Attribution: Alvesgaspar, [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Ranges up to 1 inch in length.
Usually black with yellow stripes on the thorax and abdomen.
As social insects, bumblebees live in colonies. Each spring a queen that has survived overwintering will find a suitable nesting site and establish her colony. Her first brood of eggs mature into workers that forage on pollen and nectar for food. The workers do produce honey, but it is not edible to humans. The colony grows larger over the summer and is usually discovered by a homeowner while gardening or mowing the lawn. The bees will attack to defend their nest, so they are considered a health concern. During the fall, the colony produces a number of queens that fly out to find protected sites to spend the winter and thus repeat the cycle next year.
Bumblebees live in colonies, in old rodent burrows, or other cavities within the ground. Occasionally, bumblebees will establish a nest above ground in a wall, firewood pile, shed, crawl space or attic.
- To prevent bees from establishing nests on a property, fill in all animal burrows and holes in the soil.
- Seal holes in the building's exterior and ensure that all vents have tight-fitting screens.
- When a nest is discovered in or around a home, a professional should be contacted to treat the nest.