Bumble bees are excellent pollinators, but you don’t necessarily want them taking up residence in your yard. Bumble bees live in colonies of several dozen to several hundred individuals, and if you accidentally disturb their nest, you’re likely to come away from the encounter with plenty of painful stings. So, in this article, we’ll talk about how to get rid of a bumble bee nest in the ground, going over the safest and most humane methods for doing so.
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How Can I Get Rid of a Bumble Bee Nest?
When attempting to remove a bumble bee nest from your yard, there are some things to keep in mind.
First, remember that bumble bees are not naturally aggressive, but they will attack and sting you to protect their home, and they can sting repeatedly. Before getting close to the bumble bee nest, take steps to protect yourself: wear thick, protective clothes, gloves, and some sort of face protection.
Second, you want to remove the bees without killing them if possible. Some bumble bees are endangered while others are experiencing population declines; and considering they are some of the best pollinators in the world, we can’t afford to lose any more of them.
Keeping these two important pointers in mind, there are several methods you can use to try and get rid of a bumble bee nest. These methods may take some patience and consistency, but they will eventually do the trick.
5 Ways to Get Rid of a Bumble Bee Nest in the Ground
Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ways to rid your property of ground-nesting bumble bees.
1. Keep the Ground Wet
This is perhaps the simplest and one of the safest things you can do. Bumble bees prefer nesting in dry dirt or soil; so if you keep the area well watered, eventually, the bees are going to get the message and leave.
Keeping the ground wet will also encourage grass and other native plants to grow. Since bees prefer bare patches of ground, having plants fill in the bare spots will be another natural deterrent for any resident bee colonies.
2. Plant Marigolds or Peppermint
Though bees are pollinators and many types of flowers attract them, there are some plants that act more effectively as repellents.
Peppermint and marigolds are two well-known insect-deterring plants. You may not have thought they would repel bumble bees as well, but they do.
Try planting some marigolds or peppermint plants in the area around your bumble bee nest. Again, this method may not work immediately, but as the plants grow and become established, they will fill the area with their scents and send the bumble bees buzzing for fresh air.
3. Make a Vinegar or Citrus Spray
Vinegar and citrus are other smells that bees can’t stand. Creating a spray out of vinegar or lemon and water is another effective way to send bumble bees on their way.
Vinegar is by far the quickest, easiest solution. Simply mix equal parts vinegar and water, put it in a spray bottle, and spray it around the nest.
If you decide to make the citrus spray, cut up some lemons, put them in a saucepan, and cover them with water. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce it to a third; allow it to cool, remove the lemon pieces, and transfer it to a spray bottle.
Whether you use vinegar or lemon spray, it’s best to spray the nest at night when the bees are inactive. You may have to spray several nights in a row, but eventually the bees will take their colony somewhere else.
4. Use Cinnamon or Garlic Powder
Powdered substances like cinnamon or garlic powder are also quite effective at ridding your yard of a bumble bee nest. Bees don’t like the smell of either of these substances, so placing them around the nest will have similar effects as planting flowers or spraying vinegar or citrus.
You might want to stock up on large quantities of cinnamon or garlic powder because you’ll need to reapply it frequently. Sprinkle it around the area of the bumble bee nest each night for a week or two; over time, the bees should all vacate the area.
5. Citronella Candles
Citronella candles mask the smells of nectar flowers and other plants that tend to attract bumble bees. If you set up these candles around the nest and burn them for a few days, the bees may not be able to smell their food sources in the area and will move on.
This is a rather high-maintenance solution, of course; you will have to keep an eye on the candles while they are burning. Leaving them unattended could result in them tipping over and setting dry grass on fire.
If none of these methods work for getting rid of your bumble bee problem, you may have to call a professional exterminator to do the job for you. Check out this video to see what a professional bumble bee nest removal looks like.
When trying to get rid of a bee nest in your yard, it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself from bee stings and to avoid killing the bees if possible.
Fortunately, there are methods you can use to encourage bumble bees to vacate the nest on their own; and though these methods may not work immediately, they are some of the most effective ways of humanely and safely removing bee infestations from your property.