mining bee

Please help! We have wasps all over the lawn, can you help us? 

Please help! We have wasps all over the lawn, can you help us? Is the message I’m constantly hearing at the moment and all because it’s that time of year when we see the emergence of the ground or mining bee. These little solitary bees use a wasp like camouflage to throw off any potential predators and, this also has the effect of tricking us into thinking that they’re wasps, when in fact, they’re harmless and defenceless solitary bee’s that really are important pollinators. 
mining bees
So what’s happening in this video? 
On a recent callout, we shot this footage on a garden in Woodley where the flowerbed has been left relatively undisturbed for the last couple of years, the soil here is sandy, as well as free draining plus its southerly facing so nice and warm. Its position means that its become the absolute ideal site for mining bee’s to come to and lay their eggs in. 
All through the summer, Mrs Bee and her friends have been busy excavating burrows, laying their eggs inside and packing in a mixture of pollen and nectar for her young grubs to eat when they hatch out. At the end of the summer, her lifecycle has come to an end and at that effort is concentrated around this small piece of ground. 
The bee grubs have hatched out of the eggs and fed on the pollen and nectar – bee bread which she provided, after that they have gone through the pupation cycle to become adult bees, and it’s the male bees who will emerge first. We can see them darting about a few inches above the surface of the soil as they are on the lookout for the female’s bees as they emerge a little later on.  
What happens then, is there’s a mad scramble to mate, as these males only have a short lifespan of just a few weeks; the females will live through to next year. They will fly off and eat as much nectar as they can before they will return to the this patch of soil as they will hibernate through the winter months. 
Can these bees sting? 
All of these ground bee’s are completely safe, they can be intimidating due to the sheer number of them and they can be very loud, this is because they’ve picked the same area as others to nest in. Because these bees don’t have a colony to protect like wasps do and they don’t have food stores to protect like the honeybee’s, they have evolved to do without a stinger or any venom. 
In truth, there are a few species of ground bee’s that may still have a stinger but they don’t produce any venom, so they pose no threat to us. In their sheer scale of numbers, I can easily see how people find their presence alarming, but they’re totally harmless, and you’ve got to give it to the bee’s, its a wonderful spectacle and something you should enjoy watching. 
Tagged as: Bee's and wasps
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