The queen bumbles are everywhere. My son and I were hanging swarm traps and everyplace we went there were bumbles. One place had around 20 all scouting out a 10x10 wooden building. They would start going at each other. In my yard there have been a bunch circling a hive and then start fighting with each other. I don't remember seeing as many as we have this year.
That sounds like Carpenter Bees - we have hundreds on my property. The males stake out territories and go after any other bee invading its space. They look almost identical to the Eastern bumblebee, but have larger heads (they tend to burrow in wood). Carpenter bees tend to be solitary. Bumblebees will build a nest (sometimes in the ground) and can get quite defensive, they form small hives similar to honey bees.
Carpenter bees were up at our cabin last weekend (NE panhandle of WV). They do a lot of damage to the wood trim, and occasionally the logs. I tend to control them with a badminton racquet. Not efficient, but satisfying.
We here in western WV have both of them as well. Mostly the carpenter bees, but have seen the queen bumbles out as well. The carpenter bees don't know what to think about all the honey bees in my yard though. They get near a hive and they defend it well. I'm thinking about either a tennis racket for this season's carpenter bees as the badminton just isn't strong enough at times. lol
I have millions of carpenter bees at my place (well, maybe hundreds!), but very few bumble bees. I have always had an interest in the native pollinators, and came to the honeybees last! Apparently, the bumblebee population has struggled recently, and I just found a place that will sell a hive of bumblebees (including queen, etc.). Previously, you could buy a box of bumblebees for a single pollination season, but it was only workers and no queen.
I'm pretty sure the bees we are seeing are bumbles, we have a decent number of bumblebees around here in the summer, it was just a super high number of queens last weekend. I haven't seen any during this week though.
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