Sand bees are wild bees. There are over 1,500 species of them. Around 150 species are native to Central Europe alone. These bees owe their name to the fact that they like to build their nests in soil, preferably in sand. Each female has her own nest. Many of the dwellings are often close together. Sand bees are actually harmless, like other bees. They don’t even try to defend their nests if someone gets too close or even steps on them. Nevertheless, some garden owners feel disturbed by them and want to get rid of the earth bees. This should always be done gently.

Wild bees – nature conservation

Attention: wild bees, which include sand and ground bees, are protected species. They must not be killed. Since they are not aggressive either, permission to relocate is usually not even granted. However, you can apply for an exemption (according to Section 62 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act).

How do you recognize sand or Earth bees?

Sand bees don’t all look the same. Overall, however, they are very similar. The individual species can usually only be distinguished and identified by a specialist.

  • 5 to 16 mm long
  • Black, black-red or rarely shiny metallic base colour
  • Mostly furry and hairy
  • Often light colored bands of hair on the abdomen
  • Blonde to orange hair on hind legs
  • Females have a lock of hair on the underside of their hind legs
  • Male bees don’t have a stinger
  • The sting of the female is small and thin and usually cannot penetrate human skin.
  • Twice offspring a year, at the end of March and beginning of July
  • Second generation offspring overwinter in the soil
  • Each female sand bee digs her nest alone
  • In sand bee nests you will usually always find cuckoo bees. These are less hairy and yellow-black in color. This bee smuggles its eggs into the nests of the ground bee, has specialized in it.

Why are sand or ground bees so harmless?

The aggressiveness of sand bees is far below that of tame bee colonies of honey bees living here. The tame bees have numerous enemies who want to get at the brood and the honey supply. Bees are used to defending everything. This is different with wild bees and especially with sand or ground bees.

  • They don’t have a sense of togetherness like honey bees. Each earth bee lives on its own and does not care about others.
  • Community is alien to her, as is defending against an enemy together.
  • Each female is the queen of her own colony. If it is hurt or dies, the people die with it. So she will always protect herself and stay out of every “battle”. She won’t take any chances.
  • Earth bees hardly have any enemies who want to enter their nest, because it is almost impossible to find. So you don’t have to defend yourself. They’re just not used to it.

Drive away sand bees

Sand or ground bees are extremely useful. They ensure that the plants are pollinated. Anyone who grows and wants to harvest fruit and vegetables should be happy about every wild bee in their garden. But if you can’t live with the hard-working little fellows, you shouldn’t kill them or fight them aggressively, but rather get them to look for a new home. Often the nests are in the lawn. If bees have found a good place there, there will usually be more and more of them. I have read of cases where homeowners have been unable to enter their yard because thousands of sand bees have made their nests there and are swarming around. This is of course not acceptable. Then good advice is expensive.

Sand bees usually only become a problem if the soil is so ideal that the offspring always digs a burrow on the spot. This is often the case on sunlit slopes. The soil is dry as all water runs off immediately and the sun shines on these spots for many hours a day, ideal for sand bees and their offspring.

Shading nest sites Sand
bees like sunny areas in the soil. Without sun, they do not feel well and it is difficult to raise offspring. It is often enough to shade the nesting site. Depending on how many sand bees have settled, a kind of sun sail is stretched over the area. If you have many nests that are far apart, it is of course more difficult. Either you shade the area as a whole with a large sun protection or you build many smaller ones and set them up.

Keeping the soil moist Sand
bees not only like it warm and sunny, but also very dry. So if you keep the soil around the nests moist, they don’t feel comfortable there at all. They will not breed and will look for a new roost in good time, which will then hopefully be far enough away. Water is probably the easiest and safest way to drive away the bees. However, care must be taken not to drown the insects.

Relocate sand bees – the alternative (don’t forget the permit)

The relocation of sand bees is possible, but quite difficult, since it is not a communal nest like normal bees and wasps, but individual nests that are often hardly manageable in number. As many of them as possible must be resettled undamaged.

Cutting out blocks of earth

  • In order to be able to dig out the nests, the soil must not be too dry, otherwise the sand or light soil will fall apart.
  • You can cut out part of the nest cleanly with a spade and place the cube in a dug-out hole in the ground at a suitable spot.
  • The new location must offer the same ideal conditions as the old one, i.e. the same microclimate and good food supply (not wetter or colder)
  • A few nests and larvae will certainly be lost during resettlement, but a large number will be saved.

Sifting out the cocoons
If the soil is just too loose to dig out the nests and move them, you have to wait for the larvae to pupate. The bees die off over time. You can take the soil and sift it out. The cocoons that come to light are put back into the ground at a suitable place. It’s a lot of work, but it saves the lives of many bees. Here, too, it is important that the new roost offers ideal conditions for the bees.

Sand or ground bees are harmless. In fact, just ignoring them is enough, just as they ignore us. However, if you now have thousands or tens of thousands of earth bees in your garden, you usually find it difficult to live with them. Of course, the best thing is to try to live with the bees. They do nothing and do a good job in the garden.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *