Should I Kill The Mining Bees?
Q: I have a colony of mining bees under some shrubs. These bees are always on the move, hovering over the soil, and under the shrubbery. Should I get them exterminated? I do not want to hamper the pollination of plants in the area but I do not want to get stung either.
A: Don’t kill the bees! Mining bees are considered a “beneficial nuisance”, like caterpillar-consuming yellowjackets. But unlike yellowjackets, mining bee perform great feats of pollination. The ones you see are mostly stingless male bees. The females fly quickly in and out of their soil tube homes, bringing in pollen to deposit with their eggs. They ignore intruders. Mining bee lives are short. The adults are usually all gone by late April. Leave them alone or stand nearby and marvel at their industry.
There are close to 200 native bee species in Georgia. The Georgia Native Bee Biodiversity Assessment Project maintains a terrific website devoted to their identification at bit.ly/GAnatbees