How Long Do Bumblebees Nest For? Factors that Affect Bumblebee Nests

If you have bumblebees currently buzzing around your yard, is it a good idea to just wait for them to clear out? But how long do bumblebees nest for? And how long do you have to wait? Here are some factors that you have to know before you wait for the bumblebee nest to naturally die out.

How Long Do Bumblebees Nest For? Factors that Affect Bumblebee Nests

Unlike honey bee hives, bumblebee nests don't live that long.

Inside the Bumblebee’s Nest

If you take the honey bees’ diligent nesting habits and combine them with the hornets’ short colony lifespan, you’ll get bumblebees.

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Typically, if bumblebees live in a temperate region, their nest don’t last an entire year. That’s because what’s most important to them is the continuation of their kind, not the survival of the entire nest. And that’s through a single carrier, the bumblebee queen.

A bumblebee nest starts its life even before it’s built. It begins with a young new queen waking up from her winter-long hibernation. She thaws in spring, and proceeds to find the best place to build her new nest.

From there, she lays her first eggs, the first workers of the colony. After a few days, they mature into adult bees and begin working to develop the nest, foraging and building more wax chambers to house the larvae, pupae and honey.

Months later, the queen signals the nest’s nearing death by laying male drones and new queens. She stops laying other eggs after that. As these fertile bees reach adulthood, they mate. The young queens then leave the nest to sleep somewhere in the ground, bracing themselves for a long hibernation during winter. After they leave, the workers of the nest, along with the queen and the male drones, slowly die off.

Factors that Affect the Bumblebee’s Nesting Time

So the bumblebee’s colony lifespan is like that of a hornet’s. However, there are certain factors that can influence their success in nesting. If the bees are lucky, these may even lengthen their nesting time to a couple of years.

Species

If you’re planning on waiting for a nest to die out, you have to know what kind of bumblebee you’re dealing with. That’s because, ultimately, it’s the bee’s species that will dictate how long its nest is going to last.

According to Bumblebee Conservation, most bumblebee species are only active for 2 to 3 months. So their nests usually take up a timespan of one season, be it spring, summer or in the middle of both.

However, species like the Bombus pratorum are different. This bee in particular is known for having an extremely short nest lifespan. Its colony only lasts for about a month. And if it faces good conditions, its nest will thrive for 2 months.

In contrast, the Bombus terrestris, the bee with the white tail, can build a stronghold that starts during spring and persists until fall.

Region or Climate

As we mentioned earlier, bumblebee colonies that live in temperate regions must die out before winter comes, leaving them with a lifespan of only a few months. But for bees that stay in warmer and tropical places, the buzzing and the foraging can last all year round. The Bombus rufipes from Java, for example, is active throughout the year.

Environmental Factors

Lastly, environmental predicaments that include diseases, abnormal weather, predators and of course, human interference all play a vital role on a colony’s lifespan. Obviously, no bumblebee nest is going to survive a massive drought.

So with all these factors, you can now answer the question, “ How long do bumblebees nest for? ” and decide if you truly want to wait for them to naturally die off. But if you don’t want to anymore, there is still the option of applying effective methods to get rid of them. That will cut your waiting time into a few days.

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  • September 11, 2017
  • Bees