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Friday, July 29, 2016

Some Bees are Stingless to Humans

Q. I noticed numerous several small bees swarming around one of my brick planters.  The bees were not aggressive and small … about ½ to ¾ inches long.  There wasn’t a hive of any type, but I did notice a small hole (about ¼ in diameter) in the dirt where the bees would enter and exit.   I did some quick internet research and these appear to be type of Solitary Bee.  Attached are two pics of one that I caught with my pool net…sorry the pictures aren’t very good, but I was hoping that you could confirm that these are Solitary Bees.  They have a black/gray body and the underside is yellow.
If they are Solitary Bees, the research I did indicates that they aren’t aggressive, rarely sting, and are great pollinators.  However, they are a nuisance where they are located.  Do you have any suggestions on how I can get them to move ground nest to another location without killing them?
One of the solitary bees we frequently see signs of in the garden include the leaf cutter bee.
You can build bee boxes or homes for these bees to use for egg laying by drilling one 2:45 eighths inch holes deeply in large blocks of wood.
A. Joe yes these are solitary bees. I am no be expert but my understanding is that solitary bees do
not make be colonies, they do not make sizable amounts of honey, they are not aggressive and they cannot sting. However, I think they get a late start in the season and so early crops such as tree fruits may not be the best for them to pollinate. They are better for pollinating plants that bloom later in the season like summer vegetables and flowers. 

An example of a solitary bee are the leaf cutter bees. You can attract more bees by putting out clean water. They need water to keep cool, honeybees in particular to cool their hives. Honeybees are constantly carrying water back to the hive during hot weather. But the water has to be changed regularly. 

As far as moving them, I don't know any way to move them. I think many of them lay their eggs in these holes and the young bees emerge from them later. That is the way with leaf cutter bees so I'm guessing these guys are similar.

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