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Old 12-06-2010, 01:45 AM   #31
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Ground-nesting hornets excavate their own den. Do bumblebees do this, or do they require an already-formed underground chamber?
They require an already formed chamber. Usually in nature this is a former rodent den. The nesting material is to encourage the bee in. Early on bumblebees like to be insulated.

Here is a video of an above ground nesting species, probably from somewhere in Europe.

In places like Germany it's illegal to exterminate, move or disturb bumblebee nests. There is a video on youtube I can't find right now. Basically cut grass that's accumulated on a side walk has collected into piles so much that there were 5 bumblebee nests just sitting there on the surface in full view for all to see. The bees are brightly colored though so it's kind of obvious to see, unless it's night time.
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Old 12-06-2010, 01:35 PM   #32
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I've never seen a bumble bee nest... I'll have to set out the old mice nests from under the tin I have saved for critter use at camp come spring once the mice move on.
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:15 PM   #33
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...Here is a video of an above ground nesting species, probably from somewhere in Europe.

....

Is that a different species than we have in America? If it is not, what is the native range of bumblebees?
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:46 PM   #34
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Is that a different species than we have in America? If it is not, what is the native range of bumblebees?
North America has something close to 45 species in it, most of them native. I don't pretend to be an expert of any of them, and I can barely tell one species from the other. I said the ones in the video were likely from Europe because they seem to be more commonly encountered out there... or at least more people from that part of the world are putting videos up of bumblebee nests.

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Old 12-06-2010, 07:50 PM   #35
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If there are approximately 45 native species here, then I'll assume what I attract to my yard are our native bees.

I saw a (new to me) species or two of bumbles this year! That thrills me.
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:17 PM   #36
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Great bumblebee videos MrILoveTheAnts.

The second video with all those bumblebees flying in and out of their little door flap was funny!!! It was like watching my dog come in through his door flap in miniature! Who knew an insect could learn how to maneuver a door flap? I sure didn't.

What do you think was in the bottle cap the bumblebees were sipping from? Water? Sugar Water?

The videos and posts here have inspired me to make bumblebee shelters to put in place early next spring. I'm so curious to see if my bumblebee shelters will be inhabited.
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:26 PM   #37
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Great bumblebee videos MrILoveTheAnts.

The second video with all those bumblebees flying in and out of their little door flap was funny!!! It was like watching my dog come in through his door flap in miniature! Who knew an insect could learn how to maneuver a door flap? I sure didn't...

Thanks, BBB-Becky, somehow I missed the second video...I'm glad you mentioned it. Cool find, MrILoveTheAnts!
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:44 PM   #38
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Found it. I think this is in Germany where it's apparently illegal to mess with bumblebees and certain types of ants. So surface nests like this are common.
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:58 PM   #39
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Do all bumble bees form nests like that or only certain kinds? I have not seen any and I've done a LOT of wandering in my life.
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Old 12-10-2010, 12:11 AM   #40
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Uhh no, I'd say most bumblebee species will build their nest underground. But the structures are all the same though. Cups of wax varying in size depending on weather they hold brood or honey.

Surface nests are more commonly found in grassy areas where a rodent may have woven something like a bird nest with the grass.

I'm told bumblebee nests are easiest to find in the late afternoon when the sun is going and insect wings will glow better when viewed at the right angle. Generally they hover in a slow decent over the nest (entrance) before landing.
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