View Full Version : Bumble Bee question

Steve McMahon
09-27-2004, 02:33 PM
I recently destroyed a bumble bee nest that was alongside the foundation of my house. Normally I'd leave them alone but they were on the side of the house that is fenced in for the dogs. I flooded them after dark with about a hundred gallons of soapy water and then added compacted soil along the foundation where the nest opening was. We seem to be getting about a hundred or so bee's still coming to where the nest entrance was and trying to find it. I've been murdering them as they come, but they seem to keep coming?
I thought that the bee's would always be in their nest after dark? Where are all these others coming from and why were they not in the nest the night I did the dirty deed?? Any suggestions or insights would be appreciated.

Jack Heinlen
09-27-2004, 02:41 PM
What, exactly, is the bug? IRRC bumbley bees aren't social, well, beyond the need to make more bumbley bees. There is a ground nesting European yellow jacket, docile but a sugar fiend, that is around a lot.

Alan D. Hyde
09-27-2004, 03:00 PM
Steve, have you tried fly paper?

Some times of year, with some bees, it works. :D

Some times it doesn't. :(


09-27-2004, 04:09 PM
Sprinkle the area with Sevin dust. That should do the trick.


Domesticated_Mr. Know It All
09-27-2004, 04:23 PM
Might be more than one entrance to the nest(which could be huge) :eek: . You plugged up the front door and they're still using the back door. :rolleyes: Some kind of poisen that gets carried back into the nest and kills them all is the trick. Hardware store or garden center should have what you need. Be careful. :D

John of Phoenix
09-27-2004, 04:31 PM
Are you sure they're the big bumble bees and not just honey bees? I've never known the bumble bees to be more than one or two at most.

If they're honey bees, there may be a second entrance and the bees you're seeing are coming out of the second access and returning to the one you see. We had a 40lb honey comb removed from the roof recently and they had three access points.

What a project!! Had to remove the fascia to get to it and there must have been 2000 bees.

Unless you clean out the honey comb, you may have continued problems.

Chris Stewart
09-27-2004, 04:35 PM
If you decide on poison, make sure its safe for the dogs. I know a girl who's dog died after she put down weed killer in an area the dog could get to.

Bruce G
09-27-2004, 05:36 PM
Instead of 100 gallons of soapy water use about 1 gallon of gas :eek:

This does not sound like bubble bees, because they like wood. Are you sure these are not yellow jackets? I KNOW from painful events in the past that yellow jackets like to make their nests in the ground.

Good luck

09-27-2004, 05:47 PM
Okay okay...you weren't listening last time I told you...

...If you have honey bees in your house

Honey bees regulate the temperature in their hive, in the winter they do this by huddling,
in the summer they circulate cooling air by fanning with their wings.
If you kill the bees, then on the next hot day the wax honey comb melts.
Do you really want seventy-five pounds of melted wax, contaminated honey and dead bees oozing out of your house's walls?

You could just leave them alone, they usually don't sting unless someone really picks on them. But if you want them out, you need a bee-catcher to come and remove the bees.
Call your County Agent for a recommendation for a qualified bee-catcher.
We used to be the bee-catchers in our area of Upstate New York (you buy the beer and I'll tell you stories about bee-catching...
...and for air-fare,a modest fee and some more beer I could come to Berwick, Nova Scotia to identify Steve's bees...)

09-27-2004, 05:58 PM
When you moved the hive did you also remove the honey? Otherwise the result would be the same as killing them, nor?

Billy Bones
09-27-2004, 06:14 PM
I'll go out on a limb here and suggest that maybe, just maybe, Steve knows what he's talking about. Bumblebee nests are smallish compared to other types of bees, and bumblebees often nest in the ground unlike honey bees which do not. Ground wasps and yellow jackets, by the way are definitely not docile or friendly. And the Caribbean variety are particularly unpredictable and sting-happy.

This from the web...

Bumble bees are big, fuzzy insects recognized by almost everyone by their robust shape and black and yellow coloration. The common species are 3/4 inch in length or more. Like honey bees, bumble bees live in a colony where the adults care for the young (larvae) produced by a single queen. Bumble bee nests are small compared to honey bees, as each nest contains only a few hundred individuals. Also unlike honey bees, a bumble bee nest is annual and is used only one year and then abandoned. Bumble bees may re-appear in the same area from one year to the next but they do not reuse an old nest. Bumble bees colonies are usually underground in a deserted mouse or bird nest though they are occasionally found within wall cavities or even in the clothes drier vent.

