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Will our newly resident bumblebees be attracted to food?

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Joined 2014-05-19

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As a newbie to the forums,  I have found the BBCT site to have lots of useful information - thank you.

This year bumblebees have decided to nest in our loft space on the back garden side of our house. In the summer, we often have guests for picnics and barbecues and I would like to know if the bees are likely to gatecrash en masse if there are salads and sweet things around.  A few years ago, when we had a wasp nest in the roof,  they were very attracted to food which was a real nuisance.  We certainly won’t do anything to interfere with the bees - it’s fascinating to watch them coming and going.

Any advice would be much appreciated - thank you.

     
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Total Posts: 271

Joined 2012-05-24

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Dear “petuniaKent”,

Firstly, welcome to the Forum.

Secondly, you almost certainly have a colony of the Tree Bumblebee in your loft space.
Please take a look at the article I wrote about them which is tucked away in the FAQs part of the About Bees part of the BBCT website.
It should answer most of your questions.

Here is a quick link to the article:
http://bumblebeeconservation.org/images/uploads/Tree_bee_article.pdf

The colony will probably die out naturally around the end of July - so that means they will probably miss most of your BBQs etc.

Bumblebees don’t normally forage bang next door to their homes, so this would mean they might give your garden a miss anyway.
That said, there is nothing to prevent a colony a hundred metres away finding your gathering and gatecrashing it !

I keep bees and have sometimes seen passing bumblebees drop in to suck up some honey residues from the accidentally sticky lid of a box in which I put scrap honeycomb offcuts.  One bumblebee even came back again later for more.

But in general I doubt that you will have major problems.

Please come back to this thread if you need any further information - and since we are still learning about TBB behaviour, please let us know if the bees do cause you problems later in the year !

I agree that wasps can be a darned nuisance, but I don’t think there is any general folk-memory which says that any bumblebees are like that.

Yours,      Clive