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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Dexter, Michigan
    Posts
    46

    Default Bumblebee nest material

    I know there are several comments in existing threads but I thought maybe get a thread dedicated to just this topic???

    That being said, what is the best material to use in my BB house?

    I read that surgical cotton is too fine and they become entangled. What about synthetic pillow floss? It is similar, if not the same, as aquarium floss.

    I have 8 dogs so I plan to use a lot of the downy fur from them (Siberian Huskies). I think that would be nice. The birds and the mice seem to love it!

    Any other suggestions?


    Will

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Urbana, IA
    Posts
    294

    Default Re: Bumblebee nest material

    Last year I removed 2 colonies of bumbles from under different houses, they were nested up nice and snug in fiberglass insulation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Dexter, Michigan
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Bumblebee nest material

    the tight yellow stuff of the fluffy pink kind? Is that bad for them? I know they are nesting in it but maybe they don't know the risks

    I thought about that as I have some lying around.

    I also have some bailing twine on hand. I've cut it into 4" lengths and pulled the strands apart. Mixed that with some Husky hair and placed it in the living area of the house.

    How much stuffing should I put in there? Do you want it packed full or just an inch or two on the bottom as a layer?

    Last edited by Renthorin; 03-01-2011 at 03:02 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Urbana, IA
    Posts
    294

    Default Re: Bumblebee nest material

    I was in pink the other was in yellow. I dont know if its bad for them or not but they seemed pretty happy in it untill I started messing with them!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Dexter, Michigan
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Bumblebee nest material

    Hey Phil...funny you should mention pink insulation. My second (different brand) bee house just arrived and it is already loaded with wood shavings and pink insulation bits

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Limestone, Alabama
    Posts
    577

    Default Re: Bumblebee nest material

    Upholstery cotton is an ideal nesting material. I use it in all my bumbus homes.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Dexter, Michigan
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Bumblebee nest material

    where do you find it? Everywhere I've looked the clerks look at me like I'm nuts...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,361

    Default Re: Bumblebee nest material

    Bumble bees love old mouse nests. If you put one in there the smell will be more likely to attract them than any other material. But other fluffy material seems to be acceptable to them.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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

    Default Re: Bumblebee nest material

    I collected some wads of dryer lint from when we dry the cotton towels and blankets and wool stuff (without fabric softener). Looks a lot like mouse nest fluff, and has no smell I can discern. My cat is shedding, so I'm also collecting her fur from the brush. And I'll let it all air out before I put it in the boxes.

    Next time I go to the big pet store for cat food, I'm going to bring a zip lock bag and ask for a few handfuls of well used mouse tank bedding shavings.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Worthington, Pennsylvania USA
    Posts
    1,848

    Default Re: Bumblebee nest material

    I have had the bumbles build nests in rolls of used landscape fabric sitting in my shed. Also have seen nests in straw-especially small pieces and chaff from bale of straw that was in a small lean too makeshift green house I had, the glass above the nest kept it dry and they were quite happy there.
    I agree with mouse nest sites being the most popular.
    "Younz" have a great day, I will.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Volga, SD
    Posts
    2,790

    Default Re: Bumblebee nest material

    Mouse nests are ideal. The smell of mouse urine attracts some species of bumble bees. However, with concerns about some of the diseases being transmitted through mouse excretia. . . well, I often recommend getting some of the used mouse bedding from pet stores or domesticated mouse owners.

    Old car seat "stuffing" seems to be another favorite. If you can find a place with some scrapped cars, you may be able to scavage some of the material from seats split open.

    Of course, if you find an old car seat with a mouse nest in it, you may have found the holy grail for bumble bee nest material.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Columbia county, New York, USA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: Bumblebee nest material

    I put out my two bumble boxes, half-burying them in mulch and then heaping some pine mulch around them just leaving the roofs and the entrace hole exposed.
    I had gathered plenty of raw dryer lint (no fabric softener) and mixed it up with cat fur from my cat brush.
    We'll see if I get lucky.
    The little bee returns with evening's gloom,
    To join her comrades in the braided hive... -Tennyson

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Port Townsend, WA, USA
    Posts
    124

    Default Re: Bumblebee nest material

    Quote Originally Posted by Omie View Post
    I put out my two bumble boxes, half-burying them in mulch and then heaping some pine mulch around them just leaving the roofs and the entrace hole exposed.
    I had gathered plenty of raw dryer lint (no fabric softener) and mixed it up with cat fur from my cat brush.
    We'll see if I get lucky.
    It's all about luck. I have set up BB bee hives for many years and have only gotten a couple queens to nest. As Kieck and others have said, upholstery cotton and mouse smell seems to do the trick. The pet store is usually open to giving you a handful of used mouse nest chips and you spread that under the cotton and the smell attracts the spring Queens looking for a nice spot to take up residence. If all else fails capture a queen very early in the spring and seal her in the nest box for a few days. Include a small amount of honey and water in some foil away from the nest material and see if she accepts the new home. After a few days open the entrance so she can come and go. She'll either bail or if your lucky she'll stay. If she starts a honey pot it's almost certain she'll stay as she has become "broody" and considers this her home now. Another trick that seems to work better than nesting boxes is setting up several nesting area's under a sheet of plywood. In a dry area lay a couple 2X4's on the ground along with several prepared nest of upholstery cotton, dry grass and mouse chips. Cover with a sheet of plywood and check back after a couple weeks. You may get a nest of BB bees, or you may have a nest of mice move in LOL.

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