowers to collect nectar and pollen. They are excellent pollinators, and some species are even more efficient than honeybees and bumblebees in transferring pollen from one flower to another. Digger bees are also important for maintaining the diversity and health of native plants and ecosystems.

Are Digger Bees Harmful?

Digger bees are generally harmless to humans and animals. They are not aggressive and will only sting if provoked or threatened. Only female digger bees can sting, as male bees do not have stingers. The sting of a digger bee is usually mild and causes only temporary pain and swelling.

Digger bees are also not harmful to your lawn or garden. In fact, they can be beneficial for your soil and plants. Digger bees aerate the soil by digging their nests, which improves water drainage and nutrient absorption for the roots of your grass and flowers. They also pollinate your plants and help them produce seeds and fruits.

However, some people may find digger bees annoying or unsightly if they create too many holes or mounds in their yard. Digger bees tend to nest in areas with bare or sandy soil, where they can easily dig their tunnels. They may also prefer sunny spots with little vegetation or moisture.

digger bee 2
A closeup of a female grey-backed mining bee, Andrena vaga, on the ground

How to Control Digger Bees?

If you want to reduce the number of digger bees in your yard, there are some natural and non-toxic methods you can try. Here are some tips from Swat Pest Control, a company that offers all-natural treatments for homeowners in New Jersey:

  • Avoid disturbing or mowing over the nests of digger bees, as this may trigger them to sting or relocate to another spot in your yard.
  • Water your lawn regularly to keep the soil moist and compacted, which makes it harder for digger bees to dig their nests.
  • Plant more grass or flowers to cover the bare spots where digger bees like to nest. You can also mulch or landscape these areas with rocks or gravel.
  • Use organic repellents such as garlic, mint, or citrus peels to deter digger bees from nesting in your yard. You can sprinkle these around the nests or make a spray with water and vinegar.
  • If you have a severe infestation of digger bees that is affecting your quality of life or causing damage to your property, you may want to contact a professional pest control service that can safely and effectively remove them.


Digger bees are fascinating creatures that play an important role in pollination and soil health. They are not dangerous or destructive, but rather beneficial for your yard and the environment. However, if you find them bothersome or problematic, you can use some natural methods to control them or seek professional help from Swat Pest Control.