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What are Digger Bee’s

By Chris Williams on March 28, 2011.

Q. I’m starting to see little mounds of soil pop up in one area of my lawn. I’ve seen sand wasps before, but there are dozens of these things flying low to the ground and they sort of look like some type of bee. What are they?
digger-bee
A. Yes, you are correct, these are called digger bees and they are part of the large family Apidae that also includes honeybees, bumblebees, and carpenter bees. They are solitary bees (even though they may be living near one another there is no cooperation between individuals as is the case with honeybees) with each female being responsible for rearing her own offspring. Their lifecycle is a bit similar to the digger wasps in that they overwinter in the larval stage and complete development in the spring. Adult digger bees emerge from the ground in early summer. They differ from the digger wasps in dietary choices by provisioning their nests with pollen (similar to other bees) instead of preying on other insects. Though they can sting, digger bees are non aggressive when it comes to encroachment on their nests. I’ve stood right in the middle of hundreds of them cruising over a sandy area in a client’s yard and never once was I stung. Digger bees nesting in a lawn can be a nuisance, and different treatment options are available, but since they prefer areas with marginal turf, the best defense is a healthy vigorous lawn.

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