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How to kill sand bees

Updated November 21, 2016

Sand bees or ground bees burrow down into the soil to build their hives. This can make spotting them tricky and getting rid of them even trickier. It's hard to remove what you can't see. Generally speaking, if you leave them alone, they'll leave you alone. They will pollinate your garden and ensure the continued success of the food cycle. However, if you're highly allergic, bee-phobic, or just don't want to have them around, you can get rid of them.

Contact a local bee keeper. The worldwide population of bees is dwindling and beekeepers may want your bees. Even if they don't, they might remove your sand bees free of charge. Speak to your local extension office and ask around at any nearby farm supply store. They're likely to know who keeps bees in your area.

Locate the entrance to the hive. When the sun begins to set, watch for the bees to return and focus on the area of greatest bee activity. Do not get too close and or approach the hive wearing yellow clothing or while carrying a sugar-laden drink. If a bee flies near you, or even if it stings you, back away and head for home, moving in a zigzag pattern.

Go back to the entrance at night, when all the bees have returned to the hive. Cover your torch with a red disk to diffuse the light. And bring a plastic bucket, three or four bricks, a protective face mask and a large can of extra strength Raid spray.

Stop approximately 3 m (10 feet) from the entrance and set the bucket down. Cover your face with a mask and spray the sides of the bucket with Raid. Spray until the sides are well coated and there is a reasonable quantity of insecticide pooling in the bottom.

Pick up the bucket and approach the opening to the nest. Invert the bucket over the opening and place the bricks on top.

Leave the bucket over the nest for 2 to 4 days, or until the buzzing stops.

For a chemical-free alternative, approach the hive at night, as above, and place three folded black, waterproof tarpaulins over the hive entrance. Use patio stones to secure the tarpaulins, covering the entire surface area and leave them in place for at least a week.

Tip

If possible, wear light-coloured trousers with elastic ankles, thick socks, leather shoes and a long-sleeved shirt (tucked in or belted) when approaching the bees. Just because they all should be back in the hive, doesn't mean they all are. Do not swat the sand bees! If the bee thinks you mean to kill it, it will send out a chemical "help" alarm signal and all the others will come rushing to its assistance. Also, sand bees tend to fly in a straight line, so mixing it up a bit as you move can help you lose them.

Warning

Do not hang around after you cover the hive. Do not approach the covered hive for at least 24 hours.

Things You'll Need

  • Torch with clear red cover
  • Plastic bucket without a pouring spout
  • 3 or 4 bricks
  • Extra Strength Raid Wasp and Bee Spray
  • Protective mask/medical mask
  • 3 black waterproof tarpaulins
  • Patio paving stones
  • Light coloured trousers with elastic legs
  • Thick socks
  • Leather shoes
  • Long sleeved shirt
  • Belt
  • Hat
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About the Author

Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.