Bumblebees in SE Louisiana and Mississippi
Bumblebees are social bees that live in colonies with a single queen. Their colonies are much smaller than honey bee colonies–some colonies only have 50 individuals in them! Nationwide, there are 250 species and subspecies of the bumblebee. They have short stubby wings and are beneficial as pollinators for many kinds of crops and ornamentals. According to the National Wildlife Federation, their wings beat at least 130 times per second. The beating helps vibrate flowers until they release pollen, which is called buzz pollination. Buzz pollination helps plants produce more fruit. These bees feed on nectar and feed pollen to their young.
Bumblebee colonies are small, containing anywhere from 50 to a few hundred workers. Most bumblebees nest in the ground, using deserted rodent burrows and shallow cavities excavated beneath patio stones, landscaping timber, piles of compost, and within dense patches of grass. Above ground, they will occupy abandoned bird nests and fiberglass-insulated structural voids associated with outside walls, patio roofing, and decks.
Bumblebee Habits & Dangers
For the most part, bumblebees are very peaceful and will only sting when they feel threatened. Most stings happen when their nest is disturbed. Only female bumblebees sting and unlike honey bees, they can sting more than once. Bumblebees can sting multiple times, but they do not form swarms like honey bees. The pain from a bumblebee sting is less painful than a honey bee sting, however, a sting can be dangerous if it occurs on the head or neck, or if an individual is allergic to their venom.
Bumblebees rarely nest in structures and build their nests near or at ground level. Because bumblebees will sting when threatened, homeowners are advised to seek out a bee pest control service for help with stinging insects.