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Bumble Bees

Class: Insect
Color: Yellow or orange with black or white stripes
Other distinguishing features: Hair on body gives them a fuzzy appearance
Diet: Pollen and nectar from flowers
Predators: Skunks
Hazard: Stings usually cause a temporary soreness, but can be a serious problem for someone allergic to bee stings.
Interesting Fact: The bumblee’s buzz is made not by the beating of its wings but by its vibrating flight muscles.

Worried about the Sting of Bumblebees in Your Backyard?

No one likes getting stung, but if bumblebees are making a home in your backyard, we’ve got some good news. Unlike some bee species, bumblebees aren’t aggressive and won’t usually sting unless they feel threatened.  However, a bumblebee can sting repeatedly because there are no barbs on their stingers.

There are about 250 species of bumblebees but most share these characteristics:

  • Round bodies covered in soft hair, giving them a fuzzy look
  • ½ inch to 1 inch in size
  • Striped bodies with some combination of black, yellow, orange and/or white

Bumblebees usually live in underground nests, often in tunnels built by other animals, and their colonies have fewer than 50 members. Queens, which are twice as large as the worker bees, prepare a new nest each spring, creating cells and then laying worker eggs and collecting nectar to feed them.

Once the workers hatch, they collect both nectar and pollen from flowers and take them back to the nest to feed other colony members. They’re efficient at this job because they can detect the pattern of electrical fields on flowers, which tells them if another bee has visited the flower and gathered the pollen.

Only the queen bee lives through the winter; the workers and drones die off as the weather becomes colder.

Facing their own threat

Over the last decade, the number of bumblebees has been declining. No one is exactly sure of the reason, although the cause has been attributed to a virus that is attacking the bees and/or climate change.  The disappearance of bumblebees is of concern to farmers, who rely on them to pollinate their crops.

If you do have a bumblebee colony in your yard, your best course of action is to leave the nest alone and keep children and pests away.

  • Reduce the likelihood of bumblebees setting up home in your yard by keeping your yard clean of debris
  • Be careful about moving flat boards or stones, which could hide a bumblebee nest
  • If you feel the nest can’t remain, call Brody Brothers for assistance in getting rid of your bumble bee problem.
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“I have been with Brody Brothers for 5.5 years. Ari has been coming to my home for all this time. He does a great job. I hardly ever have an issue. He keeps us pest free which isn't easy living in the woods.”

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Owings Mills, MD

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Baltimore, MD

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