A Bumbleebee Queen Stops In For A Chat

Since I don’t work until tomorrow, I took some time yesterday to call around and find bees. While I was on the phone with the person I’ve been trying to reach since last week, a bumblebee came up into my room. It was 68 yesterday, so honeybees were all over my grape hyacinth, and the occasional bumblebee was buzzing through the garden. I had all the doors and windows open downstairs to air out the house, and went inside to call about bees. I didn’t really know what to do, because bumblebees never come in our house. I told the guy I was talking to about it and he suggested that she came in on my shoulder. She flew around my room a little and investigated the pot that my ficus tree was in. While I was still on the phone I opened the blinds on my bay window and opened up both windows. The queen bumblebee found the windows no sooner than I had opened the second one and was outside in seconds. I’m taking this as good news for the year!

I also called another place about getting more wood chips delivered, and should have half a load (about 6-8 cubic yards) of those by friday. I have to say, having a free source of wood chips is really nice. My garden just feels happier having them down everywhere. There are certainly a lot more worms now. I’m going to try my best to make this year about all sort of bees in my garden. I talked my mom into letting me build an insect hotel (see: http://www.inspirationgreen.com/insect-habitats.html for ideas of what they look like). Essentially its an artificial habitat with lots of twigs and bits of wood pilled up together with the intention of attracting various insects to your garden. These insects are likely already here in smaller numbers, but this hotel provides even more places for them to breed/over winter.

The bumblebee queen seemed to really enjoy our house yesterday, because once it got dark I found her trying to crawl into the house underneath the door jam. I opened the door to let the dogs in and they refused to go any further because there was a very large black bumblebee sitting right in the middle of things, haha. I picked her up using a cup and moved her out into the garden. I put her in an over turned garden pot in the hopes she would be safe there, and potentially even like it so much she would nest there (though it was highly unlikely). I went to check on her again today and she was still under there. It was colder than I had thought it would’ve been under that pot. I quickly moved her onto a nice dry rock in the sun, and after a little bit she hopped over onto some hyacinth, which I didn’t know they enjoyed.

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Here she is sunning herself on the rock. It had just finished raining and this rock was drying up the fastest, so thats where I put her.

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You can see her tongue poking into one of the flowers. She’s about as big as my thumb. After a few minutes of hopping from flower cluster to flower cluster, she flew off in search of a better food source.

We get bumble bees in the garden every year, always looking for a place to nest in the rockery. I know that building hives for them to live in have extremely low success rates, but I still wouldn’t mind having one or two for them.

 

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