sweat bee nest treatment

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I accidentally disturbed a nest in the ground of sweat bees while weed eating. They swarmed over me and the weed eater. I have to say, their stings were very painful, 6 to 8 on my legs, hand and arms. This was not expected, and contradicts some of what I have read since. Swelling and severe pain was experienced. These were brown/black  with yellow stripes, 1/2-inch in length.

My first thought is that you may have encountered something other than a common sweat bee. Typically sweat bees live in the ground but they don't "attack" or swarm like you've described. However, they look a lot like a yellow jacket and the two are commonly mistaken for one another. If you compare a SWEAT BEE and a YELLOW JACKET, you'll note they have a similar pattern. Additionally, there are different species of both distributed throughout the country and many are  so similar it's easy to mistake one for the other.

Another type of bee it could have been is the common DIGGER WASP. They can and will sting and though generally not aggressive, they do group up in great numbers different times of the year. Regardless of what you have active on the property, I suggest you treat the nest using the products and treatment methods listed in our Digger Wasp article. If you now think they're yellow jackets (which commonly nest in the ground too), treat them as explained in our YELLOWJACKET CONTROL ARTICLE.

Sweat Bee Picture:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweat_bee

Yellow Jacket Picture:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_jacket

Digger Wasp Article:  http://www.bugspray.com/articles99/diggerwasps.html

Yellowjacket Control Article:  http://www.bugspray.com/article/yellowjackets.html

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Comments on sweat bee nest treatment Leave a Comment

July 21, 2011

robin starcher @ 2:54 pm #

i have an above ground pool. the sweat bees are terrible. they land on the water and if you come into contact with them they will sting you. you do not have to do anything to them. it seems like no matter how often i try to skim them off of the water more show up. the sting is painful and leaves a welt on you. i think that sometimes one of the sweat bee will sting multiple times. what can i do to get rid of the sweat bees. desperate in wv.

thank you

October 13, 2011

Pat Krieger @ 12:40 pm #

wE HAVE SWEAT BEES DOWN BY THE LAKE. tHEY GOT IN OUR BOAT AND BURLED UNDER THER SEAT AND WE USED ALOT OF SPRAY AND DEFOGGER TO GET RID OF THEM. WE THOUGHT THAT THEY WERE GONE. WE MOVED THE BOAT AND NOW THEY ARE BACK AND SEEM TO BE IN THE GRASS. CAN WE USE THE CYFLUTHRIN GRANULES OR CYONRA? CAN YOU BY THIS IN LOCAL STORES LIKE HOME DEPOT? tHANK YOU, PAT KRIEGER

October 18, 2011

Cathy @ 9:13 pm #

This afternoon, while attending some flowers that I'd planted over the last 2-3 weeks, I heard what sounded like a squirrel or rabbit chewing/gnawing on something. The sound seemed to be coming from under some bushes right next to me. As there is room beneath the bushes I bent over to take a look. I discovered the sound was coming from inside the evergreen bush next to my ear. I pulled back, and noticed a tunnel approximately 3" in diameter bored into the center of the bush. Almost immediately small bees began flying out. I quickly turned and entered my screened-in porch, from where I observed the bees flying rapidly in and out of the tunnel. I noticed one bee, about 1/2" long, hovering over a pansy, almost like a hummingbird. My guess is that they are sweat bees. As the nest is located less than four feet from my porch door, I am wondering if they are aggressive, and a threat to my dog or me (I am allergic to bee and wasp stings). The speed with which the nest seemed to appear disturbs me, as I didn't notice any bee activity even as recently as yesterday. How do I get rid of the nest, especially as the bush can have many avenues of escape?

October 19, 2011

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