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Bumblebees are nesting in the wall

Posted by Miranda Hodgson on 19 Apr 2010 at 11:51 AM

Climbing through the window into the garden the other day, I was struck by the sound of buzzing and stopped to listen. Much of it was coming from bees crawling over the rosemary flowers, whilst other bees were visiting the (unfortunately) Spanish bluebells which are popping up all around the greenhouse. The bees were a mix of wild honey bees and various types of bumblebee.

I think this is a male Early bumblebee, Bombus pratorum


Standing watching for a few moments, I noticed an especially fine-looking red-tailed bumblebee making a wandering zigzag flight over the surface of the wall that divides our garden from next door’s. It got to ground level, slowed down and crawled into a hole in the wall. I waited, but it didn’t come back out, so the conclusion is that this was a queen looking for a suitable nesting site. Bumblebees nest in all sorts of places – old mouse nests, under large stones, amongst the leaf litter of a hedge or in the dark corner of a shed.


The hole in the wall that the bee went into


Hopefully this hole in the wall is suitable to her needs and she will set up a small colony. There won’t be thousands of bees, as you find with honey bees and wasps, just a couple of hundred. Left alone to get on with their bee business, they should be no trouble at all. They don’t swarm and aren’t aggressive, so I don’t fear being stung, unless I happen to sit on one by mistake, so I shall enjoy their presence and be glad that they are there to pollinate the cherry trees and the peas and beans that will be planted out in the garden soon.


Bumblebee links

A brief guide to bumblebees by English Nature

Interactive identification guide by the Natural History Museum

Bumblebee Conservation Trust


EvaInNL said:

Wow, royalty moving in! You must be chuffed Miranda! What a great pic by the way!

on 19 Apr 2010 at 04:43 PM

richardpeeej said:

Hi Miranda-lovely news about the bees. They came to see you as they knew that they would be welcome there :-)

on 19 Apr 2010 at 10:28 PM

pushkin said:

What a particularly nice entry, and the bee is photographed so well.  I hope you'll keep up observations and post them.

on 20 Apr 2010 at 03:56 PM

Miranda Hodgson said:

Thank you for the kind comments! Yes, it's exciting to think of bees nesting here. I also saw one slowly flying around in the shed the other day, in the same manner as the bee in the garden. They are all welcome to stay for as long as they want to.

on 22 Apr 2010 at 12:18 PM

AnneSk said:

I have to ask----why were you climbing outof the window into the garden............?

on 30 Apr 2010 at 02:14 PM

Miranda Hodgson said:

Good question, Anne. I did mention about the window route in a previous blog, but you wouldn't necessarily have seen that. I go through the window because we don't have a door into the garden from the house. We can get in via a door in the long drive way but, if I'm just popping out to the greenhouse, going through the window is the easiest way. I'm quite good at it now :-)

on 30 Apr 2010 at 03:22 PM