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A colony of bees have taken

up residence in a large bird box that my husband made. According to our 'British Wildlife' book, they are 'Buff tailed bumble bees'. Should I leave them where they are, contact a local bee keeper or what? Are they likely to swarm? They are not causing us any problems at the moment, its lovely to watch them. Thank you



  • Busy Bee2Busy Bee2 Posts: 1,005

    Beekeepers don't deal with bumblebees, just honey bees.  I don't know much about bumbles, but I don't believe they live in large colonies like honey bees, and I don't think they are prone to swarming therefore.  I think bumbles tend to be more solitary in habit. 

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,145

    Bumble bees don't swarm. Carry on watching and enjoying. Do a bit of research, they're interesting insects


    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,739

    I think it's likely that these are Tree Bumble bees - they have a prominent white or buff tail and often build nests in birdboxes.  We've had several nests in and around our garden in the past couple of years.  Last year our next door neighbour had two nests in his roof eaves.  They do lots of good in the garden and are fascinating to watch.  They perform an aerial 'dance' around the entrance to the nest.   They don't swarm like honeybees and although quite active they are not aggressive unless threatened.  We've certainly had no problems with them at all. 

    They are among the first bees to be out and about in the spring, and are really good pollinators for fruit trees - I also found them pollinating my raspberries and beans - I'm very pleased to see them in the garden.   

    Lots of fascinating information here,_Bombus_hypnorum.pdf 

    Enjoy image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Beanyjeany2Beanyjeany2 Posts: 33

    Thats great, thanks folks, you  have put my mind at rest!


  • Victoria SpongeVictoria Sponge Posts: 3,501

    Also I think they will be gone by autumn when the new queens emerge unless another moves in of courseimage

    Wearside, England.
  • Gillian53Gillian53 Posts: 112

    Yep you are very lucky to have bumble bees nesting. I'm going to put a few bird boxes up at a lower level next year in the hope that one will be used as a nest. I always feel sorry for the big queens when they come out of hibernation and are looking for somewhere to nest. I believe they are very fussy. 

    As mentioned, Bumble Bee Conservation has all the info you need to help them, and if you join, you get a car sticker!

  • Rosie31Rosie31 Posts: 483

    We had these too, also in an old bird box!  They did no harm at all.  In the end we had to move them (bird box and all) because we were having a wedding in the garden and the bees would have been right in the middle of it, but they didn't seem to mind being transplanted and I really hope they find their old home again this year...

  • Rosie31Rosie31 Posts: 483

    PS we also have DOZENS of big queens all over the garden and in my greenhouse - poor dears, they are proving completely fascinating to our new puppy... no harm to bee or dog yet thank goodness!

  • landgirl100landgirl100 Posts: 655

    Yes, why do they like greenhouses? They seem to get trapped and I find them dead on the floor - shame.

  • Percy-GrowerPercy-Grower Posts: 253

    That's a coincidence, just came on to ask you's good folk a question about Bumble Bees, i have noticed over the last few days an increasing number of Bees crawling inside a hole between our waterfall and pond, at first we thought it was just the odd Bee maybe having a drink, but the traffic has hugely increased, so now we think they have took up residence, tis a very precarious position as one wrong move when entering and leaving and they will be swept into the pond by the waterfall, tis great watching them and so far no problems, thanks for the links, off to do my research on the humble bumble....

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