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Bees diggin' my dirt!!!

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by 'Sparagus on April 19, 2006 09:55 AM
I hope someone knows about what I have happening in my garden! Bees! [scaredy] Lots of them! All hanging out in my veggie garden, which I have been digging and preparing the soil.

It started a week ago. I dug a trench where Im going to grow carrots, basically took all the dirt out of a 3'x5' x1' deep area to go back in all nice and ready to grow them. Well, 3 bees were hanging out, tunneling into the sides of my trench, not bothering me at all. Figured they were just harvesting some dirt to build a nest somewhere.

Well, now a week later, same thing is going on, except I have a small swarm now! [shocked] They really dont seem "angry" at all, not acting like they are defending anything, just like they are there working during the day, and no trace of them by evening.

Can anyone help? Im trying to make the area unsuitable for a nesting area by digging around where they are hanging out. I honestly dont think they are looking to live in my garden, I really think they are just taking the dirt........

Thanks!!! I dont want my 1 year old getting stung, but dont want to use any rude chemicals on them either!

-Karen [flower]
by Deborah L. on April 19, 2006 10:11 AM
It sounds like you might have a hive nearby. I hope an expert sees your post !

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by peppereater on April 19, 2006 10:22 AM
"Bees" is a very vague term. There are lots of bees, waps, hornets, etc. that all look like bees. Some kinds could be trying to nest, some to feast on other insects (maybe not in this case!,) there's no telling. See what the they're doing tomorrow, see if you can get a good look and describe them. Control all depends on what they want and what they are. Sorry. If they were honey bees, they'd be gone tomorrow. Otherwise, [dunno]
Keep us posted.

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by peppereater on April 19, 2006 10:25 AM
Okay, I read your post again...They're really hangin' in, huh? Describe what they look like...Google Yellow Jackets...If they're not biting, that's a start.

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by weezie13 on April 19, 2006 10:33 AM
I was going to ask for a picture????
Got one???? [dunno]

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by 'Sparagus on April 19, 2006 07:04 PM
Thanks for all your replies! It's nice to see something in the inbox first thing [Smile]

Anyway, I just went out and they are not here yet. It's just before 7 and cool.

I realize my description of "bees" was vague! [grin] They are not yellowjackets. They look like honey bee-style bees. I read up on "Solitary bees" which seems not to make sense because there are a bunch of them:

http://www.insectpix.net/solitary_bees_gallery.htm

But that's what they look like, especially the Colletes species on that page. And I have seen what looks like the wool cardner bee too.

Good news if this is anything close to what I have, is that they arent really dangerous and have a wimpy sting that they dont usually bother to use!

Honestly I dont get a bad feeling about them, as my little 1 year old garden helper gets close, I try to get her attention elsewhere (um that's easy!) but I dont freak.

Im hoping as I get things planted and start watering that this wont be an ideal spot for them anymore.

NOTE: This is the one thing that makes me a little worried about a hive...remember I said on the first day there were just 3 bees? 2 were brown but one was blackish greenish. Maybe a higher-up in the bee ranks, KWIM?

Ill keep you posted on their activity today!!

[flower] Karen
by weezie13 on April 19, 2006 11:09 PM
See if you can get a picture of your bees..

Bees area a wonderful and needed thing in your garden...

But around babies, you have to be carefull,
you sound like a good mom, not to freak out if one
gets near, just divert the wee~one in another direction, don't give fears to kids, [thumb] have them learn respect of them, *not to get in their way or hurt them, and they will leave you alone*

But be dilagent... if they are a hornet or something aggressive, sorry as much as I like bees, they can't be near your family, let them find a more out of the way place..

And in a pinch, if you don't have any sting/bite stuff to get the sting out, a bit of cleaning amonia from a bottle *I use Parson's* on a cotton ball,
and dab it on, and off... takes the sting right out after a few minutes....

