When choosing flowers for my garden I try to buy things which will be good for wildlife, bees especially as they need all the help they can get. Many bumblebee species are struggling to survive, mainly due to changes to the countryside. Agricultural techniques have changed which means there are fewer wildflowers than there used to be which is bad news for bees.
Bumblebees are great pollinators and without them fruit and vegetable yields would suffer.
However, as fond as I am of these furry little creatures I don't want them living in my house and that's where I think they may have set up home. Last week I noticed about half a dozen bees buzzing around the guttering. Since then I've been doing my homework and a little bit of research has led me to believe that they're tree bumblebees or bombus hypnorum. They may have a nest around the guttering, underneath the fascia boards or more worryingly, in the loft, I daren't poke my head up there to look.
There's only three bees in the above photo but there's many more than that buzzing around when it's a sunny day, perhaps up to a dozen at any one time.
From what I've read, they don't seem to do any damage and bumblebee nests don't survive long, the nest dies naturally within a few months.
Tree bumblebees are new to the UK arriving from Europe and Asia. The first sighting was in 2001 and since then, they have spread rapidly throughout the UK and Wales. These type of bees build their nests well above ground, many in bird boxes using old nests, though they've even been known to evict blue tits from their nest before using it for themselves.
I've been watching them swooping down to the cotoneaster, a favourite of the bees, before flying back up to rejoin their buddies dancing around the nest.
There's some great information in Clive Hill's Introducing the 'Tree Bumblebee' Bombus hypnorum article if you want to read more about this species of bumblebee.
I suppose I'm going to have to put up with them until the end of summer but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that a new queen doesn't take a fancy to the same nesting space again next year.
I sympathise but it's good to see that you're prepared to put up with them. Flighty xxReplyDelete
They're really not causing any problem that I can see so I don't see we have any choice but put up with them. Besides, they do need all the help they can get. One of the articles I read said that we should be honoured that we're 'Bee Landlords' so I'm trying to look at it from that point of view.Delete
Like you say it's important we do what we can in our gardens for the bees, but the garden is where we would like them to stay!ReplyDelete
Hope they don't create any issues within your home.
I hope they don't either. I've read quite a few articles and it seems they're quite harmless unless they're disturbed so I hoping that nature can take its course and that they don't bother coming back again next year. Time will tell.Delete
We call them wood bees and we have them here. We have loads of bumble bees and each year a few more honey bees. More worrisome we have wasps. I'm allergic to bee/wasp stings and have to carry an EPI pen in case I'm stung.ReplyDelete
I doubt it would be any problem at all if they were honey bees as a local beekeeper would be able to remove them for us, but not bumblebees. Wasps are different altogether, pest control companies would take care of them. It would be worrysome if any member of the family were allergic to stings, it's good that you have your EPI pen to use in cases of emergency.Delete
We have tree bees in the wall cavity at the back of the house; we have discovered a small hole which will have to be filled later in the year. I wouldn't mind too much, but the drones are finding their way into the bathroom - I assume they are leaving the nest to mate with virgin queens and heading the wrong way! Despite blocking up any gaps we thought they were using, around the pipework at the back of the sink, they are still getting in where the boxing in butts up to the shower cubicle and that's a gap that we cannot block :( I've been decorating in there, and when one has appeared it is like the scene from Jumanji where the insects appear - the drones are very large and make a racket! Last year we had a nest of them in an old dustbin at the bottom of the garden.ReplyDelete
Eeek. I don't know if I'd be so accommodating if they were finding their way into the house, but the upside is that it's only for a few months and then you know you can block up the hole without causing them any problems. You're right about the drones, they're huge, but I haven't noticed any noise from them, obviously because they're outside the house. I hope you manage to sort out their access route once they've gone this year. I'm hoping that our nest is a one off and they don't come back as there's no way to fill in all the tiny holes in the roof. Fingers crossed.Delete
Years ago we had a swarm of bees settle on the hedge at the front of the house - fortunately a neighbour kept bees and was able to take them away. I think it was two years ago we had wasps build a nest under the eaves - we had to get the pest control people in, in case the nest penetrated into the loft space. I loathe wasps, having suffered several painful stings over the years, but I am happy to have bees in the garden.ReplyDelete
Beekeepers are able to remove any honey bee swarms but as bumblebees are, in the main, trouble free it's a case of letting them be (or bee). Wasps are another matter altogether, I wouldn't want a wasp's nest anywhere near the house. I always try to encourage bees in the garden, I just hope they don't set up home quite so near our home in the future.Delete
I read the article and it is very informative. To the best of my knowledge that variety has not yet arrived in Canada but I'm sure it is only a matter of time.ReplyDelete
The honeybee has so many challenges in order to survive I hope this particular species as well as other invasive ones do not plunder what few hives of honeybees that are left.
The bees are so important here because of the extensive fruit orchards, vineyards and flower industries throughout this region.
Hopefully your Queen will find a new place next season...
This species doesn't seem to cause any problems to honeybees, which is good, though as it's relatively new to this country we won't know for sure if it's going to cause problems in other areas yet, but it hasn't seemed to so far. The queen in this nest will die at the end of summer but new queens will be hibernating underground waiting to find new nests next spring, I just hope it won't be around my roof again.Delete
Crumbs! I hope they don't take up permanent residence, Jo!ReplyDelete
This nest will die at the end of summer but there's no telling if a new colony will set up home again next spring. I don't really mind unless they're actually in the loft and then that would be a problem, but they have to nest somewhere I suppose.Delete
It is good to grow and have plants in the garden that attract wildlife of all sort... but of course do we want them in the house ... well, not really!ReplyDelete
I do hope over time things will naturally be sorted out. Keep us posted.
All the best Jan
I hope so too. I do try to encourage wildlife but as you say, we don't want them in the house.Delete
Hope they don't stay too long, especially if anyone is allergic to bees. Take care.ReplyDelete
We're not aware of anyone here being allergic to bee stings, it would be a different matter if they were, but they don't seem to be doing any harm. I just hope they're not in the loft.Delete
I hope that they don't become too troublesome! JxReplyDelete
Me too. They've been ok so far and I suppose they do need all the help they can get.Delete
I love to see bees in the garden, buzzing round the flowers, not so keen on the house though! Hope it's just a holiday home xxReplyDelete
I love to attract wildlife to the garden but it's a different matter when they take up residence in the house. I don't mind so long as they stay outside, I just don't want them buzzing around indoors.Delete
Oh dear, I hope they're not in your loft. Are they different to carpenter bees, I wonder? I like bees but I wouldn't want them quite so close to the house. xxReplyDelete
I hope they're not in my loft. Eleanor's going to need a suitcase out of there soon so Mick will be venturing up. They are different to carpenter bees, they're solitary bees which burrow in to wood but they do look like bumblebees. I don't want them close to the house either, I wish they'd shift.Delete
Is there nothing you can do to make sure they don't take up residence again next year?ReplyDelete
Any hole can be blocked up once the nest has died to prevent them coming back again next year, but if they're actually in the roof space then I think this would be rather difficult as there'll be lots of little gaps there. We'll just have to have a look and see where they're actually nesting and then see if anything can be done.Delete
How interesting Jo, we had them last year too.....they buzz all night actually sounding like people talking! I think they have got into my loft, like you I shall stay away! I shall read up on your link now....thanks for that.xxxReplyDelete
Thankfully, I can't hear them buzzing at night, I think that would freak me out. It's worrying that you had them last year too, I'm hoping that this is a one off and that they don't bother coming back.Delete