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Tawny Mining Bees

 
   

Also known as the Lawn Bee, they are most common during April and May. They are solitary bees and do not form large organised nests, although they sometimes nest in large numbers close to one another.

Mining Bees are not aggressive and seldom, if ever, sting.

Appearance

Similar to Honey bees in shape and size (12-13 mm in length), with a dark coloured body with light brown or yellow hairs.

Signs of Infestation

Holes approximately the diameter of a pencil appear in lawn, with small piles of soil alongside. Nesting females can attract large numbers of males for several days, and people sometimes worry they are “swarming”. This is not the case, and the bees are only active for 2 – 3 weeks.

Significance

These bees are not a serious threat, and the danger of being stung by them is minimal, as they are very docile and not aggressive. Mining Bees are important pollinators, and their tunnelling helps to aerate the areas of a lawn where they are active. This is usually where the grass is most thin, but the bees do not cause the thinning.

Biology

In Spring, adult bees emerge, mate and begin nest preparation. The female mines out a cylindrical hole in which to raise her young, and forages on flowers to build up a food supply in the nest. Once adequate food reserves have been collected the female bee deposits an egg in the prepared hole, and the larva that hatches feeds on the food reserves throughout the summer. The mature larva pupates, turns into an adult during the late summer, and spends the winter inside the burrow. These bees then emerge the following Spring to start the cycle again.

ACTION

  • These bees are basically harmless, do not cause damage and action is not usually necessary.

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