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Author Topic: Removal of bumblebees?  (Read 1274 times)
Moonshae
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« on: July 25, 2008, 07:47:31 PM »

Anyone have any experience with this?

I wouldn't mind charging the guy to take care of his bumblebees, especially if he's just going to spray them, but I don't want to go into this blind. Apparently, he was removing a pile of boards he had in his backyard, and found the nest. he got stung a few times in the process.

I'm guessing that it'll be fewer bees, and a ton easier than a honeybee removal. Any advice would be most appreciated.
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2008, 09:48:12 PM »

I got into a bumble bee nest once as a kid.  It was in some pine needles under the pine tree in the back yard I grew up in.  It was actually very small, though I'm not sure if it was just a small bumble-bee nest or if all bumble bee nests are small.  there were about 10-15 little fuzzy balls that were kinda bouncing around at the bottom and of course several adult bees there too.  I was only a child at the time, but I don't remember getting stung, though I was quite immune to bee stings as a child and it's quite possible that I simply didn't feel it if they were.  Anyway, I do remember that I was litterally playing in the nest for quite some time and didn't stop until my parents made me. 

I've always found bumble-bees to be extremely gentle though, unless they are being pinned between my toe and sandals like the one that got me two years ago was.  I definately felt that sting, but the pain and little swollen lump went away after about half an hour, which isn't nearly as bad as some of the honeybee stings people here have described.

I do know this from research though, the best place for them is a cooler that's burried underground with a hose going up to the surface and that's lightly packed with furniture cotton.  So if you could make a bee vac out of a styrofoam cooler that was already lightly packed with furniture cotton, then you just sealed them in with some mesh once they were all vac'd up, it would sure make relocating them easier... just detach the vacuum hose and bury it with the end of the garden hose just sticking out of the ground and unseal it, and you'd be done.  I *think* that given that their brood and most adults are already in this perfect home for them would be enough to get them to stay.
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Moonshae
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2008, 09:51:26 PM »

I just threw out two small styrofoam coolers in the trash pickup today, of course! I think I still have one floating around, but I don't think I'd vac them up, I'd just do it all manually with gloves.

I haven't heard back from the guy, so he may be off buying Raid.
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"The mouth of a perfectly contented man is filled with beer." - Egyptian Proverb, 2200 BC
SgtMaj
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2008, 10:08:36 PM »

I think doing it without a vac might be very difficult, as the one time I got into one, the adults seemed quite flighty.  I think that will make it very difficult for you.

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Robo
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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2008, 10:22:34 PM »

The nest is relatively small compared to all the comb honeybees built.   Bombus impatiens  is the common one around here, and I assume for you as well.  They will have a few hundred bees at the peak.  I've only done a handful or so, but I have found that photocopier paper boxes with cover work well.  You want to move the nest as gently as possible into the box.  If possible, leave a corner or an area free for them to defecate while contained. A 3/4" entrance hole is adequate.  The weather is warm enough now, and the population should be large enough that you don't have to worry about providing any nesting material,  just place the nest into the box.  If you wait until dusk,  they will be less flighty, but may be more defensive, depending on how cool the temperature is.   Keep in mind that they do not make honey, and only store enough nectar for a few days, so it is always a good idea to supplement them when disturbing and relocating the nest.   I find a 1:1 syrup soaked sponge works great.   Bumbles tend to be docile,  but can get a little defensive when you start messing with their nest.  They don't have a barbed stinger, so they can sting you repeatedly and they CAN sting thru nitrile gloves, trust me shocked

Keep them in a protected shady area so they don't get afternoon sun.   Sounds like this would be a great one to get since the nest should be easy to access. It can be a little more challenging when the're in the ground and you have to dig it out.  Bumbles are great bees and it is very interesting to observe them and to see how different they are than honeybees.

good luck

rob.....
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2008, 10:48:28 PM »

Robo makes some great points, one of which I'm not even sure he meant to make, and I didn't even think about before... but the nest I got into was completely opened up, and it was the middle of the day, so that likely fueled their flightiness.  Doing it at night with an unopened nest... I'm sure they wouldn't be nearly as flighty, if at all.

Of course, Moonshae, your suspicions about them picking up the Raid as you're typing this are probably right.  My guess is they were in the middle of doing something when running into this nest stopped them from doing what they wanted, so they just can't be patient enough to wait for them to be removed.  I hope that's not the case though.
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