The large size of bumblebees can be frightening to those who do not recognize their harmlessness. Because bumblebees make nests in the ground, they may end up in people’s flower gardens or backyard.
While it’s understandable some people may want to rid their property of bumblebees, it’s important to do so safely and humanely to preserve these important pollinators.
Why Are There Bumblebees in the Garden?
One of the biggest groups of pollinators, bumblebees belong to the genus Bombas and the family Apidae. They seek out flowers near their nests, and they are generalist feeders, so they do not feed on any specific type of plant.
However, some plants do specifically need bumblebees for pollination, and a wide variety of plants and even crops benefit from bumblebee pollination.
The flowers in the garden are a major attraction for bees of all kinds. Therefore, bees come to the garden to find pollen and bring it back to their colony. People may also find that they have a bumblebee nest underground or burrowed somewhere in their yard, but these docile creatures are simply coming to a place with abundant flowers available for pollination.
What Attracts Bumblebees?
Bumblebees’ eyesight is affixed to the colours blue and violet, and this actually may be due to the fact that flowers with this colour produce more nectar. Flowers like lavender or grape hyacinth attract bees, and other flowers incorporate violets into their flowers to attract bees and bumblebees for pollination.
Studies show that a vast array of plants produce a blue ultraviolet effect that the bees can perceive, which is naked to the human eye. This may explain why bumblebees will still go to other colours of flowers to feed.
Because bumblebees are most likely to approach flowers in the violet colour range, therefore planting a variety of flowers with blue or purple hues may help attract these pollinators.
Additionally, bees may start a nest colony in garden dirt. They may have found an abandoned rodent burrow in the ground. They may also nest in an old tree or birdhouse nearby, but they prefer nesting spots in the ground. Mild temperatures and sun exposure can cause bumblebees to nest in certain spaces as well.
Do Bumblebees Cause Problems?
Bumblebees can be mistaken for carpenter bees, which will chew into the wood and drill holes in the sides of a house. However, bumblebees do not display wood chewing behaviour and will not cause damage to people’s homes.
Because bumblebees are vital pollinators and play an important role in plant diversity and pollination of wild flowering plants and agricultural fields, it’s important to preserve them. In some areas of the world where bumblebees have become extinct or rare, there has been a decline in the number of plants that pollinate. Therefore, the benefits of having these insects in gardens and fields far outweigh any fear people have of them.
Are Bumblebees Dangerous?
Bumblebees are some of the mildest insects and are less likely to sting than honey bees. Bumblebees don’t swarm, which is when a large group of bees fly together in a cloud.
Typically, bumblebees will not sting unless they’re attacked. Even approaching a bumblebee may not cause it to react, but it’s best not to do so. Children and pets are likely to provoke bumblebees, which is where homeowners should take caution.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that the nest needs removing or destroying, however. Those who are allergic can take steps to relocate a nest safely and humanely.
How to Recognize a Bumblebee Nest?
Bumblebee nests are holes in the ground that are covered with leaves and other debris. Nests are not as large as honey bee hives, and the bees are rarely seen since they are out foraging in the daytime. One can identify a nest in a rodent burrow when they see bumblebees leaving from or returning to it.
Typically, bumblebee nests are created by a female in the early spring after she leaves hibernation. She will search for a suitable place for the new nest, and then she will produce wax cells for the eggs. As the new bees hatch, they will handle the foraging for pollen. These nests grow to between only about 50 to 500 bees, and they only last one year.
When Is Eradication of Bumblebees an Option?
Eradicating a bumblebee nest should be a last resort after attempts to relocate the colony. Bumblebee colonies last for a season, unlike honey bees, which keep hives for years.
Bumblebees are not a bother in most cases because they are harmless. It is highly recommended to simply allow the bees to occupy the garden for the summer and wait for them to pass naturally. Leaving the nest until it’s empty is the easiest way to get rid of it and the most considerate of this important pollinator.
Eventually, as the temperatures drop, the past season’s bumblebees will clear out as most of them pass naturally. The remaining new queens will hibernate over the winter in a different place than they were born, and next year’s bumblebees are unlikely to use the same place for a nest.
Can Pest Controllers Get Rid of Bumblebees?
Pest controllers can move or get rid of bumblebee nests. However, using pesticides and insecticides can impact an ecosystem that already has a declining number of pollinators. Therefore, if a nest needs to be moved due to severe allergies, then consulting a beekeeping specialist who is well-versed in safely relocating bumblebee nests is recommended to ensure that the bees survive.
If possible, it is best to simply ride out the bumblebees’ season and make room for them for the summer. They will naturally clear out in the fall as the colony dies and the new queens prepare for hibernation.
How to Prevent Bumblebees From Nesting?
Safeguarding a property from bees is simple. Once prior bumblebee nests are cleared, homeowners can start sealing off holes in the ground, in trees, and even the sides of the home. Bumblebees like to live in abandoned rodent holes or other holes in the ground. Homeowners should also get rid of any old trees and bird nests, as these can sometimes be used as a bumblebee dwelling.
There are plenty of different plants that bees do not like, such as eucalyptus and mint. Planting these in a garden will prevent them from coming in, even if there are other attractive flowers.
Are There Natural Bumblebee Repellents?
Along with eucalyptus and mint, bumblebees dislike peppermint, garlic, vinegar, and cucumber. These don’t only need to be planted. Homeowners can set out cucumbers on a plate outside to help deter bumblebees.
Homeowners can plant flowers that are less likely to attract bumblebees, such as flowers outside of the blue-violet colour family. Plants that do not flower, such as shrubs and other foliage, are also good alternatives. Another option is for homeowners to plant a garden in another area of the yard, away from the grassy common space, to keep bumblebees at a distance.
However, the goal should be to attract bumblebees to the yard, not to get rid of them, for they are tame and a vital part of the ecosystem. When homeowners are planting their garden, they should try to incorporate flowers in the blue and violet spectrum to provide bumblebees with good food sources.
Getting Rid of Bumblebees
Since bumblebees are docile and keep to themselves, there is no immediate reason for most people to get rid of bumblebees and their nests. People who are severely allergic and must remove them can call an experienced beekeeper or remover to relocate the nest. Relocating bumblebee nests keeps colonies intact and helps the next generation of queen bees survive.
If possible, homeowners make space for these important pollinators and plant species of flowers that will provide food for bumblebees. Homeowners can live in harmony with bees and enjoy the services they provide to the garden and the ecosystem.