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Are Ground Bees Pollinators? (Do They Harm?)




Are Ground Bees Pollinators

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It is undeniable that bees are the greatest pollinators contributing to our ecosystem. Among different types of bees ground bees are the largest group of bees. It’s our concern are ground bees pollinators? If they do so how do they contribute to our ecosystem?

That’s what we are going to talk about today. Besides will discuss the benefits of having ground bees in your yard. Also, the danger of having ground bees. First, let’s learn a little about ground bees and their nesting habit.




What Is Ground Bees?

There are more than 20,000 species of bees were discovered. Among those ground bees are a special type of bee that lives in the ground. They create their nest in the ground and reproduce there.

Bumble bees, carpenter bees, blackjack bees, and so many other bees are known as ground bees. They are called so because of their nesting habit in the ground by digging soil. Carpenter bees and blackjack bees also create their nest in house walls, or woods, besides in the soil.



Why Are Bees Living On The Ground?

Around 70% of the total number of bees are living on the ground all over the world. This amount is really huge. So, probably your yard might have ground bees too.


Ground bee
Ground bee


These huge numbers of Bees are living on the ground due to several reasons. These include the following:

  1. Underground nests provide more protection from predators.
  2. There are a lot of food resources available close to the ground.
  3. Creating a nest under the ground is very easier. Because there is an unlimited suitable location for creating their nest.
  4. Less competition for nest sites.
  5. Most Bees that are solitary in nature used to live in the ground. Because they do not live in colonies like honey bees.
  6. Temperature regulation is much easier for underground nests.

According to temperature conditions, and availability of food sources bees create their nest in the ground. If you are interested to get in-depth knowledge about ground bees check this pdf.




Are Ground Bees Pollinators?

We have discussed ground bees and their nesting habit. Now it’s the main concern “Are ground bees pollinators?”

The answer is yes! most of the ground bees are pollinators. In fact, they create their nest only if there are pollinating plants available close to their nest site. But There are also some types of ground bees that do not contribute to pollination. Such ground bees are mason bees, yellow-faced bees, etc.

Ground bees that do not contribute to pollination also eat pollen. But they eat pollen from non-pollinating plants. Like bananas, plantains, conifers, etc.


Are ground bees Pollinators
Ground Bee Pollination


These bees also eat honeydew and tree sap. Some of them can eat small predator insects too. 

But bees who are pollinators mostly rely on flowering plants. Ground bees like bumble bees do not live in a large colony like honey bees.

They create their nest for their family. Which may include the father, mother, and their child bees. They travel from flower to flower to collect nectar for their larvae. During which they transfer pollen from one plant to different plants. 

By doing so they are contributing to pollination. In fact, there are certain crops that can’t produce fruits without pollination by ground bees. Such fruits are melons, strawberries, cherries, apples, etc.

Pollinating ground bees create their nest during early spring. In the location where spring flowering plants are available. Most of them left the place when there is no spring flowering plants available.

Some of the ground bees rely on other food sources when there are no flowers available.

Some of the ground bees are solely depend on specific seasonal flowering plants. That’s why those types of bees are seen only that season. They go somewhere else when the plants are not available anymore.

Ground bees with other bees contribute to balancing the biodiversity of our ecosystem. They increase the chances of successful pollination.

Following is the list of well-known pollinating and non-pollinating ground bees.

Pollinator Ground Bees Non-Pollinator Ground Bees
  1. Bumble bees.
  2. Large Carpenter.
  3. Green Sweat bees.
  4. Blackjack bees.
  5. Long-horned bees.
  1. Mason Bees.
  2. Small Carpenter.
  3. Some Mining bees.
  4. Yellow-faced bees.
  5. Unequal Cellophane bees.




Are Ground Bees A Problem?

As ground bees create their nest by digging soil, they can create a nest that can be a problem for you. But you shouldn’t be worried about it.

If their nest is in a weird location try to avoid interruption with them. If you don’t harm them they will also not harm you.



