A few days ago my neighbors found that they had bumblebees in one of their favorite bird houses. Birds nest in it almost every year and my neighbors don’t always clean out the old nesting material (which is a good thing). Anyway, they found these adorable little creatures and within two days decided they had to go. My neighbors texted me at work to say that if I didn’t remove them for them they were going to kill them. I was immediately furious that they would even consider such a thing, especially when bumblebees are struggling so much. I told them not to kill them and that I would figure out how to move them when I got home. They texted back some time later to say that they had called a beekeeper who told them they should kill them if they didn’t want them. I’m highly suspicious that any beekeeper would say something like that, so my guess is that they called pest control.
Anyway, I came home and quickly researched how to move a bumblebee nest. Everything I found said that you simply just move them to the new location, which seems really weird to me. But that’s what I did. I waited until dusk, got dressed in my beekeeping suit, put some paper over the hole in the bird house, and moved them over to a post on a trellis we have. Everything I found online said that you should close up the hive entrance and then wait until mid day the next day to release them. Supposedly this lets them get “acclimated” to their new home? It seems weird to me but that’s what I’m doing.
Moving them made me feel really bad. I waited until it was almost dark out before I did it, but 5 bees were still out foraging and were distressed to find the entrance to their home blocked. At this time of year the hive population is very low, so 5 bumblebees could easily be half the foraging party. The bird house weighed a couple of pounds, which surprised me, and buzzed loudly whenever I moved it jarringly. I really hope they make it! I’ve wanted bumblebees to nest in my garden for years. I’ll post pictures of them coming and going as soon as I can!