Bumblebees occasionally nest close to humans, which may cause alarm. If you find a bumblebee nest, consider yourself very lucky! They aren’t very common, and can be difficult to find.
Bumblebees thankfully are not at all aggressive and only rarely sting when handled roughly. They might get aggravated if you interfere with the nest itself, but not if you’re just passing by. They don’t swarm and certainly don’t ‘attack’ like wasps or honey bees. They should just get on with life and do their own thing - doing a wonderful job of pollinating plants, wildflowers and your vegetables. Even the very largest nests produce very little “traffic” in and out, so you won’t see threatening numbers of bees at any point during the summer.
We recommend that if you find a bumblebee nest, it is best to leave it alone and avoid disturbing it. If you do approach close to it, be sure not to breathe on the nest as, as this can make the bees behave defensively, and they may sting. Bumblebee nests don’t live for long, so the nest should die naturally within a few months. After that time, the new queens will have flown from the nest to hibernate in the soil elsewhere. It is possible (although not particularly likely) that a different bumblebee queen will find and use the same hole next year.
We have a section on our website devoted to bumblebee nests and how to deal with them. You can find that by clicking this link: http://bumblebeeconservation.org/about-bees/faqs/bumblebee-nests/
You can use this section of the forum to discuss any nests you have found, and get advice on how to move them if you need to.
We have discovered a bumblebee nest over the doorway of our shed. It is hidden behind hardboard sheets so can’t see the nest itself but you sure can hear them when entering. Have seen a few large Bumble Bee’s (maybe the same one, am guessing maybe the queen if the nest’s young) going into a round knot hole about 20mm across and about a foot from where we can hear the buzzing. We don’t really use the shed so shouldn’t be necessary to move them. It has increased our interest in bees though. Have joined a local beekeeping course.
Have joined your web site today. Yesterday discovered a Bumblebee entering the soil nearby where I was digging, stayed a while to observe and saw two more entering the same hole. This part of the garden has not been used for a year or two, I had plans to dig it over but after reading your information will mark it with a couple of pots and leave it for a few months. Great to have all this information of the Bumblebee, will refer my young grandchildren to your site, the buzzing of the bee frightens them. I recall plucking one from a plant when I was 7 yrs old, of course in defence it stung my thumb-very painful experience. As an Evacuee to the country we collected caterpillars, ladybirds, slug and snails, in my ignorance thought a Bumblebee would be nice to play with!!!!