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Bumble Bees in hay shed?


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Hi,

 

I had a call this morning from Megan in Whenuapai regarding a colony of Bumble Bees in her hay shed.

 

I’m not sure if these can be removed or will they have to be destroyed.

 

If anyone can help can you please call her on 027 2811300 or post a message here.

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Would I be right in saying only the Queen bumble bee survives over winter? Perhaps if they are not being a nuisance she could wait until then and move her to a bumblebee nest box, which could then be relocated somewhere more useful?

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Bumblebee nests are not like honey bee hives, they are small and very short lived. They last only a few months, and are usually small enough to hold. The bees are fairly placid and are unlikely to sting unless they feel their nest is threatened. So if the nest is under the house or shed it is best just to leave it. Bumblebees do not damage brickwork or wood.

 

To move a nest:

Firstly you need a container big enough to hold the nest. Anything fairly strong will do, a sandwich box, a small biscuit tin, an old teapot. Or you could make a nest box, almost any weatherproof container will do as long as you make a hole big enough for the bees to get in and out. If the nest is to be placed outside then the container must be weatherproof, but if you found the nest in a shed than it is best to leave it in the shed, it won’t cause you any bother, and the bees obviously prefer it.

 

Next you should try to move the nest either late in the afternoon or early evening when it is both cooler and darker. Most of the bees will be in the nest and as it is cooler they will be less active. Get someone to help you and work quickly. You can gather up as much of the nest material, grass moss or whatever; alternatively you can provide clean nesting material that will be free of parasites, dried moss, cut up pieces of dried grass, felt etc. If you are leaving the nest in more or less the same position but removing the lawnmower or jacket, then this is all you really need to do. If you are moving the nest to a different location then you must be prepared to catch any late returning workers and place them in the new nest. The workers will return that night or next morning once it has warmed up. You really do need to collect these workers, the number of food gathering workers in these nests is quite low and the loss of only a few can mean the nest will not have enough food to survive. The nest should be placed in a sheltered north-facing location.

 

I think like honeybees the 5km rule needs to be observed otherwise they come back to the old nest.

 

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I think like honeybees the 5km rule needs to be observed otherwise they come back to the old nest.

 

Actually to correct myself. Nest placement could be quite critical with regards to forage.

 

A novel method was developed to mark automatically all the occupants of nests of bumble bees B. terrestris (L.) placed around a Lucerne seed crop Medicago sativa L. in New Zealand. Reobservation data from eight nests showed that of bumble bees which foraged within the crop, 81 % travelled ≤ 50 m and 56% ≤ 20 m from their nest. Results should be interpreted with extreme caution because fewer than 1 % of bumble bees marked at nests were reobserved in the crop. Because it was not established where the other 99% of the bumble bees went, foraging areas for nests could not be calculated as anticipated.

 

http://researcharchive.lincoln.ac.nz/dspace/handle/10182/2243

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Fallacy to think that bumbles won't fly in darkness. We tried moving one under cover of darkness - all that happened was we couldn't see what we were doing. We did it just about twilight and bumbles were not happy - a bumble sting is MUCH worst than a honey bee sting!

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