The Bumblebee

Bumblebees are large yellow-black social insects which collect nectar and pollen from flowering plants. They vary in color from red, yellow and black bands. These pests have a distinct buzz. They have four wings, the two rear ones are usually connected to the forewings.

HOW TO IDENTIFY BUMBLEBEES

Bumblebees are:

  • 2 to 4cm in size approximately.
  • Yellow, black and orange in color.
  • Hairy skin
  • Special feature: sting on their tails.

Appearance and Behavior

bumblebee

Bumblebee. By PhiloVivero, CC BY-SA 3.0,

They have yellow and black hairy bodies like most of the bees but the sting on their tail is a distinctive feature. Also, they have a distinct buzz. They are found all over the northern hemisphere and are social insects. Bumblebees are beneficial to our ecosystem as they pollinate flowers and crops.

They live in colonies divided into social classes like queens, drones, and workers. The queen lays eggs. The drones mate with the queens. The workers do all other works required to maintain the hives.

Another distinct feature of the bumblebees is that they are “scent marking”. They avoid flowers recently visited by other bumblebees so they mark a scent on the flowers to say that the nectar is gone from this flower.

Bumblebees have a smooth stinger. This means they can sting more than once, unlike honeybees who have barbed stingers. Only the queen and worker bumblebees have stingers.

If you have a bumblebee nest near or inside your property, you are likely to hear a distinct buzzing sound and you’ll see them hovering around flowering plants or around your garden.

HOW DO YOU BUMBLEBEES GET INSIDE


If you locate a bumble bee nest in or near your house, they’ve most probably entered through vents, bathroom, stove or any other, chimney exteriors, pipes or gutters, or an opening in the walls. Some species of bumblebees prefer to nest underground in places such as rodents or compost in heaps. Others prefer to nest in thick grass or bird boxes, etc.


HOW TO GET RID OF BUMBLEBEES


There are ways to repel these pests, and also to kill them. It is, however, recommended to try to repel them since their population is already threatened.

Easy ways to get rid of them:

Make a peppermint spray. Bees hate peppermint and cinnamon. If combined, it is very likely to make them go away. Mix liquid dish soap with water in a spray bottle. Add some peppermint essential oil and cinnamon essential oil. Spray this mixture around the bumble hive in your home. Do not spray directly on the bees as this will agitate them and they can become aggressive.

Call a Beekeeper. Beekeepers will know how to remove the bumblebee nest in your house. They might do it for free or charge a fee, depending upon how difficult it is to remove the nest.

If these pests are causing allergies or stings, or if they are bothering you very much, you can use insecticides. You can get an insecticide for these pests at local shops but it is advisable to take precautions. Some of these would be to wear completely covered clothes while spraying to protect yourself from getting stung. Also, the insecticide should be used at night when the pests aren’t active and are inside their nests. In the day they can become aggressive and sting you. And bumblebees sting powerfully, just to let you know.


Bumblebee Facts


  • The world’s largest bumblebee is the Bombus dahlbomii of South America.
  • Bumblebee eggs are shaped like sausages.
  • Bumblebee sperms stay for months inside the queen bees!