I have a nest of bumblebees near the entrance to my building. I have read so...

Asked April 26, 2016, 10:41 PM EDT

I have a nest of bumblebees near the entrance to my building. I have read so many warnings about the declining honybee population due to the use of glyphosates and neonicotinoids ( sp ? ), so I am reluctant to simply exterminate them. However, there are many of them, and I am concerned about somebody getting stung if I don't do something. Do you have any suggestions how to handle them? Relocation ? I presume bumblebees perform a similar function to honeybees; is this a valid assumption?

Union County Ohio

1 Response

Bumble bees are valuable pollinators of agricultural and landscape plants. They are normally harmless when foraging however if their nest is disturbed they can be nasty. Guard bees stand ready to protect the nest against predators including humans. A worker bumble bee can sting repeatedly without sacrificing her life. The male bees cannot sting. Nests can occasionally be detected by the presence of workers flying in and out of the entrance.

Since ground-nesting bees and wasps will only sting if one attempts to restrain or handle them, controls are not recommended. Most nest in open areas or when there is thin turf with soil showing through. Attempt to get better vegetative cover in these areas or cover with mulch. In the rare instances where control is needed, there are several aerosol insecticides registered for bee and wasp control. These only work by contact with the bee since most of these products have little to no residual action.

The following links are for fact sheets that will provide additional information: http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/HYG-2143-10 and http://www.clemson.edu/extension/beekeepers/factsheets/bumble_bees_as_pollinators.html .