*(Jewelweed does the same thing if you have any)*

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by 'Sparagus on April 20, 2006 12:01 AM
Thank you Weezie! My little one just fell asleep (wow!) so Im going to go try to get a picture. They all returned right at 9am when the sun hit the bed!!
by 'Sparagus on April 20, 2006 12:23 AM
Ok, I got some pics. First time posting photos so I hope this works.....

most of them look like this guy:

www.photobucket.com

But then there is this guy, who is greenish black and a little scarier.
www.photobucket.com

WHAT DO YOU ALL THINK??!??!! [shocked]

They are no bigger than 1/2". Here's a view of where they are hanging out...

www.photobucket.com

[flower] Karen

Bzzz bzzz bzzzzzz!
by 'Sparagus on April 20, 2006 12:25 AM
www.photobucket.com

I hope this works this time...
by weezie13 on April 20, 2006 01:05 AM
May beeeeeeeee we can get Beebiz here!!!
I'll see if I can PM him....
He has a hive of his own, and is a wee~bit more
firmilar than I am to fine tune it for you...
I know the common one's, muddubbers, basic honey bee, wasps, yellow jackets, hornets,
but when you start getting tech, you semi loose me..

My only thoughts would be, if it's after dirt,
it could be a couple of things... building a home, *taking it away from there to the home*
or the moisture...
It doesn't look like the one's I know to dig/bury themselves in the ground, but again, I know the basic ones...

I'll PM him and give him a time to buzzzzzz by!!
*pardon the pun, just couldn't resist... [Wink] *

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by beebiz on April 20, 2006 02:09 AM
Hey All,

First, let me say thank you Weezie for sending me a PM about this thread. I have been very busy in my garden, flower beds, yard, and with my honeybees lately. So busy that it has made it hard to get any time for anything else!! [Frown]

Karen, you have a bee there that I've never seen before! [dunno] But after looking at the pics of them, I do know some about what they are not. They are not any kind of hornet, bumble bee, wasp, dirt dauber, or anything like that. They are also not any kind of honeybee that I am familiar with.

The bees that I am most familiar with are honeybees.... Italians, Russians, Germans, and Africanized. And before anyone freaks out about the "Killer" bees (the Africanized bees), let me just say that they are not in PA! [Smile]

Knowing bee nature and habit, I would say that they may have built a nest in your garden. The nest may have existed before you disturbed the dirt and had a different entrance. By disturbing the dirt, you may have unwittingly created a new opening to the nest. If you just barely disturbed the nest and the opening was immediately recovered with dirt, it would explain why you only saw one or two bees at first. Most likely they were either bees that escaped through the temporary opening or bees that were in the nest, knew about the disturbance, and came through the original entrance to check out what was going on. I hope that made sense! [Embarrassed]

Most bees don't fly unless the temps are above 50*F and they usually don't start flying until the sun hits the entrance to their hive/nest. If the nest is in the ground, that would explain your not having seen any of them when the morning was cool, yet they appeared when the sun hit the spot where they are.

In your area you should have a County Agricultural Extention Agent. You should be able to call him/her, describe the bees and find out what they are. The agent will probably also have suggestions as to the best way of handling them.

If you find out what kind of bees they are, I hope you will share the information with us. I'd sure like to know what they are!!

Good luck and bee good!

Robert

By the way.... do make sure to keep the little one away from them. Contrary to popular belief, a couple of stings from flying insects are very rarely lethal. Most of the time it is just a very painful and unpleasant experience! However, in young children and the elderly, stings can cause more adverse reactions such as dificulty breathing, heart palpations, and excessive swelling. Best not to take a chance with a little one!! [thumb]

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My New Web Site If you take a look, please sign my guest book so I'll know you've been there! Also, check out the new African Violet addition to my site! Thanks
by peppereater on April 20, 2006 03:19 AM
Now I'm really curious. Watch their behavior and see if you can tell just WHAT they're doing. Are they going into the soil, making tunnels? Or are they checking things out, rambling around? Or are they actually carrying anything away?
One thing I noticed was that their seem to be some roots there that are severed or skinned. Is that right? If there are roots leaking sap, they could be getting water or even sugary sap from the roots. The odd, dark bee there seems to be on a chunk of manure or something...maybe something edible?

