May 29, 2010

My two daughters (mainly my oldest) are going to try and attempt keeping bumble bees this year.  

Bumble bees are endangered the same way honeybees are. Their numbers are dwindling and the cause is unknown although the suspected cause is pesticide use. Without bumblebees there will be inadequate pollination of certain plants. 

Although bumblebees are kept commercially to pollinate crops my children are going to do it for the same reason I keep the honeybees, for the love of nature!

Unfortunately there is just a 20-50% success rate getting a captured bumblebee to lay eggs, so from the start it is a challenge. Bumblebees are also a bit picky about the climate, preferring 50% humidity and temps above 70 degrees F. The girls sure have their work cut out for them but hopefully in the process they will learn a lot about this very beneficial insect and we certainly aren't in short supply around here. The bumblebees love my roses.
Under the Willow said...

I have never heard of keeping bumble bees- again so interesting! My kids think if a bumble bee has a "white" dot on it's back- it will not sting.

I do like bumble bees- I do like honey bees (now)- I don't care for yellow jackets, and hornets... :)

TeresaR said...

That reminds me that I've not seen bumblebees for a while now. Uh oh. I'll ask the kids if they have.

Ditto what Carrie said: no thanks to the hornets, wasps, and esp yellow jackets!!

Jim said...

I think that sounds great. I know if my "kids" were still young enough and around, they would certainly enjoy helping with the bees. I think there is a lot they will learn also. I'm amazed at the bumblebees we have around here and the number of things they pollinate. I seem to find them on more plants than I find the honeybees. I wish them luck.

Michelle said...


My kids have been very fortunate with the bumble bees. They are able to get up close and watch them pollinate while sometimes touching them as well without issue. Middy was stung by one when she was little because she was jumping up and down in the yard and their home happened to be underfoot, otherwise they just don't mind people so much.

T, do you have roses? I don't know if it just a fluke but here they always go to my fragrant roses. I don't see them on any of my other flowres but the roses they absolutely love.

Jim, I haven't seen my honeybees on anything in my yard yet :( I watch them leave the hive and go straight up over the house. My neighbors say they've seen them on their flowers which is nice. Like you, our bumble bees are much more active here at home. I go out to the rose bush on the side of the house, which is about 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide now, and it is covered in bumble bees. I keep hoping our honeybees will discover that bush. Do honeybees like roses?

Anne-Marie said...

I can't wait to read how this project goes. It is very exciting that you and your daughters are taking a stand to help with the bee population dwindling. And, yes, they will love your roses. =)