Are Ground Bees Aggressive?

Most of the ground bees live a solitary life. So, they are less defensive compared to honey bees and other colonial bees. This is why ground bees are less likely to be aggressive.

Male ground bees do not have any stings. But female ground bees do have a sting. But they are very less likely to sting people.

Honey bees can sting only once in their lifetime. This is why when a honey bee stings someone the sting is left on the victim’s body. 

But ground bees are not the same. Female ground bees can sting multiple times. If they sting they do not put the entire sting inside the victim’s body. This is why a ground bee sting is not much painful as a honey bee sting.



Do Ground Bees Sting?

As I already told you only female ground bees have stings. But they are very less likely to sting someone. Most of the female ground bees won’t sting you unless you try to smash their nest. You might also get stung when you try to squeeze them with your hand or by other body parts.

It is common to see some of the ground bees suddenly start chasing humans. This is just for their self-defense. They just try to drive fear to their enemy. As they don’t have any sting, they won’t be able to harm you.



How Long Do Ground Bees Stay?

Usually ground bees stay from a couple of weeks to up to 6 weeks. Most of the ground bees rely on seasonal plants. After the end of the season, the flowers are gone, so ground bees are also gone somewhere else.

It is common to see most of the ground bees start creating their nest in early spring. Because the winter is over. The weather is bee-friendly. Also, there are a lot of pollinating plants available. They go to hibernation before the winter.

This is why ground bees start creating their nest by digging holes in the soil. This is their reproduction season. But in the late summer, the flowers and fruits start to reduce. 

As a result, they need to leave the place. They go somewhere else where suitable flowering plants are available.

This is why most ground bees stay up to 1 and a half months not more than that. Usually, They are active for 2 to 6 weeks.




Are Ground Bees Any Good?

Ground bees have countless amount of good things for our nature. Not only do they contribute to pollination. They do a lot of other good things too. They are absolutely harmless until you harm them.


Contributions Of Ground Bees
Good Contributions Of Ground Bees


Followings are the helpful things contributed by ground bees.

  1. Seasonal Crops: Some of the seasonal crops depend on pollination by ground bees. Those include spring crops like lavender, peaches, pears, etc.
  2. Improving Soil Quality: Ground bees dig through the ground to create their nest. Pour the holes with pollen and nectar. As a result, various crops are produced and the soil quality is also improved.
  3. Removes Harmful Pests and Parasites: Some of the ground bees can eat harmful predator insects. These can include caterpillars and other harmful small insects that produce honeydew.
  4. Provide Food Sources For Helpful Predators: Ground bees are the favorite food source for some of the birds like woodpeckers, spiders, and other predators.

For maintaining biodiversity the contribution of ground bees are unavoidable. It is our task to ensure no harm to them by us.




Frequently Asked Questions Related To Ground Nesting Bees


Do Ground bees make honey?

Though ground bees eat pollen and nectar like honey bees. But they do not produce any milk or honey. They only fed pollen and nectar to their larvae.

What are the most common ground bees?

The most common ground bees are carpenter bees and sweat bees. These bees create their nest in the ground by digging through the soil.

What season are Ground bees most active?

Usually, ground bees are most active during spring. Due to the availability of spring flowering plants and environmental conditions ground bees become active in this season. But most of the ground bees do not last long. They are active for 2 to 4 weeks in most cases.



Final Words

Hopefully, your concern “Are ground bees pollinators?” is cleared. Also, we know that ground bees are not harmful to us. Though some of the ground bees do not contribute to pollination much. Still, they contribute a lot to our ecosystem.

So, it is our task to keep their existence safe. We shouldn’t interfere with them. If we can help their existence they will definitely benefit us.

If ground bees become a matter of worry for you. Check out our following articles that might be helpful for you to get rid of them.


  1. 6 Tips On How To Get Rid Of Blackjack Bees.
  2. Get Rid Of Ground bees using starting fluid.
  3. Get rid of ground bees using bleach water.

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