It’s common to see bumble bees buzzing around your garden in the spring. This is when these insects fly from flower to flower looking for nectar and pollen to take back to the nest. Bumble bees can be found throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere and help pollinate many of the United States’ flowers and vegetation. Though 46 species of bumble bees can be found in North America, these species tend to nest in very similar manners.
Where Do Bumble Bees Nest?
Much of the typical bumble bee nesting behavior is dependent upon the queen bee. As the sole leader of the nest, which is usually made up of ju st a few hundred bumble bees, the queen is responsible for laying all of the hive’s eggs, maintaining the hive’s productivity, and choosing their new nesting sites, year after year. Because the entire colony dies off every year except for the overwintering queen, she must start a new colony on her own.When the queen begins the search for a new nest, she typically looks for new nesting opportunities. This often results in the queen bumble bee moving into abandoned mole tunnels or rodent burrows to start the colony. However, these pests can also build their nests inside wall cavitie s and birdhouses. Once she finds a potential location, the queen will go inside and investigate to make sure the area has plenty of space for colony development.
After the new nesting site has b een identified, the queen will line the nest with a variety of grass and moss, which will serve as the primary site for her to lay her eggs. She then lays her first batch of eggs, which can include be tween five to 20 eggs, all of which are female. After approximately four days, these eggs then hatch and become the colony’s first worker bees, and they help collect pollen and nectar to grow the colo ny’s resources. Unlike other pests that reuse their nests year after year bumble bees do not re-inhabit their old nests.
Bumble Bee Nests vs. Other Nests
Without prior knowledg e of the different types of bee and wasp nests, it can be difficult to identify which creatures are residing near your home or yard. Compared to bumble bee nests, which are typically located undergrou nd and hidden under buildings and thick vegetation. The general interior structure of both nests is made up of wax cells that contain larvae, pupae and honey stores.
Many homes in the U.S. may have several species of bees and wasps that build their nest inside or on the exterior of the home. However, wasp nests are typically easier to identify. While bumble bee nests tend to be hidden f rom plain sight, some wasp nests can be easily located in corners of a porch or room and on the edges of roofs. Depending on the wasp species their nest may be brown to grey and may be made out of pap er or mud and the bumble bee nest when seen has a popcorn yellow bubble appearance.
Bumble Bee Stings
Because bumble bees help pollinate many types of flowers and vegetation, th ey can be extremely valuable to a home’s flower beds and garden. Still, many homeowners often wonder if bumble bees can sting. While these pests are capable of using their stinger to harm humans and a nimals, they will typically only sting threatened. If you do receive a sting from a bumble bee, or any type of stinging insect, the Mayo Clinic recommends that you “call 911 or other emergency services if you're having a serious reaction to a bee sting that suggests anaphylaxis.”
Bumble b ees can help pollinate your garden and flowers, but not all homeowners want an entire colony of bumble bees buzzing around their home as they may find their way inside. If you come across a bee or was p inside your home, contact a professional service technician for help removing them from inside your home.