bumble bee

Bumble Bees

Bumble bees form colonies. These colonies are usually much less extensive than those of honey bees. This is due to a number of factors including the small physical size of the nest cavity, the responsibility of a single female for the initial construction and reproduction that happens within the nest, and the restriction of the colony to a single season (in most species). Often, mature bumble bee nests will hold fewer than 50 individuals. Bumble bee nests may be found within tunnels in the ground made by other animals, or in tussock grass. Bumble bees sometimes construct a wax canopy (“involucrum”) over the top of their nest for protection and insulation. Bumble bees do not often preserve their nests through the winter, though some tropical species live in their nests for several years (and their colonies can grow quite large, depending on the size of the nest cavity). In temperate species, the last generation of summer includes a number of queens who overwinter separately in protected spots. The queens can live up to one year, possibly longer in tropical species.

Colony cycle

Bumble bee nests are first constructed by over-wintered queens in the spring (in temperate areas). Upon emerging from hibernation, the queen collects pollen and nectar from flowers and searches for a suitable nest site. The characteristics of the nest site vary among bumble bee species, with some species preferring to nest in underground holes and others in tussock grass or directly on the ground. Once the queen has found a site, she prepares wax pots to store food, and wax cells into which eggs are laid. These eggs then hatch into larvae, which cause the wax cells to expand isometrically into a clump of brood cells.

These larvae need to be fed both nectar for carbohydrates and pollen for protein in order to develop. Bumble bees feed nectar to the larvae by chewing a small hole in the brood cell into which nectar is regurgitated. Larvae are fed pollen in one of two ways, depending on the bumble bee species. So called “pocket-maker” bumble bees create pockets of pollen at the base of the brood cell clump from which the larvae can feed themselves. Conversely, “pollen-storers” store pollen in separate wax pots and feed it to the larvae in the same fashion as nectar. Bumble bees are incapable of trophallaxis (direct transfer of food from one bee to another).

Get rid of pests and keep them away. Call Atkins Pest Management for expertise tailored to your needs. Seasonal services or one-time solutions—either way, no contracts. Just professional results.

Call us at (800) 982-6933 for a free consultation.

Questions? We have answers.
Whatever you need, we can help.

  • Atkins Simplifies My Life!

    "One of my favorite aspects of Atkins is that they are turnkey. I have one company that can clean my facilities, perform lawn care, install irrigation systems, remove snow and ice, provide pest control, and even handle my holiday lighting!"…- Dan Davis, Facilities Manager - ABC Laboratories -

    Read More
  • You Will Not Find a Better Group of People Anywhere

    “I have known Tom Atkins and the Atkins companies for over 30 years.  You will not find a better group of people anywhere.  They truly understand what “customer service” really means.  Their commitment to building a long term trusting relati…- Gary Drewing ~ Machens Mercedes & BMW  -

    Read More
  • It’s a Trust Thing with Atkins

    "From the top down, you can count on them to handle just about anything around the home. You don’t see a new face every time they show up. You get someone you can count on to do the job right and stand behind it."…- Jack Smith -

    Read More
  • Commitment to the Communities they Serve

    "Many Accolades can be given to a family owned company that has been successful for 90 years.  What exemplifies the Atkins Companies is their commitment to enhancing the communities they serve.   Many in our communities benefit daily from the extr…- Randy M. Morrow, Retired Vice President, Boone Hospital Center -

    Read More
  • Atkins Treats Our Business Like Family

    "We have used Atkins for many years for various services including lawn care and snow removal. We had used other providers in the past but have never found the high level of service with anyone that we always receive from Atkins! " - Bill Morrissey, President - Kilgores Medical Pharmacy -

    Read More
  • Atkins the Best Locally-Owned, Family Business

    “It’s my pleasure to congratulate Atkins on their 90th birthday.  You have always been the best of what makes a locally-owned, family business great.  We have worked with Atkins for all its 90 years and from one local business to an…- Steve Erdel – Chairman and CEO, Central Bank of Boone County -

    Read More