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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 Bee2

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. 


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 


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



Victoria Sponge

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


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!


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...


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!

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


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....

Busy Bee2

Good idea to have a glass and a bit of stiff cardboard in the greenhouse to help them out and on their way.  Quite easy to do.  Honey bees die after six weeks by the way.  People sometimes get upset at the sight of dead bees - I used to - but they are short lived creatures. 


 Here's a pic of a bumble I dried off after heavy rain last year. It's sucking up sugary water. The sugar was on a spoon to start off with but was difficult juggling both the bee and the spoon. 


I noticed a bee going into one of my empty bird boxes. I think there is just the one but not really sure. We have a lot of bees here



I have just taken this photo of bees in the hedgehog box, they seem to have made a nest, but I don't know what bees they are.


Janet  Rodway

Joybell. They are like Red Tailed Bumblebees. Just leave them to it you need them in your garden to pollinate, They don't Swarm. They are not aggressive. Lucky you.

Hartleyhare. I would think it is a Queen Bumblebee looking for somewhere to nest.  



Thank you for naming them they are more than welcome to stay to as we grow flowers that are wildlife friendly and don't use chemicals.

Hedgehogs not to happy though.

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