Do you want to keep a bumblebee in your home? Beekeeping is a great way to get closer to nature and have a unique pet in your home! This guide will explain the basics of how to keep a bumblebee in your house, from choosing the right kind of bee to creating a habitat that is safe and comfortable for your new companion. With the right knowledge and preparation, you can have a happy and healthy bumblebee living in your home.
What is a Bumblebee?
Bumblebees are fuzzy, black and yellow striped, social insects that are native to many parts of the world. They are active during the day, gathering food for their colony and pollinating flowers. Bumblebees live in colonies and have a complex social structure, with a queen and many workers.
Interesting facts about Bumblebees:
- Bumblebees are important pollinators of many crops and wildflowers.
- Bumblebees are very important pollinators, and are responsible for pollinating many of the fruits and vegetables we eat.
- Bumblebees can fly higher than any other insect, reaching heights of up to 3,000 feet.
- Bumblebees have a special ‘buzzing’ sound that helps them to find flowers and communicate with each other.
- Bumblebees are able to fly in colder temperatures, when other bees are inactive.
- Bumblebees have a very short life span, usually only living for a few weeks.
- Bumblebees can sting multiple times, but they usually don’t unless they feel threatened.
- Bumblebees can carry up to 50% of their body weight in pollen.
- Bumblebees are essential for the survival of many plant species, and help to ensure a healthy ecosystem.
Keeping a bumblebee in your house is a great way to help promote and protect the species. If you want to keep a bumblebee in your house, it is important to provide them with the proper environment, food, and shelter.
Benefits of Keeping a Bumblebee in Your Home
- Bumblebees are known to be very efficient pollinators, meaning they can help increase the yields of your garden.
- Having bumblebees around your house can help to reduce the number of pests, as bumblebees feed on pests and other insects.
- Bumblebees have been proven to help increase the quality and quantity of food produced as they help pollinate plants.
- Bumblebees have gentle nature and are not known to sting unless provoked.
- By keeping bumblebees in your home, you can help to sustain the wild bee population.
- Having bumblebees around your house can make your home feel more alive, with bumblebees swarming around your house.
What Do Bumblebees Eat?
Bumblebees are primarily pollen and nectar feeders, but they can also feed on other insects and fruits. They feed on the nectar and pollen of flowering plants, and some species also feed on tree sap. They require a variety of different flower species for their diet, and will gather nectar and pollen from many different types of flowers throughout their hive’s range.
Pollen: Bumblebees collect and transport pollen from plant to plant and use it as a protein source. Pollen is an important part of a bumblebee’s diet, as it is high in essential amino acids and other nutrients.
Nectar: Nectar is the main source of energy for bumblebees and is usually gathered from flowering plants. Nectar is a sugary liquid that is produced by flowers and contains carbohydrates, proteins, and minerals.
Insects: Bumblebees will feed on a variety of insects, such as aphids, caterpillars, and beetles. They will collect these insects from flowers and plants and use them as a source of protein.
Fruits: Bumblebees will also feed on fruits, such as apples, pears, and plums. They can also feed on the juices of over-ripe fruit.
|Pollen||High in essential amino acids and other nutrients|
|Nectar||Carbohydrates, proteins, and minerals|
|Fruits||Juices of over-ripe fruit|
Bumblebees need a variety of different flower species to feed on throughout the hive’s range in order to get the nutrition they need. It is important to provide them with a variety of different food sources in order to ensure that they are getting the nutrition they need to stay healthy and productive.
Housing and Environment for Keeping a Bumblebee
- Provide a Hive: Bumblebees need a safe, comfortable home to live in. You can purchase a pre-made hive or build your own. Make sure that the hive has plenty of ventilation and is protected from predators, such as birds and other animals.
- Create a Pollinator Garden: Bumblebees need access to a variety of flowering plants in order to survive. Plant a pollinator garden in your backyard to provide them with the necessary food and shelter. Ensure that the garden is protected from strong winds and heavy rain.
- Keep the Hive Clean: Bumblebees are sensitive to their environment. Make sure that their hive is kept clean and free from pests and parasites. Regularly inspect the hive for signs of disease and take action when necessary.
- Maintain Proper Temperature: Bumblebees need a temperature of 60-80°F (15-27°C) in order to survive. If the temperature drops too low, they will become inactive. Use a hive heater to maintain an optimal temperature for your bumblebees.
- Provide Access to Water: Bumblebees need access to water in order to survive. Place a shallow dish of water in your garden or near the hive. Ensure that the water is kept clean and free from pollutants.
- Maintain Humidity Levels: Bumblebees need a certain level of humidity in order to survive. Keep the humidity in the hive between 40-60%. If the humidity drops too low, the bees may become dehydrated.
Purchasing a Bumblebee
- Bumblebee queens. The most common way to obtain a bumblebee is to purchase a queen. Queens are the only member of the colony that survives winter, and can be purchased in the spring for use in a beekeeping setup.
- Bee suppliers. Bee suppliers are the best source for purchasing bumblebees. They are knowledgeable about the species, and can provide advice on the best type of bee for the area. They may also provide equipment and advice on how to care for the bees.
- Local beekeepers. Local beekeepers may also have bumblebees available for sale. They can provide advice on the best type of bee for the area, and may even provide advice on how to care for the bees.
- Beekeeping associations. Beekeeping associations may also have bumblebees available for purchase. They can provide advice on the best type of bee for the area, and may also provide advice on how to care for the bees.
It is important to research the bee supplier before purchasing bumblebees. The supplier should be knowledgeable about the species and provide advice on how to care for the bees. It is also important to purchase bumblebees from a reputable source to ensure the safety of the bees.
