What’s the best way to deter miner bees without killing them?
We recently discovered quite the community of miner bees near our home we recently purchased. They are living within a patch of ground that is about eight feet long and two feet wide between our walkway and our driveway. The entire patch is filled with different miner bee colonies. I know that they are non aggressive pollinators, but I hope to be able to turn the area into lawn. I’m wondering what the best way to go about doing this is as I don’t want to kill the bees, but I would like to deter them. It’s already been a couple of weeks, so my concern is I have read they don’t live very long so they already are probably part way through their life cycle and have laid eggs for the next season. I am happy to try and get some photos. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated.
Pamela Hargest, Horticulture Professional
Our State Apiarist, Jennifer Lund answered a very similar question for me last year, so I’m including her response here….
Miner bees (family Andrenidae) are usually only active from early April to mid-May so you should see their activity reduce in a couple of weeks. You will see fewer and fewer adults and the holes they create will fill back in. The numbers will fluctuate from year to year. Next year you may not see as many, depending on the winter conditions and the productivity this year.
They are not aggressive and rarely sting so they aren’t much of a worry for humans and pests. They are the earliest of our native bees to emerge in the spring and are very important fruit pollinators (including apples and blueberries). They are common but their nesting sites are not evenly distributed around the state so populations are scattered.
Besides digging up the whole area and replacing the soil, it is difficult to discourage them from an area. If there were portions of the lawn that you use more frequently, you can focus on trying to get some topsoil on those areas. Otherwise I usually tell people that they will be gone shortly and to wait them out. They will not be around the whole summer.