How to identify bumble bees:
  • Are they round and very hairy with a yellow/white or orange band on its tail/bottom, some may be black and red? 
  • Do they make a very loud buzzing sound?
  • Are they single or only number in the tens of bees?
  • Are they living in an old bird box, a compost heap, under the decking, a hole in the ground?
  • Do they have hairy legs?
  • Are there only a few of them, or is it single?
If yes, these: These are kinds of bumblebees. 
What should you do?

Beekeepers cannot help you with bumblebees.  Leave them alone if possible.

Bumblebees are an important pollinator and rarely sting, there are over 260 different types of bees in the UK. Bumblebees are under threat of extinction.

More Information:

Bumble bee colonies are much smaller than honey bee ones – a few hundred at the most, and a bird box is just about right for them. They will just mind their own business if left alone and should be no more a hazard than if they were in your neighbour’s garden, for instance.

If you find a bumblebee nest, it is best to leave it alone and avoid disturbing it.  Please note that though bumblebees are not generally aggressive, they might get aggravated if you interfere with the nest itself. They don’t form swarms, but you may see a cloud of male bumblebees flying outside the nest. They should just get on with life and do their own thing – doing a wonderful job of pollinating plants, wildflowers and your vegetables. Even the very largest nests produce very little ‘traffic’ in and out, so you won’t see threatening numbers of bumblebees at any point during the summer.

If the bumblebees are living under your shed, and are coming up through holes in the floor, then this is probably because it’s the easiest way in and out for them. If you make a different hole, from the outside of the shed, and then block up the hole they were using, then they should happily take to their new route.

Bumblebee nests don’t live for long, so the nest should die naturally within a few months. After that time, the new queens will have flown from the nest to hibernate in the soil elsewhere.

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