Recently, I went on a call for one of our Home Protection Plan (HPP) clients in Manalapan, NJ. HPP clients receive periodic inspections and preventative treatments throughout the year, and they can call us at any time for covered pests, should an infestation occur, at no extra charge. The plans are a great way for homeowners to budget pest control and have peace of mind that their home will stay pest-free. Often, as was the case here, during our regular servicing, we identify infestations that the homeowner was unaware of.
As soon as I started my property inspection, I noticed small mounds of soil with holes throughout the front lawn accompanied by a high level of bee activity. Immediately, I knew that the homeowner was suffering from digger bees. Digger bees are roughly 1/4 to 1/2 inches long and vary in color. They are mostly shiny metallic or dark, but some also have white, yellow or reddish brown markings. Digger bee nests are commonly located in areas of the landscape where the grass is sparse or very thin. Digger bees are solitary bees, meaning that they live alone and not in hives with queens and workers. Although they are “solitary,” as you can see here, they often nest close to one another. With a digger bee infestation, homeowners may find themselves with thousands of nests in their yards; however, each nest is independently owned and operated by the female bee. Unlike bees that live in colonies, these bees are generally non-aggressive unless handled or accidentally stepped on. Even though I suspected it was digger bees I still needed to contact a thorough inspection.
I identified the problem areas and confirmed that the invading pests were indeed digger bees before I could even get to the door! There were numerous digger bee holes in the ground, mainly closer to the driveway. I continued inspecting the rest of the property and found no signs of digger bee activity. Fortunately, we caught the digger bees in their early infestation stages. These infestations start small and then grow rapidly and move into other areas of the yard as their populations expand. If these nests are left untreated, the infestation will quickly grow out of control.
After my inspection, I equipped my backpack mister and began treating the nesting areas as well as the surrounding areas, as an added precaution to avoid potential nesting elsewhere, with a direct contact residual spray. Once the digger bees come in contact with this residual, they will be eliminated.
Because it was cloudy and cool outside, there was no digger bee activity above ground. This happened to be good conditions for treatment because it virtually guarantees that they will come in contact with the application as they emerge from the ground. It will not take long for this digger bee infestation to be eliminated and the homeowners and their kids can enjoy their yard this summer without worrying about these digging bees!