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Needing old mouse or vole nests

Hi, I wish to create a Bumble Bee nest box, but I've read that they seldom get used unless you use mouse or vole nest material as packing inside the flowerpot. Something to do with the smell that queen bumbles are geared for.

It's a project I wish to do with my 5year old, our little bit to help stop the bumble bee disappearing from our gardens.

I'm hoping some of you might have come across an old nest in your shed or under some logs etc. If you can stick it in a jiffy bag and send it to me, I'll happily pay the costs.

Thanking you in advance.

Edit: actually, several of my daughters friends keep mice/rats as pets, you think this will work?


  • Bunny ...Bunny ... Posts: 3,471
    Ben I have just read this .....

    The bumblebee nest

    The nest must be kept dry. The optimum temperature for larva is 32oC, so unless the nest box is indoors the queen needs nesting material that will provide enough insulation. She will modify and arrange what is there, but she will not add to it (carder bees are the exception). So the amount and kind of nesting material is crucial.

    Do not use synthetic fibres as these will just entangle the bees and kill them. Suitable nesting materials are dried moss, upholsterers wadding, horsehair stuffing out of old chairs, kapok, bedding for small rodents, old mouse/vole nest.

    You can use just one or a combination of these. For extra insulation a fluffed-up layer of coarser material can be placed on the bottom of the box to create a dry layer. On top of this place a ball of fluffed up nest material. The size of the ball should not be so big that is touches the side of the box. Push your thumb a little way into the ball and place this depression towards the entrance so that the queen find this as she enters. Don't be too fussy though as she will rearrange things to suit herself.
  • BrummieBenBrummieBen Posts: 460

    are the sites I've been looking at. Just something fun for the kids (and me!) and does a little for the humble Bumble!

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,134
    What did bees do for nesting material before people started making nests for them. Is it nest materials that are in decline or bees.
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • BrummieBenBrummieBen Posts: 460

    They use vole and mouse holes, it is actually the smell of mouse or vole on the bedding that entices the queen to nest there. Bees are in decline due to habitat destruction and lack of food sources, also been walloped with bad summers last couple of years and the use of nasty sprays that kill them too. So if I can help out in some small way, then it's all good. I love Bumbles, the noise they make and the fact they are so docile and non-confrontational, unlike nosey wasps, who seem to have a finger on the stinger at every opportunity.

  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619
    Misread the thread title, wondered why on earth anyone would want old mouse or vole vests...I didn't know they wore them!
  • BrummieBenBrummieBen Posts: 460

    lol figrat, you made me chortle!

  • SueG1SueG1 Posts: 31
    you could try the local petshop for used bedding!
  • HelixHelix 704m altitude...Posts: 631
    Great idea re petshop!   We use our dog’s hair in our insect hotel, which seems to be used.  And in the dispensers for bird’s nesting material, which always goes.
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