In the spring, each new queen selects a nest site and starts a new colony. She lines the cavity with dry grass or moss and then collects pollen and nectar to produce a stored food called "bee bread." Her first brood of offspring, (5 to 20), will all be workers (daughters) who take over the colony responsibilities of nest enlargement, food gathering and storage, and feeding and caring for the larvae. The queen continues to lay eggs throughout the summer. By late summer, new reproductive males and females (kings and queens) are produced. These mate on the wing and the fertilized females move to hibernation sites in the shelter of loose bark, hollow trees or other dry, protected places to lie dormant through the winter. The males and workers still in the colony die with frost or the first hard freeze.

If the vicinity of a bumble bee nest can be avoided, then leave them alone and wait for them to die in the fall as the preferred "management" option. Live-trapping bumble bees for relocation is not practical and covering the nest entrance does not usually solve the problem.

Bumble bee nests in yards, flowers beds, wood piles, walls or other high traffic areas may create an unacceptable threat of being stung and justify treatment. Determine the exact location of the nest entrance from a safe distance during the day, but wait until night to treat if possible. Wear long-sleeved shirt and trousers and tie sleeves and pants legs shut or pull your socks out over your pant cuffs.

Apply insecticide dust through the entrance hole. Use a duster or squeeze bottle to puff the insecticide into the opening, or "fling" insecticide into the hole off an old plastic spoon. Sprays and ready-to-use "wasp and hornet" aerosol sprays can also be used, but often with less satisfactory results. Cover underground nest openings with soil but do not plug nests in house walls until all activity has stopped. Be prepared to repeat the treatment if necessary. Repair wall nesting sites with caulk and paint.

Hope this helps.

John of Phoenix
09-27-2004, 06:22 PM
Bumble bee nests are small compared to honey bees, as each nest contains only a few hundred individuals. I never seen more than two at a time. Thanks for the education, Billy.

09-27-2004, 10:04 PM


queen bee?

[ 09-27-2004, 11:06 PM: Message edited by: Dutch ]

09-28-2004, 06:35 AM
Just to re-emphises what I was saying.

A few years ago I had a problem with yellow jackets nesting around my house and I couldn't get to the nest. I tried many differnt types of wasp and hornet killer, and it would knock them down for a little while and than they would be back.

I ended up dousing the area with liquid sevin to knock them all down, than dusted the area real good with sevin dust and the problem was gone.

The liquid sevin knocked them down so I could get up close and personal. The sevin dust stays around and gets carried back to the nest and knocks out the ones that you can't get the liquid or sprays too.


edited to add a link to a site about using sevin dust to kill bees and fix image problem.

Killing bees (http://www.kolias.com/homegarden/bees.htm)

[ 09-28-2004, 07:47 AM: Message edited by: cs ]

Russell Sova
09-28-2004, 06:53 AM
When they get cans of bee spray in at work they always make a point of telling me. I especially hate yellow jackets, which are really wasps and agressive. Yellow jackets are poor pollinators. If they are those very large, slow, yellow and black bees, those are carpenter bees and they burrow into wood. If they are brown European honey bees they have enough flying around and arriving late due to street lights, etc. Use the powder, they pass it around and it stays in the hive forever. In a matter of a week they'll be gone with the powder.

Steve McMahon
09-28-2004, 07:49 AM
Thank you for your responses and suggestions.

These are definatly Bee's of the bumble sort. I grew up on an apple farm and we also raised and rented honey bees, which these are not.



Gas was out of the question, the nest was along the foundation of the house!

Seven or any other chemical solution was also out of the question because the dogs own that side of the house/yard, and because we work off of a shallow well in close proximity.

They seem to have slowed down now to a trickle, last evening probably 10 or so, and only a few this morning. I guess my conclusion is that the ones that are coming were members of this nest and were out late boozing on sunflowers when the sun went down the night I removed the nest.

09-28-2004, 10:10 AM
"...When you moved the hive did you also remove the honey?..."

Yes, we removed all of the comb and honey, and also washed down the nest area when possible. Otherwise the odor of the honey will attract another swarm of honey bees.
If the bees are removed early in the season it isn't necessary to return all of the honey that they'd stored, since they can gather a new supply during the summer. But if the bees are removed later in the season it is touch and go whether they can survive the coming winter even if their honey is returned to them in the new hive-boxes to which they've been moved.

"A hive of bees in May is worth a load of hay,
A hive of bees in June is worth a silver spoon.
But a hive of bees in July isn't worth a pie."

Steve's right, his bees are not honey bees (there goes my trip to Nova Scotia...).