Solitary Ground Nesting Bees

May 1, 2024 · 1 minute read
Solitary Ground Nesting Bees

It’s taken some time, but it feels like the world is finally starting to acknowledge the importance and need for pollinators so that humans can keep living the way we are. The humble honey bee is climbing in fame to the level of butterflies, and we all love seeing them flying around our gardens. Yet this lofty position, while appropriate, would be nowhere as high if you considered the hard work of so many other insects that work to pollinate our fruits and flowers. One of my favorite and most misunderstood pollinators are solitary ground nesting bees or miner bees.

These bees are considered solitary due to digging tubes in the soil where they live singly. While there is technically only one bee per tunnel, the bees live communally in an area with a population of hundreds or even thousands of bees. These bees will populate an area of bare soil or woodland duff and do not live in turf or areas of heavy vegetation. My favorite characteristic of this bee is that it is entirely docile, and it is possible to walk through a swarm of hundreds of bees flying no higher than knee level without any ill effects.

I was lucky enough to stumble across a large population on a client’s property this week and could easily locate the bees due to the low, constant buzz of their flights close to ground level. This chance encounter sparked a bit more curiosity regarding these insects as I only knew enough to generally identify them and see that they were not a threat. Doing a bit of research, I came across a Podcast (please hyperlink: about solitary ground-nesting bees that is worth the listen and gave me a lot more insight into the lives of these insects.

I am beyond thrilled that the lowly honey bee is finally receiving the recognition it deserves. Still, it’s also important to remember that many more interesting insects provide just as important a role in our lives.