Before reaching for that can of bugspray or calling the exterminator when you discover a nest of bees in your yard, consider being nice to the bees! It is widely known that honeybees have dramatically declined in numbers for somewhat mysterious reasons to the point that agricultural production has been threatened. It is less well known that bumble bees are also endangered and that they are also important agricultural polinators.
When bees build a nest some place which is problematic, beekeepers can safely remove them and find a new home for them. This summer when bumble bees built their nest in my worm bin, it was problematic for me. Bumble bees are not aggressive — except when defending their nest. Each time I opened the worm bin lid to use it, they became aggressive! It became impossible for me to use the worm bin. My worms were starving and I couldn’t compost! I called for help from Jerry the Bee Guy.
This bee expert captured one of the worm bin bumbles and determined this was Bombus Californicus — the California Bumble Bee, which is common throughout the west coast from California to British Columbia.
He scooped the honey-filled wax nest out of the worm bin bedding and put it in a plastic bucket with a lid. Some of the bumble bees came along with it. Then he used his insect net to catch the bees flying around. He also captured bees with his special bee vacuum he created from a shop-vac, a plastic water jug, and flexible hose. In total he captured about 30 bumble bees, including several large queen bees.
He’ll set them up in a new nest location several miles away, so they won’t come back here! The queens he captured will hibernate this winter and then fly away in the spring to start new bumble bee nests. Here’s wishing those queen bees good choice of nest sites and a productive season next summer!