While trekking through the woods at out place we discovered a bumble bee nest in the ground. Has anyone had any experience with them? I would love to have a bumble bee nest as an observation hive. I read that the fertilized new queens overwinter in the ground then emerge in spring to start a new nest. Has anyone tried anything like this? Thanks
Bubble bees are kept for pollination use inside green houses. Entemologist Dr. Keith Delaplane has worked in this are. You can check out his information through the U. of Georgia website.
>While trekking through the woods at out place we discovered a bumble bee nest in the ground. Has anyone had any experience with them?
Mostly bad ones. [img]smile.gif[/img] They like to nest in old mouse nests.
>I would love to have a bumble bee nest as an observation hive.
I've seen pictures and plans for one. Look up "bumble bee observation hive" on the web and I think you'll find one.
>I read that the fertilized new queens overwinter in the ground then emerge in spring to start a new nest.
>Has anyone tried anything like this?
Aren't bumblebees neat! Keith Delaplane published a series of articles in one of the bee mags a few years back. He covered just about every aspect of rearing them.
Unfortunately, there wasn't much response. In fact there was a single negative letter to the editor suggesting they not waste the paper on a non-honey producing bee!
Unlike honeybee beekeeping, the art of bumblebee beekeeping is proprietary. It has been developed and maintained by several commercial bumblebee beekeeping families who won't share. That's why those articles by Keith were so valuable.
I've noticed the bumblebees's association with mouse nests as well. I have often found them in old mouse nests, beneath migratory bottom boards, on hives kept in the mountains. Some are much more docile than the average beehive. And some are very aggressive. But none I've dealt with had the number of bees to really kick a beekeepers pants like a hive of bees (it could be my climate).
I've tried to transplant some of those bumble bee nests in an attempt to shortcut the methods outlined by Keith, but none of them has ever survived. So, when I find them, I'll look at them and then I leave them alone.
Another curious note, the second a bumblebee nest begins to fail in Wyoming, it's taken over by a type of wax moth which quickly consumes the nest. It seems they much prefer bumblebee wax to beeswax.
In my climate, the bumblebee is the best pollinator, followed by the blue mason bee, then by the honeybee.
You can buy some bumblebee boxes now.
do a search on ebay and do a search on "Oxford Bee company".
This Oxford bee company also sells some paper tubes for red mason bees... also very interesting to watch!
sorry, the search on "oxford bee company " should be done on google or similar search engine!
Bought a bumble bee observation hive about five or ten years ago and had a great time with it. I think i bought it at "gardens alive". Raised one nest of bumble bees with the hive mounted inside the house on the back door. Removed the door knob assembly and ran a 3/4 plastic pipe out through the door attatched to the inside hive. Everyone thought I was crazy until the nest started to develop young bumble bees. It was interesting and exciting until the nest started to stink real bad in the fall. I removed the hive and placed it outside. You can use upside down floweer pots, coffee cans, bird nest boxes on the ground to attract bumble bees in the spring. I would catch bumble bees with a glass and piece of cardboard and then place the inverted glass over the hole in the desired container to get the bumble bee to enter my bait hive. If the bumble bee has pollen on its legs in the spring do not bother it, it already has located a suitable nesting site. All the bumble bees in the spring time are queens, they mated the previous fall and spent the winter underground. Hope this helps.