General Question

jacksonRice's avatar

Is there a beehive in my backyard?

Asked by jacksonRice (407points) June 28th, 2008

I have a bunch of great big bumblebees in my garden (but no honeybees, alas). Do they commute from the park ten blocks away? Do they live nearby?

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4 Answers

edmartin101's avatar

taken from wikipedia “Like their relatives the honey bees, bumblebees feed on nectar and gather pollen to feed their young.” Again from wiki: “Bumblebees form colonies. However, their colonies are usually much less extensive than those of honey bees. Often, mature bumblebee nests will hold fewer than 50 individuals, and may be within tunnels in the ground made by other animals” There is your answer, bumblebees most likely be underground. As wiki says: Get rid off the “Cuckoo” bumblebees cos they are lazy and enslave other bumblebees to feed the Cuckoo ones… I thought we could only find laziness in people who take advantage of others to force them to work as slaves.

marinelife's avatar

Bumblebees are good. We are seeing more now, because of the decline of the more aggressive honeybee, which is suffering from a mysterious decline (thought to be a virus). They are less of a threat to sting than their honeybee counterparts.

jacksonRice's avatar

@marina, i quite like them; i’m just wondering if they live here or somewhere else.

marinelife's avatar

Sorry, I loved the orchard mason bees on Whidbey Island when I lived there so I was expressing my enthusiasm. This site is all about bumblebees in Brooklyn. Here is what it says about where they nest:

“Often, it isn’t a lack of flowers that limits native bees but rather real estate. This isn’t a problem in my mostly wild garden, but the manicured turf and flowerbeds of suburbia offer few suitable nesting sites for social bees like bumblebees. Old mouse nests or rodent burrows are the preferred abodes, but bumblebee hives have also been found in deserted bird nests, rubbish piles, and thick, cushioned clumps of moss. If there are no abandoned bird nests or rubbish piles in your yard, you can buy a prefabricated bumblebee nest box. One example is the Humble Bumble Home, offered by a Washington-based, family-owned business called Knox Cellars ( It consists of a pine box, soft cotton nesting material, an instruction book on the life history of the bumblebee, and a clear plastic “ceiling” that allows you to lift the box’s wooden roof and observe the busy bees at work. I haven’t tried one, but I hear that bumblebees do take up residence in such structures, whether pre-fab or homemade.”

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