Bumblebee nest that needs to be moved

Asked September 14, 2020, 4:50 PM EDT

I have an intermittently-used exterior/screen door combo, and in the fall I put down a bunched-up towel between the doors to prevent drafts. This spring when I opened the screen door I realized that bumblebees had created a nest in the bunched-up towel. I replaced the towel and nest between the doors as similar as possible to how I'd found it and directed all the bees back to it after reading that a bumblebee nest cannot be successfully relocated. The bees and the nest survived. Now that it's the end of the season, I'd like to take the towel and the nest out of there, but I don't want to kill the bees. They are 100% FOR SURE bumblebees. They are not wasps or other bee relatives. Do you have any suggestions? Do they overwinter in their nest? Can they be relocated now? Should I wait until spring? Please advise, and thank you!

Washington County Minnesota

1 Response

Bumble bees in the Midwest have annual nests. In late summer, new reproductive males and females (drones and queens) are produced. After mating, fertilized females move to hibernation sites underground to lie dormant through the winter. The males and workers still in your colony will die with the first hard freeze. In spring, the new bumble bee queen selects a nest site and starts a new colony.