BUMBLE BEE

Bug Index

 Assassin Bug

Bigeyed Bug

Boreal Firefly

Bumblebee

Damselfly

Dragonfly

Giant Diving Beetle

Giant Stoneflies

Giant Water Bug

Ground Beetles

Honey Bee

Lacewings

Ladybird Beetle

Mealybug-Destroyers 

Millipede

Pirate Bugs

Praying Mantid

Predatory Mites

Rove Beetles

Sowbug

Syphid Fly

Tachnid Fly

Yellow Jacket

Large and lumbering, black and yellow bumble bee adults are important pollinators of a variety of plants. Measuring from 3/4 inch up to 1 inch in length, these fuzzy insects make a loud droning buzz as they fly somewhat awkwardly from flower to flower. They are important pollinators. 

Bumble bees nest in soil or leaf litter where a single queen lays 8 to 12 eggs in spring. Emerging workers are able to fly in very cool weather, making them a very valuable pollinator. Foraging worker bees use long tongues to pollinate clovers and other flowers, collecting pollen and nectar that they bring back to the hive to feed to the colony. Though bumble bees make honey, they make only enough to feed the colony. 

The bumble bee is often confused with her distant cousin the honey bee. Unlike the honey bee,  the humble bumble is gentle and slow. As she trundles around the garden collecting pollen and nectar,  the bumblebee looks different than the  streamlined honeybee, who dashes about everywhere. Even the bumble bee's body shape is different. The bumble is round and furry. There are actually three kinds of bumble bees, the large Queen, the smaller imperfectly formed female worker bee and the tiny male or drone bee. Only the Queen and the worker bees have a sting.


Important Facts To Know About Bumble Bees.

  • Because they live in small nests bumble bees never swarm - so you can encourage a nest or two in the garden without fear of this happening.
      
  • Bumble bees do not produce enough honey for commercial use, just a few grams at a time to feed their young
      
  • Not all bumble bees have a sting. Drones (smaller male bees that hatch in mid summer ) have no sting at all.
       
  • A bumble bees biggest enemy by far is a man armed with a pesticide spray. Like every other form of wildlife they are under serious threat from the chemicals we pour on the land.
       
  • Bumble bees are much less aggressive than honey bees. Generally they will not attack a human at all, unless their life is under threat. Don't wave your arms wildly in their presence, stand quietly and once they smell you are not a flower with pollen they will move gently away.
      
  • Bumble bees do not lose their sting and die if they use it, as a honey bee will.
        
  • Encourage the bumble bee in your garden or farm and she will repay your kindness by pollinating your flowers, fruit and vegetables and giving you an excellent set on your blossom.

DON'T PANIC! DON'T PANIC! DON'T PANIC!

When the drones hatch on mid Summer (see the section on life cycle) the sudden increase in the number of bees frightens people who are nervous about insects. But remember these drone bees have no sting and they won't swarm.