There are a number of different species of stinging insects that share this wonderful world of ours. Some are social insects and others are solitary insects. Regardless, they are almost all regarded as pests and many people wish to remove them as soon as they start to nest near our homes or favorite outdoor areas.
The trick is in deciding if the insect you are watching buzz around your picnic is safe to swat or not. Many of these insects resemble one another yet they have varying levels of aggression, so let Richland Pest and Bee Control help you determine if what’s bugging you is a bumblebee.
What do bumblebees eat and where do they live?
Like most other species of bee, the bumblebee is herbivorous. It only eats nectar from flowers. It will also gather pollen in the pollen baskets on the hind legs to feed to their larvae. As such the bumblebee plays an important role in the pollination of flowers. They will actually spend a number of days harvesting pollen and nectar from the same patch of flowers until they are no longer able to find food there.
Since bumblebees are the only bee that is able to regulate its own body temperature, it is able to handle the cold much better than other species of bee. As a result, it is possible to find bumblebees in much higher altitudes and more northern latitudes than one would expect to find honey bees.
The bumblebee does not build its own nest. Instead, it will find an abandoned rodent nest or a similar type of nest, and modify that for its own use. It will construct egg cells inside the hole and may cover the nest with a wax covering for added protection. A single nest will generally only house around 50 bees, as they are prevented from living in large colonies depending on the size of the chosen nesting site. A nest will typically only survive a single year and will start anew each year with a new queen.
There is also a species called the cuckoo bumblebee that will lay its eggs inside the nest of other bumble bees and leave the workers of that nest to care for its young.
Are bumblebees dangerous to humans?
Similar to honeybees, bumblebees also have a stinger. However, male bumblebees cannot sting, only workers and female Queens can sting. Another big difference is that the bumblebee’s stinger is not barbed like a honeybee is, which means there is no chance of it getting hooked on your skin and ripping free of the bee’s abdomen. It also means that a single bumblebee is able to sting multiple times in defense of its nest. It is important to note that they are not typically aggressive but can sting to protect their nest if they feel threatened.
Stinging incidents most often occur due to the fact that the nests are often well-hidden and you may step on one by accident and incur the wrath of the nest. If you are allergic to bee venom then this will likely cause a reaction and you will need to seek immediate medical attention. However, since the bumblebee is not known to be overly aggressive, you would have to really threaten the nest or aggravate the bee in order to get stung.
How do you get rid of a bumblebee nest?
It is important to note that the bumblebee is protected in many states. This is due to the declining population caused by the destruction of their habitat, the spread of disease, as well as the broadcast use of pesticides in agricultural applications. Bumblebees are not typically aggressive towards people, but exceptions can occur when they feel you are a threat to their nest. Most times, you can safely observe working bumblebees gathering pollen or resting on the tops of flowers. Their nests can be difficult to spot, but can sometimes be located by watching the worker bees when they return to the nest with full pollen baskets. Once a nesting site has been located, you can mark it off to advise people to use caution in that area.
If the nest is located in a place that presents a danger to your family or pets, the technicians at Richland can be called in to treat the nest. This can prove to be a dangerous task as they are likely to sting if provoked. We are trained in pollinator awareness by the National Pest Management Association and we do our best to advise you on how to live peacefully with bumblebees. We are judicious in our treatment of bumblebee nests and do so only in cases where their presence puts your health and safety at risk. If you need assistance handling a bumblebee nest on your property, you can contact us for guidance by calling 860-296-7100.
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