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Different species co-existing


Total Posts: 13

Joined 2013-06-12


There is a wild honeybee nest in a tree just past the end of my beewalk route which has been active since mid-March.  Last time I walked it, a bumble queen (presumably a tree bee but could only see the white tail from below) was flying round the trunk, presumably nest prospecting. When she came round the bole in sight of the nest entrance she stopped, maintained her position for a quarter of a minute without going any closer, then when she had sized up the situation she left the tree. The honey bees appeared not to react to her presence, though I guess they might have attacked if she had gone closer.

I don’t know if there is any information yet available about how this species is getting on with our native bees?


Total Posts: 321

Joined 2012-05-24


Dear “ewinder”,

Welcome to the Forum and Thanks for your interesting observation.

I know that Tree Bumblebees have sometimes nested inside empty honey bee hives.
Also that it is common for bumblebee queens to try to nip into a beehive to get some free honey.  (They will usually get balled by the honey bee guards and make a hasty retreat.)

As far as we know the Tree bumblebee is not causing any great problems with our other species.  The most likely one to have problems would be the Early Bumblebee, Bombus pratorum: but this seems to have a somewhat shorter colony cycle and also to use different nest locations.

Do come back to us with any further insights !

Yours,        Clive