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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Virginia Beach, Virginia
    Posts
    86

    Default Bumble bee homes

    I have lots of differant types of Bumbles that crusie my yard during the summer. I have yet to try and figure out who they are. Are there any good color reference sheets out there? I don't what to be dragging a book around, but a good plastic coated sheet that I could keep on my deck would be fantastic. Also, anybody had much luck with Bumble houses? I want to start a couple, but have read that they are not very successful.
    I'm like the weatherman- right about half of the time.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Bumble bee homes

    I have used simple square wood boxes with a top entrance in the lid.

    a 12 inch square box is usually big enough.
    No, I am NOT a bee "Keeper". Anything I post is just my opinion. Take it easy and think for yourself.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: Bumble bee homes

    UNL had some references for bumble bees on their etymology site. You might search there.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,135

    Default Re: Bumble bee homes

    This is what I did, the bees did well but the box was too small the nest quickly outgrew it. Surprising how fast the nest expands.
    Normal hive in the background gives an idea of size.




    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Yuba City, CA, USA
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Bumble bee homes

    Try making a nice color copy of this webpage.
    http://www.bumblebee.org/NorthAmerica.htm

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    North Bend, WA
    Posts
    504

    Default Re: Bumble bee homes

    One of the locals here uses the medium size flat-rate shipping boxes from USPS. They're free too.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Virginia Beach, Virginia
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: Bumble bee homes

    Thank you all for the insite. Great photos and website.

    Dave
    I'm like the weatherman- right about half of the time.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    chilliwack, bc
    Posts
    659

    Default Re: Bumble bee homes

    For anyone who's serious about finding, identifying, starting, and raising bumble bees, i sugest the book 'the humble bee' it is an older book but very informative.
    Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: Bumble bee homes

    Are skunks or possums a problem as vandals to bumble bee nest boxes?
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    chilliwack, bc
    Posts
    659

    Default Re: Bumble bee homes

    Quote Originally Posted by Omie View Post
    Are skunks or possums a problem as vandals to bumble bee nest boxes?
    Yes they are. It's important to make sure that your boxs are protected so that they can't get to them. I had a possum over turn my nest and ate all the brood and goodies, I learnt my lesson well on that one.
    Will Gruenwald Chilliwack BC

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: Bumble bee homes

    i see a common design for bumble bee nest boxes has two chambers- a nest chamber and a 'vestibule' empty chamber where they first go in the opening. What is the purpose of this two-room box, and is it necessary to have two chambers?
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: Bumble bee homes

    Oldtimer, how'd you get the bees in the box? Did you bait them to get them to move in or transplant them?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,135

    Default Re: Bumble bee homes

    Totally easy, I do some bee removal work, in this case the bumblebees were in some rubbish under someones house. The people insisted I did not kill them so I just scooped the whole thing into a cardboard box and took them home.

    I noticed they had a queen and seemed healthy so I took the time & made a more permanent wooden home for them. In the pic you do not see the nest proper, because they put a little cover over it made of whatever materials they have to hand, held together with wax and propolis. Under the untidy looking fluffy stuff you can see in the pic, is the nest, which is made of an untidy pile of cocoons and honey pots, which look a bit like acorns and acorn cups.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    whatcom co, WA
    Posts
    110

    Default Re: Bumble bee homes

    The 2 chamber boxes are indeed used commercially - they capture bumblebee queens (or lure them into the boxes) in the early spring when they are searching for nests, and lock them in with a clump of (honey bee) pollen. After she has started laying and developing her nest, then they are free flying.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,750

    Default Re: Bumble bee homes

    i saw my first bumble bee of the year yesterday. hopefully I can get one to move into the house I put out for them.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    40

    Default Re: Bumble bee homes

    "Befriending BumbleBees: A practical guide to raising local bumble bees" says you have to go out and catch a queen with a net, but that seems like a lot of work.

    I think the main technique is to simply hope one shows up and likes your box.

    You can buy them from commercial suppliers, but you'll be shelling out $200-$400.

    Buy that book here:
    https://shop-secure.extension.umn.ed...l.aspx?ID=1902

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    6,135

    Default Re: Bumble bee homes

    Not that hard to catch a queen bumblebee.

    In early spring, any very large bumblebees you see flying around will be a mated queen, come out of her winter hibernation. If she is flying around looking in cracks and crevises, - perfect, she is looking for a nesting site.

    Even if she is working flowers and has pollen on her legs, she may still be caught but would have to be confined in your nest along with a food supply until she has started a nest.

    Much to know about how to do that, for example the food cannot be mature honey, not enough water. Honey can be used but must be well watered down. Too much to write about it here but it's available in books, and likely the net.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,750

    Default Re: Bumble bee homes

    I just discovered I have some Bumbles in one of my bird houses!! I put up a wood pecker box about 15 feet up in a tree. I filled it will saw dust because I was told the wood peckers like to clean out their nest site. Well no wood peckers moved in but I now have some Bumble bees! They must be hot this afternoon because they are fanning at the front of the box just like my honey bees are.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Saint John, Indiana
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Bumble bee homes

    Quote Originally Posted by johng View Post
    I just discovered I have some Bumbles in one of my bird houses!! I put up a wood pecker box about 15 feet up in a tree. I filled it will saw dust because I was told the wood peckers like to clean out their nest site. Well no wood peckers moved in but I now have some Bumble bees! They must be hot this afternoon because they are fanning at the front of the box just like my honey bees are.

    They were nesting in the straight sawdust? Nothing but sawdust? It an interesting observation since a lot of my colonies nested straight in the sawdust.

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