While gatherig materials to make some poorly timed splits yesterday ( weather way too chilly), I found several new wasp nests in my stored nucs & hives, & also one bumble bee.
The red wasps were smushed, the bumble was stored in a pickle jar with the lid loose, on my work table as I was prepping the honey bee equipment.. I figured out that this was not a good situation, as the jar would soon be knocked off & broken, & I would have broken glass to clean up and a bumble loose in the house. I located a quart feeder jar & canning jar ring, but not a screen cover. But a couple of layers of wet paper towel, so she has water if she wants it. I added a tiny wad of paper towel soaked in sugar syrup, just for entertainment.
By this time my Bumble queen, it is early April in North Alabama, so I am pretty sure she is an over-wintered queen, is getting pretty "flighty", so I put her back outside to chill out for a bit. 40-ish degrees F out there. When she has cooled to the crawling numbly stage again, I dump her into the new jar, put her in a safer place, cover her jar with a cloth to block the light , to calm her, & carry on with my other project.
My initial thought was how cool it would be to have a Bumble observation hive ( out doors, not in my house! ),
At breakfast this morning, I remember her, & bring her up to watch her as I eat. She seems to be enjoying the sugar soaked paper towel, & has calmed down a lot, though still attracted to the light.
As best I can tell from http://www.bumblebee.org/NorthAmerica.htm , she is Bombus griseocollis .
It is not mentioned if she is endangered.
The bumblebee.org site has instructions for making a nest box, etc. and as cool as it would be, I think I will release her out doors later today, when the temperature warms up a bit.
( my honey bee operations, while ok to my goals, does not point to great success keeping Bumbles )
I might put her in a wine bottle of nesting materials, since my wife has banished glass objects from our veggie garden this year, & we have a few, But, I suspect a 750ml wine bottle would be too small.
Maybe I can find a half gallon or gallon jug in the basement for her on that east facing bank by the pond .... CE