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Michigan State University Extension
Home Maintenance And Repair - 01500556
06/24/03

CONTROLLING BEES



There are many species of bees, and virtually all are beneficial through their activity as pollinators. However, since bees are capable of stinging, they can cause a considerable nuisance problem. Bees, as a group can be distinguished from wasps by the covering of dense, plumose body hairs.

GROUND-NESTING BEES: Two groups of ground-nesting bees commonly encountered in Michigan are bumble bees and burrower bees. Bumble bees are easily recognized by their large, robust, hairy, black and yellow (sometimes orange) bodies. Bumble bees live in colonies of several hundred individuals; however, only the queens overwinter. Burrower bees are small to medium-sized, blackish or brownish bees withdensely pubescent heads and midsections. Each female constructsa burrow in the ground and provisions it with nectar and pollen.

Control of ground-nesting bees can be achieved by treating the nests with an appropriate insecticide. For bumble bees treat the nest entrance with carbaryl 5% (dust) or a "wasp and hornet" aerosol; after treating, close the nest entrance with a handful of moist soil.

WOOD-NESTING BEES; Carpenter bees and some leafcutter bees will nest in wood or in shingle gaps. These bees can be controlled by injecting carbaryl 5% (dust), ready to use diazinon or pyrethroid into the nest. After thoroughly treating, plug the nest entrance with a dowel of the appropriate size or wood putty.

For a complete listing of suggested control options for all home, yard and garden insect pests see: Suggested Insecticides for the Control of Household Insects in Michigan Insect Pest Management Guide For The Home, Yard and Garden, 1991. This publication is available from the Cooperative Extension Service.

Read and follow instructions on the pesticide label. Heed all warnings. Check with your physician if you have any concerns regarding your personal health risk.

References

Revised by Tom Ellis, M.S., Department of Entomology

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