BUMBLEBEES ARE USUALLY BENEFICIAL
Bumblebees are the most popular picture young children will draw when asked to create a picture of a bee. Although everyone likes honey bees, bumblebees are more recognized and accepted. They are very pretty, their strength is legendary and the sight of them foraging for pollen on flowers is synonymous with spring and summer.(So popular are they that we actually sell BUMBLE BEE HOUSES so people are able to attract them to gardens and other landscapes needing pollinators.) Their black and yellow bodies are similar to a carpenter bee, but they live very different lives.
Bumble Bee House: http://www.bugspraycart.com/yard/houses/bumble-bee-house-6-x-6-x-13
BUMBLE BEE BIOLOGY
Large yellow and black bees usually flying in and around flowers, bumblebees are wonders of nature. How they are able to fly has always been a mystery to engineers that have long maintained the design and structure of bumblebees is such that they are defying the laws of physics every time they take to the air. Bumblebees are heavy to begin with and sometimes loaded with pollen to such a degree that flying can be difficult. Bumblebees are one of many flying insects that contribute to the pollination of plants and flowers throughout the world. However, their stingers and aggressive behavior when man messes with their nests have given them a bad name.
Bumblebee nests start in the spring. A fertile female or queen will emerge from a long winter to seek an adequate nest sight. She has been ready for this moment since the following year. Now she awakens, flies off to find the new sight and promptly starts to lay eggs. If she chooses the right sight, her eggs will prosper. Within two months, the nest will be an active population of over a hundred bees. All members contribute to the nest. Some seek food, some tend to the offspring and others will guard and fix the nest. Bumblebees are yellow and black. They may be 1/2 inch to 3/4′s of an inch long. Their body appears to be hairy when observed closely. Carpenter bees differ in that their abdomen is metallic looking; shiny and smooth.
BUMBLE BEE PROBLEMS
Bumblebees can sting. Their stinger delivers potent poison which is sure to irritate most people and may cause severe allergic reactions including swelling, cramping, respiratory congestion, nausea and temporary blindness. In general, it is best to watch but not to irritate them as they go about their business. Be sure to let them forage as they want. Bumblebees don’t want to fight; they are merely gathering food and going about their day to day responsibilities when you see them. Avoiding direct contact is usually easy, but sometimes conflict is inevitable. People and bumblebees will come to conflict when nests are in close proximity to where we like to picnic, work or play. When nests are located around active people, someone is sure to get stung.
As mentioned above, working bumblebees will be indifferent to you. They have a job to do and don’t have the time to waste chasing every person or animal that gets close. However, that same bee will be completely different if you come too close to it’s nest. Bumblebees like to nest under flat objects. They like to feel something on top and underneath them as they nest. This leads them to find nests under boxes, under low profile decks, under rocks, under wood chips or pine straw, between wood logs of a wood pile or landscape timbers, under a patio slab, under a tarp or just about any man made or natural object which is lying on the ground that they are able to crawl under.
BUMBLE BEE NESTS
The most common way people find a nest is when they are finally cleaning something out of their yard which should have been cleaned out years ago and when they move it, they uncover an angry bumblebee nest! Although nests are abandoned every year, it is common for a new nest to start close if not in the same location as a nest the preceding year. Bumblebees are opportunistic. If you give them the chance to have a great nest sight, they will take it. Be sure to remove as many likely nest locations that you have. This will help to keep bumblebees from nesting in your yard. But if you already have a nest, you will have to do some pest control in order to get your property back from these territorial bees.
Once a nest is active and established, be sure to keep children and pets away. Bumblebees may die after stinging, but they are not afraid of this consequence. And although passive when away foraging for food, bumblebees are a different bee when you get too close and invade their “nest” space. If you do it by accident, they don’t care. Hopefully you will realize what has happened before you get stung. In general, get away as fast as possible and wait until dark to treat the nest.
BUMBLE BEE TREATMENTS
There are two ways to treat a bumblebee nest. If the nest is under a slab, a big rock or a flat piece of wood such as the floor of a deck or shed, dusting is the preferred method. This is because you are not able to use a liquid to treat over the top and have it soak in since the top is covered with a solid object. Dust is perfect for this job. DELTAMETHRIN DUST is light, floats like smoke and will penetrate back to the heart of the nest.
