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The Bombus psithyrus, commonly known as the bumble bee, is an insect of many that are found throughout the world, including the United States. Their common name may have been derived from their large and clumsy appearance or even simply, the loud buzzing tone they have when they busily fly around. Unlike carpenter bees, bumble bees do not nest in wooden structures, however, because they can sting, bumble bees in the house are a concern to some homeowners.>> Read More
Bumble bees are often times mistaken for carpenter bees and vice versa. Bumble bees range in size with adult worker bumble bees about 6-25mm and queen bees ranging in size from about 17mm to 25 mm. Both worker bees and queen bees are robust in form. They are symbolized by the colors black and yellow and have a fuzzy appearance. Even the top surface of the abdomen is fuzzy. Rarely, bumble bees are orange in color. Bumble bees are winged creatures and also possess a relatively smooth stinger.
Bumble bees are very social and live in nests or colonies. In each colony, worker bees are sterile female bumble bees as well as males, which are known as drones. There are also several queen bumble bees present in one colony. In comparison to the nest of honey bees, bumble bee nests are less extensive. There are several reasons as to why bumble bee nests are not as large. First, just one female is responsible for the initial construction of the nest as well as the reproduction that happens inside the nest. Also, for most species of bumble bees, the nest or the colony is restricted to just one single season.
Mature bumble bee nests can be home to up to 50 bumble bees. Bumble bees can be spotted burrowing in the ground. Most bumble bees build their nests within the tunnels that are premade by other larger animals. Most bumble bee species do not utilize or preserve their nest through the winter. Typically, drones and queens will be the last generation to emerge during the summer and queens remain overwinter separately in certain protected spots. A queen bumble bee can live up to an entire year.
Bumble bees will travel as far as 1-2 km from their colonies just to forage for food sources. Typically, they will look for nectar and pollen from flowers. If one patch of flowers or one garden can continue to provide adequate amounts of both pollen and nectar, bumble bees will continue to return to the same patch every day. Bumble bees are able to use the color of flowers including spatial relationships to differentiate where they should and should not forage. Once the flower selection is complete, bumble bees are able to extract nectar and store it. For several different species of bumble bees, once they visit a flower, they will leave a scent mark on the flower. This scent discourages other bees from visiting the flower. They will also use this scent as a mark that informs them of which flower is beneficial or not. Moreover, bumblebees will use and rely on this natural scent when there is a high handling time of the flower. The handling time refers to the expected time for the bumble bee to find nectar. After they have finished collecting nectar and pollen from that flower, they will return to the nest to deposit the nectar and pollen into cells for storage. Each worker forages alone and bumble bees will never exchange food. Moreover, they will never harvest more than is needed. Only enough food is harvested to last for a few days. This is typically done so because it deters predators. However, this also means that bumble bees are much more vulnerable to food shortages.
Even though bumble bees are considered beneficial to the environment, they are potentially harmful because they possess stingers. Therefore, bumble bee control is necessary when bumble bee nests are close to or located in a residential area, an occupied structure or a recreational facility. Most bee species, including bumble bees, are more active during the day time and less active during the night. Therefore, the best time to try and apply a treatment to kill bumble bees will be during the night time. During the day is the best time to prepare your control strategy by first locating the source of your bumble bee problem, the bumble bee nest. By watching where they are disappearing into, whether it is in the ground, tall grass clumps or even on a structure, keep your eyes open and inspect for the mark. After the nest has been located, wear protective gear and use a dust insecticide or a liquid aerosol that labels bumble bees as a target pest to treat around the nest. Entrances to the nests should not be sealed until all noticed activity has decreased to a complete stop. Treatment may take a couple of tries. You will notice less and less activity around the nest as the days go by. You can re apply the treatment every night. Treatment should only be done during the late afternoon hours to avoid bumble bee confrontation.
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