How to Care for a Bumblebee
Provide a Nest – Bumblebees are social creatures and need a safe and comfortable place to live and breed. Provide a small, dry, and dark box or container with a lid, filled with a material such as moss, paper, or cotton balls.
Feed Them – Bumblebees feed on nectar, pollen, and water. Place a shallow bowl of water in the container and add a few drops of honey or sugar for a sweet treat. They also like overripe fruits and vegetables, as well as a drop of fruit juice.
Keep Them Clean – Bumblebees need their nest to stay clean, so it’s important to check the box regularly and remove any dead bees or debris.
Keep Them Warm – Bumblebees need warmth to survive and thrive. Place the nesting box in a warm, dry spot, away from direct sunlight and drafts.
Protect Them – Predators such as birds, lizards, and spiders can be a real danger to bumblebees. Make sure to keep the nesting box away from these creatures.
Monitor Them – Check on your bees periodically to make sure they’re doing well. Look for signs of health, such as bright eyes and active movements. If you notice any signs of distress or illness, contact a beekeeper or veterinarian.
Preventing Bumblebees from Swarming Around Your Home
Bumblebees can be a nuisance around the home, as their swarms can be quite large and can cause quite a bit of damage. Here are some tips to help prevent bumblebees from swarming around your home.
- Trim back vegetation: Bumblebees like to nest in grassy areas, so mowing the lawn regularly and trimming back any overgrown shrubs or trees will help reduce the chance of them nesting near your home.
- Remove standing water: Bumblebees love standing water, so eliminating any sources of standing water near your home such as birdbaths or clogged gutters will make it less likely for them to swarm.
- Seal up any openings: Bumblebees can squeeze through tiny openings, so make sure to seal up any cracks, gaps, or holes in the walls, foundation, or roof of your home.
- Inspect plants: Bumblebees are attracted to certain plants, such as lavender, sage, and daises, so inspect your garden regularly to ensure there are no bumblebees nesting there.
- Keep food sealed: Bumblebees are drawn to sweet smells, so make sure to keep any food items such as sugar, jams, and honey sealed in containers.
- Call an exterminator: If all else fails, call a professional exterminator to get rid of any bumblebees that have made their way into your home.
By following these tips, you can help prevent bumblebees from swarming around your home and keep yourself and your family safe from stings and other hazards.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Kind of Housing Do Bumblebees Need?
Bumblebees need a dry and draft-free environment to live. A suitable bee housing should have an entrance hole of 7-8 mm in diameter, and a mesh roof to keep flies and other insects away. The housing should be placed in a sheltered area, away from direct sunlight and wind. The hive should be covered with a sheet of canvas or tarpaulin to protect it from the elements. The hive should be cleaned regularly to keep the environment healthy for the bees.
How often should I feed my bumblebees?
Daily: Feed your bumblebees a blend of sugar water and honey at least twice a day. This will ensure that the bees have enough energy to stay healthy and active.
Weekly: Feed your bumblebees a protein-rich diet once a week. This can be done by providing them with pollen and nectar from native flowers.
Monthly: Change the feeders in your hive every month. This will help to prevent the spread of disease and parasites.
Seasonally: Change the feeders in your hive every season. This will help to keep the hive healthy and will also provide the bees with a variety of food sources.
Yearly: Perform an annual inspection of your hive to ensure that the bees have sufficient food sources. This will also help to identify any potential problems with the hive.
What Other Species of Bees Can I Keep in My Home?
Apart from bumblebees, you can keep other species of bees such as honeybees, mason bees, leafcutter bees, and sweat bees. Honeybees are the most popularly kept bees, as they produce honey and wax. Mason bees are solitary bees and are important pollinators. Leafcutter bees are also solitary bees that cut pieces of leaves to construct their nest. Lastly, sweat bees are tiny and stingless, and can be found near perspiration.
How do I know when my bumblebees are healthy?
- Active Behaviour: Healthy bumblebees will be highly active, foraging and buzzing around the hive.
- Healthy Appetite: Healthy bumblebees will have a strong appetite, busy collecting nectar and pollen from flowers and returning to the hive with their payloads.
- No Parasites: Healthy bumblebees should have no signs of parasites or pests, such as mites or other insects, inside or on the surface of the hive.
- No Disease: There should be no signs of disease in the hive, such as discoloured or mouldy honeycomb, or dead bees.
- No Signs of Stress: The bees should be calm and relaxed, with no signs of stress or aggression.
Is there a risk of my bumblebees stinging me or my family?
- Yes. Bumblebees can sting, and it can be quite painful. It is important to take precautions when handling bumblebees.
- Safety Tips: When handling bumblebees, be sure to wear protective clothing, such as long pants, long sleeves, and gloves. Avoid swatting or crushing the bees, as this may provoke them to sting. If a bee does sting, quickly remove the stinger and apply an ice pack or paste of baking soda and water to the sting site. If you experience any severe reactions or anaphylaxis, seek medical help immediately.
- Prevention: Bumblebees can be trained to become docile and less likely to sting. Establishing a safe environment for the bees is key. Provide plenty of food, water, and nesting sites. Avoid handling the bees unnecessarily and avoid sharp movements. If you need to move the hive, do so gently and calmly.
Beekeeping is a rewarding and enjoyable hobby that can provide a lifetime of enjoyment. With proper care, a bumblebee can thrive in a home environment and provide a unique opportunity to learn more about the insect world. With the right equipment, knowledge and dedication, you can create a happy and healthy home for your bumblebee.