Home on 3 acres in wooded... #223335 - Ask Extension

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Home on 3 acres in wooded... #223335

Asked December 30, 2014, 8:49 AM EST

Home on 3 acres in wooded area. Lived there +20 years. 10 years back (or more) started noticing a small section of front lawn with flying insects (looked like bees/wasps but never stung). They came out of the ground from these muddied holes. The holes leave a small mound around each of them which hardens and becomes quite bumpy riding a lawn tractor over them. Each year the area has expanded and is now very close to the house, itself. Is there any way that I can eradicate these pests to prevent them from re-emerging this coming spring? Also, how can I identify if they are dangerous in any way (sting, bite, etc.)? My house uses well and septic. Located in Highland, Md. (Howard County).

Howard County Maryland

Expert Response

The first step is to identify the bee/wasp. You did not mention the time of year that you are noticing the flying insects. It is possible you are noticing mining bees or cicada killer wasps.

If you notice the bees/wasps in the spring or early summer, it is possible you may be referring to mining bees. They are not aggressive. They are solitary bees, meaning they each are building one nest and do not defend their nest like a hornet or wasp colony would. These bees are important pollinators and control should be avoided if possible. They come because they've found your yard to be a good place to nest because your grass may be thin.  You may want to overseed late summer into fall and try to get ahead of them.
http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/mining-bees-lawns
For detailed information please see the following publication http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG104_Mining_Bees_an...

Cicada killer wasps are usually flying and nesting July through September. They resemble large yellow jackets and are about 2 inches long. They are considered beneficial as they keep the cicada population down. Their sting is meant for their prey and usually do not bother people even when provoked. These insects like a loose soil and areas with thin turf.  Overseed as above.
 http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/cicada-killer-wasps-lawns
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