The Fall & Rise of Bumble Bees in the UK
During the late 90’s and early 2000’s Bumble Bees were in decline. In the past three years pest control companies have been dealing with an increasing (this year was a record for Bumble Bees at PEST UK) number of Bumble Bee enquiries. I believe that this is due to the White Tailed Bumble Bee filling the space following the decline of other Bumble Bees. This Bumble Bee nests in buildings, especially lofts, which brings them into contact with humans. ‘Normal’ Bumble bees would rarely nest in buildings but use holes in the ground, under sheds or in walls. A few years ago at PEST UK we may see one or two nests in a house but this year there have been hundreds. If the increase continues the amount of Bumble Bee nests in houses will match or outstrip the number od wasp nests. These Bumble Bees do develop earlier than wasps, in fact yesterday Rick Null took a picture of two Bumble Bees mating. This signifies the start of the end of the Bumble Bee Nests. These Bumble Bees mating are Queens and Drones that the nests have produced. The nests will not now produce any more Bumble Bees. The original Queen, Drones and workers (the workers are sterile females) will die of old age, the newly mated Queens will survive, hibernate and then start a new nest in the Spring of the following year.
There is nothing reported about the rise of the Bumble Bee. You always hear about bees dying out but never a ‘good news’ story such as this that reports an increase in Bumble bees. We have also noticed an increase in Honey Bees. This may be to do with the fact that many more people are keeping bees.