I think the bees in our backyard right now are Mining Bees ( Andrenidae ) and not Carpenter Bees. These alleged Mining Bees first appear in our backyard in late March, and their numbers increase throughout April. These bees burrow up out of the ground. I'll post photos later. I see them each spring.
The Oak Openings Region runs through West Toledo. We have sandy soil. Small mounds of beige-colored sand exist in and around our flowerbeds. This lighter-colored sand is sand that has been brought to the surface. These little sand piles have a small hole in the middle. The bees fly around low to the ground. And on sunny days, these bees like to bang into the back side of our house, which faces south. I walk through them. No chemicals needed. In the past, I don't remember seeing them much past spring.
A little more about the Mining Bee :
Mining bees, or digger bees, (familys Andrenidae & Anthophoridae) nest in burrows in the ground. Unlike the honey bee, mining bees are "solitary" bees. They do not form long-lived colonies, nor do they live inside a single, well-defended nest controlled by one queen bee. Instead, each mining bee female usually digs her own individual burrow to rear her own young. Large numbers of these bees may nest near one another if soil conditions are suitable.
Mining bees are not aggressive and seldom, if ever, sting. The presence of numerous bees flying close to the ground, however, may constitute a nuisance for some people. Sometimes large numbers of males will fly about the same spot for several days in a mating display.
Mining bees range in size from about the size of honey bees to much smaller. The larger bees are furry and usually darker in color than honey bees. Some are brightly striped, while others are a shiny metallic green. Mining bee burrows may be located wherever there is exposed soil and good drainage. They are frequently found nesting in banks, such as along road cuts or any type of excavation, but may also be in level ground as well. The holes are about 6 mm (1/4 inch) or less in diameter. They are sometimes surrounded by a small mound of soil that the bee has brought up to the surface. Burrow structure varies according to species, but often there is a vertical tunnel with smaller side tunnels that terminate in a single cell.
The female mining bee stocks each cell with pollen and nectar she collects from flowers and then deposits an egg on the food mass. The larva hatches and consumes the stored pollen and nectar. When mature, it becomes a pupa, or resting stage, and finally becomes an adult bee. The adult bees overwinter below ground in the burrow site. During the next spring or early summer the adults emerge, mate, and the females begin burrow excavation. Mining bee populations can fluctuate dramatically from one season to the next.
- A cool insect.
historymike is right about the Cicada Killers. Leave them alone. People freak about because they fear the unknown. i guess because these wasps are big and brightly-colored, people believe they must be dangerous to humans. After all, some people think dragonflies will bite humans. (BTW, the big, warm winds over the weekend brought in numerous migrating Common Green Darner dragonflies and a few Swamp Darners.)
Cicada Killers also burrow up out of the ground, and they will fly low around the ground near sidewalks where people walk, and that frightens people, so naturally, humans launch their own chemical war.
And like Mike said, the Cicada Killers won't appear around here until July. Guess what a Cicada Killer eats? We don't have cicadas around here in April. Our first cicadas don't appear until late June or early July. If you ever hear a short, loud, weird, cicada-sounding shrill, that's probably a cicada getting nuked by a Cicada Killer Wasp.
More about the Cicada Killers:
Cicada Killers (Specius speciousus): Cicada killers resemble large yellowjackets. They are mostly black with pale yellow markings on the abdomen, and about 5 cm (2 inches) long. Despite their appearance, these insects are inoffensive and usually will not bother people even when provoked.
Their sting is meant for paralyzing their prey and normally does not cause a reaction in humans. They are considered beneficial because they reduce cicada populations. However, they may cause lawn damage if there are large numbers of them nesting in close proximity to each other.