Have you seen more bumblebees around this year?
You're not alone – although whether there really are more is open for debate.
The sight of the pollinators has sparked a lot of chatter on social media lately.
Easily recognized by their size, bumblebees play a vital role in the food chain by pollinating everything from flowers to vegetable plants and fruit trees.
But, like all bees, bumblebees have been coming under pressure recently.
“If possible, leaving the nest alone is best,” says Vernon beekeeper Dawn Tucker.
“Bumbles aren’t usually aggressive and don’t want to sting unless they have to. They are there to do a job, which is pollination.”
Come fall, the queen will leave to hibernate, unlike honey bees, which do not hibernate.
“Once the bumble queen leaves to hibernate around the end of September or so, people can then move or clean out the nest area if needed,” Tucker says.
“They do often return year after year, so if they’re in inconvenient areas, one should block entrances in the fall once the queen has left.”
If the hive needs to be moved immediately, people are urged to contact an expert like Tucker, who can remove the bumblebees without harming them.
“Bumbles like soft, dry material and usually that’s the ground, but I have found them a lot in insulation and in woodpiles,” Tucker says.
“I go and ensure I collect the entire nest with the nesting material they chose and take them to a place they can be dry and safe, like my yard that has a lot of pollinator-friendly plants, til the queen heads off to hibernate.”
Tucker is also available to collect honey bee swarms.
For more information on bumblebees, click here.