Bees In Your Garden | Ground Bees, Bumble Bees, and Carpenter Bees

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When you think of the word ‘sting,’ probably the first thing that comes to your mind would be bees. If yes, then you are truly in for a surprise since here you will be made aware of the number of bee species found around the world.

Bee stings may only need minor at-home care, but they are particularly dangerous if you have severe allergic reactions. This emphasizes the value of using a cozy and protective beekeeper suit when working with bees. This will ensure both your protection from the bees and their protection from you. Wearing one will allow you to work safely and uninterrupted, whether you are removing wild bees or running a beekeeping operation in your garden.

Yes, there are over 25,000 known species of bees all over the world. They are divided into over 4,000 sub-species that belong within nine groups, all under the banner, Apoidea. Since there are so many different kinds of bees today, the focus will primarily be on three types of bees – ground bees, bumble bees, and carpenter bees.

Ground bees

Also known as miner bees, ground bees are solitary bees that construct underground nests, with the queen living alone and raining the young ones. The entrances of the nest are small patches or piles of bare soil.

Since ground bees do not construct hives, several females nesting in the same area is a common sight. Ground bee queens are very docile in nature and do not defend their nesting areas, thereby posing less or no threat to people.

The males patrol an area inhabited by mate-seeking females. Although it may look like the males are aggressive in nature, they also lack a sting and are harmless. Just like other types of bees, ground bees are active foragers of pollen and nectar from flowers, thus making them beneficial for nature.

Their nest entrances are tiny molds of soil across a few inches and do not harm the soil or grass. As a matter of fact, these nests act as aeration holes and improve the penetration of nutrients and water. After the nests are abandoned after the spring season, water washes the soil back into place and the nest disappears.

If you feel like getting rid of ground bees, there is no need to use pesticides. Since these bees live under the dry soil, all you need to do is water the area. The bees will move out and choose another dry area. The nest works like an airport where one bee enters or leaves the hole at a time. But, it would be wise to just leave the bees alone as they are completely harmless and even benefit the garden and lawn.

Bumble bees

Bumble bees are larger cousins of honey bees and have a black body covered with dense black and yellow hair. They can easily be confused with carpenter bees, except there is one main difference – carpenter bees are comparatively larger than bumble bees.

Bumble bees are the most common type of bee with over 250 different species found around the world. But, despite the bumble bees fun facts that these bees are found in many countries, they are more indigenous to the Northern Hemisphere than temperate climates. The bee has a sting on its tail, which is used as a defense mechanism. Once stung, the sting breaks off and the bee generally dies.

On contrary to popular belief, not all bumble bees have stings. Only the female is equipped with a sting, not the males. They primarily feed on nectar but if there is no nectar available, they also eat honey and pollen. These bees get their names from the noise they make when they get into a flower. The movement of the bee is so fast that the pollen gets stuck on their bodies.

Nest sites vary in different bumble bee species. Commonly, these bees prefer dark and dry cavities, which you might find in unexpected places. Some nests can be seen underground, in compost heaps, under sheds, or in abandoned rodent holes. More commonly, nests above the ground can be seen in trees, lofts, or bird boxes.

Inside the nest, you will see the queen bee that lays all of the eggs. Surrounding her is a group of worker bees that looks after the nest, raises new offspring, and collects food. The hexagonal cells are for storing honey or raising offspring.

Carpenter bees


It is often during early summer or late-spring that homeowners notice big, black bees hovering outside their homes. These bees are known as carpenter bees and are searching for mates and favorable sites to construct their nests.

The males can be aggressive in nature and often hover in front of people whom they think are a threat. But, they are harmless since they do not have a stinger. On the other hand, the females can deliver a painful sting; although mostly, they are docile in nature.

Carpenter bees resemble a lot like bumble bees. But, the upper surface of the former is bare and black, while the latter has a hairy abdomen with some yellow markings. But, despite the similar appearances, the nesting habits of the two bees are completely different. While bumble bees usually build their nests on the ground or any other open area, carpenter bees drill their way into the wood to lay their eggs.

Carpenter bees prefer unpainted, weathered, or bare softwoods to lay their eggs. Some common nesting sites include outdoor furniture, decks, wooden shakes, siding, fascia boards, window trim, eaves, etc. The offspring grow in the wood into adults and emerge during the springtime.

These bees have earned a bad reputation for creating holes and destroying wood. The only thing that seems to deter them is painted wood. However, when it comes to pollination, these bees are wonderful. Just like bumble bees and honey bees, carpenter bees have pollen baskets on their legs that help distribute pollen grains around the area. They are excellent pollinators.

So, these are some of the most common types of bees that are found in your garden or residential area. Mostly, these bees are not aggressive in nature and just want to move on with their lives. But, it would be wise to remember that many will defend their nests and territory very actively. Therefore, if you are not okay with having a beehive anywhere within your vicinity, it would be a good idea to get professional help.