Bumblebee Rescue & RelocationApril 29, 2013
Not only are we continuing to create a bee-friendly habitat garden, host honeybee hives & mason bee boxes, but as of this past weekend, we’re now home to a rescued, wild bumblebee nest!
In Seattle, if unwanted bees of any kind take up residence in your garden or home, there are rescue agencies to call that will extract the bees without using pesticides in the process. They’ll evaluate your situation and make recommendations based on your space, the kind of bee, the time of year, and more. Their goal isn’t to exterminate. Rather, these programs seek to educate homeowners and help maintain healthy habitats for people and for the bees as well. Hence, the no ‘cide approach and the evaluate & educate approach.
Dan the Bee Man offers exactly this type of service.
Earlier this year, I reached out to Dan to find out if he’s ever on the look-out for relocation sites for bumblebees. And, as I expected, he does prefer to relocate the nests rather than kill the bees whenever possible. (Yes, he does kill some infestations of yellow jackets, hornets and wasps, but he does it with soapy water rather than something more toxic.) So, I asked him to get in touch when he was looking for a new host site.
And he called Saturday afternoon.
Not far from our home garden, a family of red/orange-rumped bumblebees had taken over a hand-painted birdhouse in someone’s garden. Dan was able to gather up the entire birdhouse, insert it in a bucket topped with a second bucket. Then, he sealed it up with tape. That means he didn’t have to really disturb the nesting bees, was able to gather a large portion of the colony, and release it into our garden with little disturbance. He simply put on his bee suit, stepped into an available part of our garden, removed the tape, took off the top bucket, lifted the entire birdhouse out and set it on the ground.
Within less than five minutes, the bumblers had found our blueberry patch not three feet from their new home. These ladies love the blueberries and began pollinating right away. Today, a few days later, they’re buzzing all over our garden — hitting the much Bee-loved Manzanita that is already buzzing with the sounds of mason and honey bees. And, our native Vine Maple is all-abuzz with all sorts of hungry pollinators — bees and birds alike.
Although bumblebees do produce a bit of honey, we really won’t get any from these girls. What will we get? Pollination galore; bumblebees are better tomato pollinators than our other bees. And, we’ll get the peace of mind knowing we’re providing a home to yet another threatened pollinator.
To learn more about the decline of the bumblebee, visit the Xerces Society page here.
To see about hosting a rescued bumblebee nest or other bees or to find out about his poison-free extraction services, contact Dan the Bee Man Here. (And, as always, check to see if hosting is regulated in your area before you dive in.)
And, if any of you can fully identify the species of bumblebee shown in the photo at the top of this page, we’d love to hear from you!