Bumblebee

Actual Size: ¾” to  1”

Characteristics: Hairy body, black usually with yellow or white bands.

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Will nest in the ground but also in soffits or attics. They can be seen around patio areas or decks.

Habits:

  • Important pollinators that do not produce much honey.
  • Unlike honey bees, bumblebees do not die after they sting.
  • Resemble Carpenter bees, but their abdomens are covered with hair, while Carpenter bees abdomens are relatively smooth.

Bumblebees in Knoxville TN

There are more than 255 species of bumblebees worldwide. Bumblebees are large and robust insects covered with densely branched setae (hairs). They have short stubby wings and are beneficial as pollinators for many kinds of crops and ornamentals. Their wings beat 130 times or more per second according to the National Wildlife Federation. The beating combined with their large bodies vibrates flowers until they release pollen, which is called buzz pollination. This helps plants produce more fruit. The only bumblebees to survive winter are the queens. They hibernate in the soil in a location that will not warm up too quickly or too early in the spring (to avoid a potentially lethal early emergence). After emerging from an overwintering site, a lone queen seeks out a suitable site to begin a new colony.

Bumblebee Nests

Bumblebees live in nests both underground and above ground. Most bumblebees construct nests made of mud or clay in dry, dark underground tunnels made by other animals, such as old rodent burrows. Some bumblebees nest above ground in rock or tree crevices, around patio areas or decks, under porches, or in the eaves of roofs. They will build in any dry, protected area they find. Colonies are typically 50 to 400 bees with one dominant queen bee, making their nests much smaller than most stinging insects. Bumblebees are able to work in cooler weather.

Bumblebee Habits & Dangers

Since their stinger is smooth, bumblebee workers and the queens can sting more than once. Male bumblebees, on the other hand, cannot sting at all since they do not have a stinger. As part of the aggressive defense of their nests, bumble bees will chase invaders for a considerable distance. The bumblebee sting is considered to be one of the most painful.

If you have an abundance of bumblebees near your property, it’s important to contact your local bee control team for assistance.