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Kathy- Langley, BC sent me these photos of a bumble bees nesting in a bird house last spring. 

This is not an uncommon occurrance.  Bumble bees will nest in the ground, in a wall, in a bird house or other structure that will keep the weather out.  Bumble bees nest within insulation, grass or other similar materials.

Birds bring nesting materials like moss and grasses into their bird house and leave after their young have hatched. 

“When you see them up close they have an incredible amount of pollen on their back legs.  The opening into the bird  house is 1 1/4″ so you can see how huge they are.”

 
Underneath the moss is a bumble bee colony.  One bumble bee guard is walking on the surface of the colony.



This is a guard- watching out for predators.




Bumble bee on the left is cooling the colony with its wings.  The bumble bee on the right seems to be ready to go and gather more pollen and nectar for the young bees.




Coming in for landing.




Resting after a long flight.




Making room for a larger colony by removing excess moss material.



2 Responses to Bumble bees in bird house

  • We were trying to find good pictures to identify the bees that are now in our birdhouse and found your site. I think we have our answer! Thank you for the up close pictures. How did you take them? Have the bees bothered you while you are in your garden? Will they make honey?

  • Margriet says:

    Hi, Taking close-up pictures of bumble bees is tricky. Any movement by the photographer might end up with a sting, especially when you are so close to the nest. But, with caution and stealth, it is possible. You can see from the photographs that the bees were a little irritated, because the bees came out to guard and defend the nest. Without disturbance, you would see very little activity right at the nest, except bees flitting in and out of the nest. While flying around the garden, they usually dont bother people. Yes they do make honey- placed in little pots- but not enough for harvesting like honey bees.

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