Apply it with a HAND DUSTER through the entrance hole. There should be more than one hole which is active and you can usually find them during the day by simply watching the nest for an hour or two before you treat. Once the sun has set and all the bees are back in the nest, load the duster with Deltamethrin Dust and treat. In most cases, they won’t know what hit them.
The Deltamethrin Dust will float back to where they are resting. It will kill all of them quickly and quietly. Most will die before they can emerge. Some will emerge, but will be covered in dust and too distracted or weak to present a hazard.
BUMBLE BEE FREEZE
However, if the nest is large or if you notice they are active into the evening, it would be a good idea to equip yourself with some BEE FREEZE. This is a quick acting aerosol type product that will drop them immediately when sprayed. It’s really designed for when you need a strong spray that will kill on contact.
Bee Hornet Freeze: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/aerosol/hornet-killer-15-oz
Most importantly, it doesn’t do well when sprayed into spaces or voids where bumblebee nests are hiding. For this, you will need the Deltamethrin Dust and be sure to pump at least two duster fulls when treating. This assures you have enough applied to provide residual for the eggs which will be hatching for some time following your treatment. By stopping the eggs, you will be preventing a recovery of the nest. It is suggested that you monitor the sight for at least four days to insure there is no activity before you conclude the nest is dead. If no activity is seen after seven days, it has been treated successfully. You will now be able to go about your gardening, playing or working without a hazard in close proximity.
BUMBLE BEE SPRAY
The other way to treat bumblebee nests is when the nest is under some type of loose material like pine straw, wood chips or compost pile. This type of nest can be difficult to treat because it is hard to tell just where the entrance holes are located. Dusting will not work since you are not sure if there is even a void for the dust to penetrate. The best way to treat such nests is with liquid. It will take a lot to penetrate deep enough, but in a week or two, the nest will be dead. The best material to use for this treatment is ESFENVALERATE. Apply it with a HOSE END SPRAYER and saturate a gallon of material for every 25 sq/ft you think may have a nest.
Hose End Sprayer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/equipment/sprayers/gilmour-20g-390
You can use one of our other SPRAYERS as well. Since you want the material to penetrate the soil, you will need to add SPREADER STICKER to the hose end sprayer. This additive will enhance the performance of the Esfenvalerate so that it will sink down to the bumblebee nest quickly. Add one ounce of Spreader Sticker for every ounce of Esfenvalerate used. Like the dusting, it is best to treat at night.
Pump Spreayer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/good/pump-sprayers
Spreader Sticker: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/additive/spreader-sticker
Simply hook the sprayer up to your garden hose, add the Esfenvalerate and the Spreader Sticker along with some water and spray until all the material is gone. Esfenvalerate is fast acting. You will be killing the bees immediately. Others will be dying during the next few days.
BUMBLE BEE GRANULES
Now if the nest is more than a few inches down in the ground, it may take several days before the nest is completely dead. In some cases, the nest may be so deep that second or third treatments may be needed. To prevent this from happening, apply some COMPLETE LAWN GRANULES over the area prior to spraying. These are slow releasing and will provide much longer protection than the Esfenvalerate by itself. Since you may not know exactly where the nest is located, the most conservative approach is to apply about 5 lbs of granules over an area which is 10 feet by 10 feet.
Use a GRANULE SPREADER to get the material spread evenly. Again, do this work in the evening or just after dark when all the bees will be in their nest. Once applied you can go ahead and spray the Esfenvalerate. This one-two punch will assuredly get to the nest. The granules need water to be activated and the water from the spraying will serve that purpose. This method of treatment is ideal when you are in a rainy or wet period and Esfenvalerate treatments may not work long enough due to the excessive water. It’s also a sure fire way to get any nest with your first attempt since the granules will be working long after the Esfenvalerate is gone.
Bumblebees are attractive and one of the many wonders of nature. However, their nests can make our yards a scary place for children and adults alike. Use Deltamethrin Dust to treat nests which are under solid flat objects. Esfenvalerate can be applied with a hose end sprayer to thick mulch and ground cover where nests may be but hard to find. Either method will take care of both adults and eggs. Once the nest is killed, you will be able to go about your business without the fear of being stung.
Give us a call if you need further help. Our toll free is 1-800-877-7290 and we’re open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM. On Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time).
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