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by 'Sparagus on April 20, 2006 03:39 AM
Ive been trying hard to figure out exactly what they are up to. Id say they are somewhat tunneling, but not really making any noticable progress. That's why Im leaning toward thinking that they are carrying something away. Also, they dont seem to be bothered by my presence, they are not acting defensive.

Your point about the sap is VERY interesting!!! This is an area Ive been expanding and I have a huge maple in the yard with tons of roots Im hacking through. Last week I noticed a root sticking out that looked wet. Next day it was still wet and I realized, [thinker] it's dripping sap! But the bees arent really hanging in that area...

Richard: THANKS for all the info! Im putting together the pieces trying to figure out if I did disturb a nest. The area the bees are favoring right now used to be the edge of my garden, and I had wood landscaping ties right there. I expanded about 4 feet from there, and when I took the wood out, there was a mysterious hole underneath, and I realize now that is the exact spot they have been hanging out!!! Could that have been an entrance?? But that was weeks ago. It was just last week I finished up the edges of the new plot and started digging deep for the carrot area, and then Mr and Mrs Buzzy first made their appearance.

I did dig up alot of clay when I got a foot down, perhaps it's prime nest material??

Well, Ill have to see if I do have a County Agricultural Extention Agent. Glad my digital takes such good macro shots! [clappy]

And thanks for the concern over my wee one. Ive taught her to pick up worms, say hi, and put them back in the dirt, but I dont want her getting too friendly with stingy bees! (bumble bees are ok though [grin] )

Ill keep you all posted! Thanks again!

Karen [flower]
by weezie13 on April 20, 2006 03:43 AM
quote:
Originally posted by 'Sparagus:
Your point about the sap is VERY interesting!!! This is an area Ive been expanding and I have a huge maple in the yard with tons of roots Im hacking through. Last week I noticed a root sticking out that looked wet. Next day it was still wet and I realized, [thinker] it's dripping sap! But the bees arent really hanging in that area...
Karen [flower]

Yep, I bet that's it....
Not many flowers are out this time of year yet...
and they're going for the sugar....
*and/or moisture*
It's dry up here, it's rained a few times, but the back yard is already crackin'!!!

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by 'Sparagus on April 20, 2006 03:51 AM
LOL I thought it would be a good idea to water the area throughly to drive them away...... [Big Grin] That went well!
by herbalflower on April 20, 2006 03:54 AM
Here in Florida we have Andrenid or mining bees which make their nests in the soil. Sounds like what you may have.

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Deb
by peppereater on April 20, 2006 03:57 AM
I'll bet their nest entrance was under that tie. It doesn't sound like they're going for the roots, but if they're maple roots, and you leave some exposed to drip, I'll bet other critters, maybe even wasps, may start gathering it!
Keep us posted on this, it's a fascinating topic!

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by 'Sparagus on April 20, 2006 04:18 AM
Dave, that would make sense because they are gathering in about the spot where it was. But it was exposed at least 3 weeks ago, and since then I dug up all the sod and loosened the soil, etc, and just last week they come around? Weird!

Thanks for all your replies! I keep wanting to go outside and they are gone! The way the light is shining now, I can see that they are going from the ground and taking off to somewhere out of my yard.
by 'Sparagus on April 21, 2006 09:51 PM
I wanted to give you an update! 9:45 am and no bees to be found!! [grin] [Big Grin] [clappy] [Love]

(not that I dont appreciate the wonderful job they do, just not in such great numbers right in the middle of my lit'l garden!)

Yesterday I think I determined that they were in fact harvesting the dirt to use elsewhere. Id focus on one bee at a time, and watched them nibble the surface, and eventually take off with what looked like a mouth full.

So what I did was cover the area they most favored (the spot I soaked, trying to make them go away! Which they REALLY appreciated [tongue] ) with black plastic mulch. The rest of the garden has started to get pretty dry.

Today, no bees! Honestly, I hope that they got enough of what they needed to build a lovely home somewhere a little further away. [wavey]

Karen [flower]

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