What are these flying bugs in my garden plot? #240968 - Ask Extension

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What are these flying bugs in my garden plot? #240968

Asked May 01, 2015, 2:02 PM EDT

I've noticed for the last 3 to 4 weeks hundreds if not thousands of these little flying bugs buzzing in and out of hundreds of little holes (the size of the tip of a pencil) in the bare ground on my vegetable garden plot (haven't planted anything yet). They are very little, have two slim wings, and resemble a cross between a tiny bee with a flying ant. They are not aggressive, but when touched they emit a buzzing vibration. Their butts and legs have yellowish stripes on them. What are they? Can I still plant produce in this plot? I'm in Champlin, Minnesota.

Hennepin County Minnesota

Expert Response

Perhaps these are andrenid bees, a type of native ground nesting bee that is active in the spring and disappears on their own in May. The lighting in your nice photo is different from the lighting in the attached article, but there is a strong resemblance. Please read this article written by University of Minnesota Extension entomologist Jeffrey Hahn on Andrenid Bees.

According to Mr. Hahn, "They are harmless native bees and are very important pollinators so tolerate them if you can until they go away on their own. They are gentle, docile, and very unlikely to sting, even when their ground nest is disrupted. Unlike honey bees, there is only one bee to a nest."

Thank you for contacting Extension.

Anita Hoaglund Replied May 01, 2015, 4:24 PM EDT

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