Bumblebee Hives

Bumblebee Hive or Nest

Overwintering, fertile female queens build bumblebee nests in the early spring. The hive, or nest, is normally constructed in dry, protected and hidden cavities either below ground, on or near the ground level. Places such as abandoned rodent tunnels, structure voids, under piles of wood on the ground, under piles of dead leaves and compost piles or even abandoned birds' nests are likely sites for the bumblebee nest.

After choosing the nest site, the queen begins nest construction by using dry grass or other plant material to form an insulation layer for her nest. She then constructs a wax cell in which she lays her first egg batch and uses her fuzzy body to incubate the eggs until they hatch. After the eggs hatch, bumblebee grubs, or larvae, will feed on pollen and nectar the queen has collected and deposited in small wax containers in the nest. As the larvae mature into adults, worker bee adults will then assist in collecting food, nest building and caring for the immature bumblebees. Bumblebee nests appear much less neat and more disorganized than honeybee nests. Bumblebee nests are used only once each year and then abandoned.