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Got a little bees nest under my shed.

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I noticed a while ago that some little bumble bees were making a route to under our shed and have now happily made a nest.

I was worried I had frightened them away with the pressure washer as their entrance faces the end of the chicken run and I thought I might have got them a bit wet but they are still there :D


I wondered if little bumble bees make honey like other bees ?

They are little bumbles with white bottoms.

Can anyone tell me what goes on inside their nest and how long they will stay for and if they will come again ?

Do they stay there for the winter or do they all die ?


They love my foxgloves and my lupin :D

I must get some more bee friendly plants though.

I'm so pleased to have them come to stay.

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:D congratulations, your garden is obviously bee-friendly and bumble bees are at more risk than honey-bees.


The queen who hibernated over winter will have begun to build the nest soon after she woke up, and laid a few eggs. She will have fed the larvae and waited till they hatched, and then as soon as they were active she sits back and lets them do all the housework! They will have built some wax structures, not quite like honeycomb but similar, and the queen will lay eggs every day - when the colony is mature it'll have between 200-300 bees in it. The ones you see flying in and out will be worker bees, fetching pollen and nectar to feed the larvae. They don't make and store honey, they just bring in enough to feed the brood.


At some point quite soon, in fact it may already have begun, the queen will start to lay male bees (drones) and instead of worker bees, the larvae will develop into queen bees. The queens will fly out when they are mature, mate with drones (preferably from another nest) and then once mated, they will go and look for a suitable place to hibernate. The workers will gradually die out, as will the drones and the original queen, and next spring it'll all begin again! The only purpose of the nest is to raise more queen bees, really.


So in answer to your question - in a few weeks it'll all be over, and no they don't overwinter nor do they usually use the same nest again. However if the queens hibernate in your garden there's a good chance you'll have another nest next year. Bumblebees rarely sting, and it's lovely to see them flying around.

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The dynamics of the nest are a little more complicated.

When the nest matures drones and new queens are produced though some nests will make either drones or queens.

The drones leave the nest and mate. Unlike the honey bee which mates in the air the bumblebee mates on the ground or in low vegetation and drones can mate more than once. Once they leave the nest they do not return and spend the summer foraging on flowers. They are the bees you spot asleep in flowers in the morning. When the autumn comes they die.

New queens on the other hand return to the nest after mating and will help tend the nest if any new bees are still being reared. They spend their summer fattening up on pollen rich flowers and when food starts getting scarce and the air cooler they will leave to find a place to hibernate, ready to start the cycle again. The old queen has by then been kicked out of the nest and has died.

It is unlikely the old nest will be used again, but it is lovely to have them in the garden for a summer.

Waxmoth will clean it up and it will be like it was never there.

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Gosh, who would have thought there was so much to it :shock:


I only worked out earlier that honey bees so obviously make honey and bumble bees must just bumble around :lol:

I wanted to try and take a photo of them if they weren't too fast but it was too cold for me out there today let alone the bees, so I didn't take any. If I do get some then you might be able to tell me which little bumble bee it is.

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Just reading your post Luvachicken. I seem to have nest in my garden too. They aren't bumble bees. They are more elongated. I think they are nesting in a shrub. I don't mind them at all except every day at least four are coming into the house. They end up at my big windows where I presume they think they can get out. If I find them I am catching them and putting them out onto a flower. Sadly on the days I am out I am coming back to a little windowsill of dead bees. I never had this before, why are they coming in?

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Glad you have a little nest in your garden Grandmashazzie :D


I think the bees randomly come into the house but never have any idea how to get back out :roll:

I watch things come into our conservatory, they come in and fly straight to the roof where they see the sky, but never find the way out.

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On 5/19/2022 at 4:03 PM, Good goose said:

So , having read all the above , do we just leave it alone ? Our nest looks to be under the edge of our old shed . 

Yes, the best thing is to leave them alone.

Bees rarely sting so there is no need to disturb them.

I was given an excellent book for my birthday earlier in the year - The Secret Lives of Garden Bees - if you want to find out more.

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