Bees nesting in wall of house

Asked April 20, 2020, 12:23 PM EDT

Hi! A bee colony has entered a hole in the siding of our house within the last 72 hours. Upon closer inspection, I'm certain they are not honeybees, but bumble bees (I think probably black tailed, Bombus melanopygus—in any case, one of the species with a bright red banded abdomen). Am I right in thinking bumble bees are unlikely to do damage to the wall of the house (the way honeybees might), and will eventually move on to another nesting site? Our landlord is wondering whether to call an exterminator and I'm hoping to advise him to just wait it out instead. They are in the wall next to my bed, but don't make any noise at night, so it isn't really a bother. Thanks for any advice you can offer! I live in Corvallis, by the way. – Olivia

Linn County Oregon

2 Responses

Hi Oliva,

It is likely the black tailed bumble bee, and we could confirm this if you send in an image. We have around 25 species of bumble bees in the state. Most nest underground, but the black tailed bumble bee is one of the most common bumble bees to nest above ground. The nests are rather small, around the size of a jumbo grapefruit, and this species finishes the nest faster than most species, typically in early summer (July or early August). They can cause minimal damage, but to the building structure (i.e., they don't bore into wood etc). If possible, I would recommend waiting until the nest collapses in the summer and then use caulking to plug the hole.

Great! Thanks so much for your reply!