I’ve got a bog standard garden with a bit of grass,decking,lots of pots and a shed. Every yr for the last 3 yrs we have had bees nesting under the shed they go in same place, I’ve noticed on this website that they say its unusual for them to set up nest in same place, why do they come back to my shed??
Congratulations on your (to me anyway) good fortune !
I am a beekeeper who has become fascinated by bumblebees too.
Beekeepers sometimes get asked to help the public with their “bee-issues” - such as the colonies under your shed.
And I’ve had to deal with colonies under a shed, in a garage, in a Coal Bunker etc.
The bees are probably attracted to the under-shed by the darkness and almost certainly to nest-material that has accumulated there.
The classic attractant is an old mouse nest, but a good collection of dead leaves will do too.
The shed is also providing relative dryness and reduced draughts - it’s dark, less cold, dry and has nest material, so what more could an expectant bumblebee want ?
Oh, and they will walk a considerable distance under the shed to get to the nest-stuff as well.
And maybe your shed is the best place for a bee to nest for a considerable distance too.
Which takes us to why three times !
Well, they are almost certainly not re-using an old nest, so what you are seeing is a nest, followed by a second (and third) nest somewhere else under the shed. It might be nearby, or else a few feet away.
And finally it is known that bees do sometimes go back to their “natal area” (where they were reared) to start their own nest.
So, you’ve been lucky .... and I am envious too, because I’ve never had bumblebees nest under my shed !
Finally, please could you tell us what species it is that is nesting under the shed .... and has it been the same species each year ?
PS. The nest I was asked to move from under a shed was of the Red Tailed bumblebee, Bombus lapidarius - which is very pretty !
Hi Clive sorry its taken me a while to replay I’ve managed to get good view of the bees going under my shed, I’m not very knowledgeable on the subject of bees so I don’t no what they are but they are quite big seem to have black heads and two orangey stripes, it’s been sunny here this week and they’ve been busy back an forward! This is all very interesting to me now since I’ve seen the plight of the bees on the news! Thank you for your information .
Hi again Kathyburgers,
It certainly sounds like you have a colony.
Congratulations & Enjoy !
I’m guessing, but it will probably be the White tailed BB (Bombus lucorum), or the Buff tailed BB (B. terrestris) - although you will be hard pressed to tell the two apart since in the workers bot types have white tails !
With luck it should last until late summer and you will find it interesting to watch their activities.
Have a look in the About Bees part of this BBCT website to learn more.
I suggest that you take yourself a chair and watch what they are doing and what colour pollen loads they bring in, and what the “air movement” activity rates is ... and you might notice that they take a siesta on hot days, but start early and finish late.
If you sit to one side a few feet away you should be perfectly safe.
Don’t breathe on them if you get close though, or they might take exception and get cross with you !
And if a bee raises it’s middle leg to wave at you, it is really a “threat posture” telling you to back-off.
Well the bees under the shed are getting less and less now but I did see something strange tonight as I was watering my plants! A bee kepted flying around me when I was watering the cactuses that are in pots, it then landed on one of the catusa plants and disappeared into the soil I noticed that it burrowed a hole into the soil, it also seemed to be enjoying rubbing its wings on the prickly bits, Has it made a home in there? How long will it stay? I’ve tryed to attachach a picture to give you a better idea but its saying its to big I don’t no how to make it smaller hahax
I’ve had bees nest in the eaves of my house for the past 13 years. I look forward to my house guests arriving every year.
Also got another small colony living in my compost heap that we discovered the other week.
Touching on what Clive said, I’ve noticed “my” bees seem to prefer coming out in the cool of the evening.
Same goes for the bees outside my work. We’ve got a lot of red clover in the grass and there’s usually a lot of bees doing their thing but the past week there hasn’t been so many during the hottest part of the day.