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bumblebee nest in hay shed

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Joined 2013-07-08

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Hi, I have a bumblebee nest under my hay shed. Entrance to nest is under the shed door.
Have left them alone as they were not a problem - nice to see and watch them around. However recently they appear to have either moved slightly or extended upwards into my shed, under the stacked hay. Still using same entrance under the door.  Had to move the last bottom bale of hay over the weekend and the few bees in the shed went beserk ! Now there’s even more bees, and they appear to be moving hay around into a pile. I know it’s best to leave a nest, but is there anything I can do? And when are they likely to move on - autumn ? I need shed for storing this years hay cut!

Attempting a photo link :

http://s1278.photobucket.com/user/jennybhorses/library/Bees

     
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Total Posts: 271

Joined 2012-05-24

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Hi Jenny,

Firstly, welcome to the Forum !

Secondly, from what I can see from your photos, yes you must have a fairly large bumblebee colony hidden in/under your hay bales.

Bumblebees can walk quite some distance from where they land to get to their nest itself.
A sign that you are close will be if the bees buzz loudly at you when you move something close to the nest.
You can also work out the final location (or close to it) by blowing at where you think the bees might be; and this will again cause them to buzz.
The nest will look like a group of brownish small acorns; and might be covered by a brownish waxy sheet.
From the outside it will look like a globular mass, probably of chewed hay, of about one to two or three litres capacity.  Not very different to a large mouse nest - which may well be what the queen be re-used.
There is also a good probability that there will be a typical BB nest odour close to the nest, and this will include some ammonia type odour (from the accumulated bee faeces).

As to how long the nest will last, it will probably die out naturally by late October, or November.

And to how to manage it: could you put a wooden box, or a bucket etc over it to protect it ?

I hope this helps.  Do come back if you need any more info !

Yours     Clive

     
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Total Posts: 2

Joined 2013-07-08

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Thank you for your reply! I have added another pic to the link above, taken this morning. Looks like they have finished the extension, if that’s what it is, and I only see the odd bee on the pile of hay now. Although you can hear lots of buzzing underneath!  Most of the bees have been fairly small, (I think workers?) but saw two much bigger ones today, entering underneath the doorway. Would these be males? Am I right in identification too - are these buff tailed bees? - ( if you are able to tell from the pics.)
I had thought about covering the nest with a bucket or something, but am just going to leave atm as it’s interesting watching them on the pile of hay, and I can mange without that area atm. Thanks for the info. J