Bumblebee activity

Seems like I have more Bumbles working my apple trees than last year. I think I counted about ten at once in a small area. Last year I thought only two were doing the heavy load. Maybe they liked this winter more or I’m a bad counter.


The bumbles here have been into the honeysuckle every day, even when the other bees are huddling away from the cold.

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I have one in my garage. Must be building a nest in there. Not sure how that will work out.

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I have one or two bumblebees only this spring. They fly into the orchard about 5pm. when I’m there and sitting and looking at my blossoms on my Jonagold. I have seen one honey bee, one mason bee and one wasp. Thats it. I do have swarms of tiny, tiny, flies but those are in the orchard every summer. I will spray right after petal fall. I guess the wind will be my pollinator.

I am pretty sure I have read that at least in more northern climates, only the females over winter. She then finds a location to lay eggs in the spring in the ground which becomes a “hive” the rest of the summer. I have seen a occasional adult here now, but I tend to have quite a few of them around later in the summer. They love False Indigo.

I only saw bumblebee working around flowers . I think they are harder worker than honey bees,

@warmwxrules, you may run into a conflict. Bumbles are very territorial about their home, even if it is your garage. If the flight path to their entrance crosses your walkways at a height where the two of you will bump into eachother, there may be conflicts.

Years ago I had one that built a home in my house with entrance near to our front door. Needless to say we had quite a few “discussions” about that.

hmmmm…i’ll have to dig around and see where she’s going. I think she found some insulation in the rafters. I didn’t notice it today, but i have noticed that she would chase after me when we would meet. It is a big bee. The door is closed most of the time, so i’m not sure how long they take before they switch to a new home. Shouldn’t be too active this weekend with the cold weather so maybe i can move it out.

We also had our annual ‘borer’ bees arrive yesterday. Time to get out the ‘squash’ racquet!

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I had a queen build a nest in my shed once in old insulation. It made for an interesting summer as everytime I had to go in they would buzz me like mad but never stung.

The wasps did sting me though and I had to go to the ER. Now I have an Epi pen.

I agree Mrsg47, but this year I think my borer bees know the difference between the old man with a bucket, and the old man with a badminton racquet! They are wising up.

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Now that the Mason Bees have done their thing,there are mostly Bumblebees.A lot of smaller yellow bodied ones,foraging on Blackberry and Tayberry flowers.
Rarely do I see a Honeybee. Brady

My masons were still working yesterday, a few of them, but this weekend will be too cold for them. The whole season has.

They like the ground ivy flowers.

There is a giant colony of miner bees in my neighbor’s yard. I have no idea how many there are but easily thousands. So long as they are there I feel pretty good about spring pollination. (they were all over my beach plums this year)

Some of my neighbors must consider me the lazy ol’ man who doesn’t weed often enough - if ever, some years! This past growing season I found sentry bumblebees guarding the north and south edges of the yard, working each zone from several high points. The one among the thornless raspberry patch has lots of ground in which to hide a nest. The other I suspect is between the Orphan black currant and the chainlink fence. Apart from cutting away old canes and casting duck manure-laden wood chips, I stay out of the raspberry patch until harvest. I haven’t ever tried to clear out dead grass from between the currant and fence.

Makes me feel virtuous to harbor bumblebees. And they show up for work when it’s too cool or breezy for the the Italian honeybees. Got great seed set for all fruits in the yard.


While picking black currants at 5:30 pm or later, I find bumblebees already asleep near the top of currant branches, or flying in and getting cozy. We have at least 3 more hours of daylight at the end of June. Last evening I accidentally knocked a solitary bee from another branch tip. This one was new to me: the length of a wood dauber or 1/8 inch longer, twice the width and covered with uniform length short “fur,” laying close to the body. Muted honey brown and charcoal.

The only time I saw honeybees this season was during the raspberry bloom. Anyone finding bumblebees sleeping three hours before sundown?

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I find about a dozen tucked in under my apples leaves esp gala leaves. Sun still up, maybe 6-7 pm. Always small ones.
Bumbles have a colony under my front porch. Maybe the little guys poop out sooner than big ones

There were two active bumblebee nests on opposite edges of my yard last year. Both had a sentry bee alighting on a prominent branch and chasing lots of insects away. No problem with me, and vice versa. And I did not encounter sleeping bumbles in currant tips or raspberry tips last year.
Haven’t seen sentry bees in this yard in '18. Maybe the workers attend hives a greater distance this time around, and hole up in dense foliage. I’ve seen this kind of behavior a couple years ago in a plant nursery. I’d trim spent bloom tips of speedwell and they would startle me - or be so dormant with cool morning temps I would must work around them and finish the job later in the heat of the day.