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Author Topic: Bumble bee advice needed  (Read 7867 times)


  • Joined Jun 2012
  • S W northumberland
Bumble bee advice needed
« on: September 10, 2013, 08:38:28 pm »
I Need advice on Bumble bees or at least how to move them.
I have an allergy to bee stings and bumble bees have taken up residence in the hay shed !
I had noticed the odd one every time I went in for hay but today they are everywhere, they are coming and going from under the pallets that the hay stacks on. Don't know how many there is but there is lots of them  :-\
This has become a problem now because today after being stung I ended up having to go to the hospital  ::)
Any advice would be great, don't want to kill them but I do need to get into the hay


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Bumble bee advice needed
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2013, 09:04:11 pm »
Bad luck with the sting reaction.  Do you have an emergency syringe for if it happens again?
For moving the bees I would think your best bet would be to ask your local bee keepers association to help - you certainly mustn't try it yourself.
In fact the colonies are about to die off for the winter, but it sounds as if you can't wait until then.
Bumble bees had two disastrous years because of the appalling summers we had, but the ones here at least, and I presume everywhere, have had a wonderful year this year - our garden flowers are dripping with them, staggering around and falling off the flowers when they are too drunk on nectar  :bee: :bee: :bee:
I'm glad you want to save them  :thumbsup:
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  • Joined Jun 2012
  • S W northumberland
Re: Bumble bee advice needed
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2013, 09:16:48 pm »
I do have  1 now, not been stung since I was a kid so foolishly as the years went by I stopped carrying one .

After today getting them moved will have to be a priority because I am now worried about going in there now that I know there is not just the odd one  :-\


  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: Bumble bee advice needed
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2013, 11:24:25 am »
I love bumble bees, never been stung by them. didn't know they would sting. Anyway I had in my hay shed a few years ago. Started nesting in one of my hay bales. Other half moved the bale with the tractor and after a few hours they all left.


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Thornbury, Nr Bristol
Re: Bumble bee advice needed
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2013, 11:41:17 am »
I have an allergy to bee stings too and carry an Epipen.  However, it appears to only be really bad when it's a honey bee sting - i.e. unable to breath, quickly swell up etc.   

Bumble bees will very rarely sting but I did trap one in between the back of my knee last year as I knelt down and it stung me.  Although it swelled slightly, I certainly had no need to use the Epipen.  Not really sure why there should be such a marked difference in the two types of sting. 

We had a bumble bee next in an old shed last year but we just left them alone, but if you need to get near them to get hay etc this might annoy them enough to sting you, despite them doing as much as possible to avoid stinging.  Definitely get a bee keeper to move them for you if you are not able to get at the hay at a safe enough distance from the bumbles.  :bee:


  • Joined Aug 2010
    • The World is My Lobster
Re: Bumble bee advice needed
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2013, 01:05:10 pm »
Bumble bee nests are annual affairs.  Towards the end of the season the hive will hatch off as many Queen bees as it is able and they will hibernate for the winter.  The queens are those great big ones you see early in the year.  The workers then (rather like wasps) just live out the rest of their natural lives then die off. 

I would guess by now the majority of the queens have been hatched, so I suppose it you killed the nest it would make very little difference as they will die anyway, but the later in the year you can leave it the better just to be on the safe side

Bee keepers will only take honeybees as those are the only ones which will produce harvestable honey

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Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Bumble bee advice needed
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2013, 03:13:08 pm »
I have been stung many times by bumblebees and have also developed a reaction to them.

As others have said, the nests won't last much longer at all. A couple of weeks tops. The new queens have probably left by now. Could you wear thick clothes, hat, scarf over your face and goggles to collect hay for 10 days? Get someone else to get it out for you?

Don't breath anywhere near the nest - its the CO2 that sets them off.

When its that serious a reaction, I'd advise to play it safe and remove the nest. honey bee keepers are unlikely to remove it for you. Do not work alone. It needs to be done after dark, with lots of thick clothing, every bit of skin covered - wear gogles or something. Then its common sense, find the nest (I guess under a few bales?) and have a box ready to put the whole lot in. Without breaking it, scoop the whole thing into the box, ensuring its the same way up. Close box.

Use a dim light with a red filter to see what you're doing.
Put in new place (ideally  >1Km away, but wherever you can), somewhere sheltered. Unplug the entrance hole (should have said there needs to be a hole) and leave them to it. A box with a terrocotta pot over the top is not bad. Needs to be wether resistant.

If the nest is burried under bales and inaccessible, and too dangerous for you to leave for two weeks, get pest control in to destroy it. Many say they won't kill a bbee nest, but if you explain the severity of the situation, someone ought to.

Hope this helps.


  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Bumble bee advice needed
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2013, 09:48:37 am »
How did you do with the bumble bees?

 I've moved lots of such nests in hay stores , usually where last years hay has been stored on pallets . Some times the pallets were covered in old hard board or several layers of carboard.

 Almost every time the bumble bee comb was below the hay built inside the actual pallets.
 The small one foot across nests are easy as you can drag the pallet out but when you have a three foot diameter four inch thick nest at the joining of four pallets you'd better be careful

Whilst there is pollen or nectar available you'll find bumble bees work well into the evening so long as the air temp is above 46 o F & it is not too wet or windy .

 One way of temporarily sorting the bumble bee problem is to use some waste water soil vent pipe and bends to make a " stove pipe route " for the bees to fly in and out of  hay .
cover the hay with thick blankets once the pipes are in place and make sure they totally cover everything .
Once the bees walk the route in and out and start flying they tend to stick to it.

 Those older golf ball sized bees certainly pack one helluva sting this time of the year.
 I ended up with very tender  manboobs on a 48 inch chest in GG cups where they'd stung me .
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  • Joined Jun 2012
  • S W northumberland
Re: Bumble bee advice needed
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2013, 09:27:59 pm »
I forgot about this thread
I decided to leave them alone,they go in and out the window so don't need to open the door at all.
We have a spare stable so it is now the hay shed  ::)
They have only recently moved in, where the nest is I couldn't have missed it as its under the pallet right where you step when you go in.
To look at they are all big bees much bigger than wasps :-\

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Bumble bee advice needed
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2013, 08:15:58 am »
And they're STILL there in October!? That's late!

The odd nest persists into October, but tyipically these are common carder bumblebees, -brown coloured ones that aren't that big, and very placid.

Any chance of getting someone to take a photo for id?


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Thornbury, Nr Bristol
Re: Bumble bee advice needed
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2013, 08:20:56 am »
The weather has been very mild though so perhaps that has had something to do with why they are still around?   


  • Joined Jun 2012
  • S W northumberland
Re: Bumble bee advice needed
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2013, 10:22:44 am »
Will try and get a picture although it means disturbing them as they are in the loose hay seeds under the pallet.


  • Joined Aug 2013
  • Cornhill, Banff
    • The Roundhouse
Re: Bumble bee advice needed
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2013, 10:49:14 am »
We found a nest on a bale of old straw this year, it must be a favourite place for bumbles to nest. Ours were still out and about until recently too and we're in NE Scotland! I haven't seen them this last week however. This particular nest were a very small variety but there do seem to be a lot of different species on our plot.
Can you persuade someone less allergic to move this nest for you?
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