giant bumblebee

crowspice(z4B IL)August 7, 2007

I have an extensive flower garden as I grow crops of cut flowers. In the last two weeks I have been "visited" by a giant bumblebee, who repeatedly comes out of nowhere and is suddenly just a foot or two from my face. He/she has not moved in for an attack, but appears menacing just the same! I try to remain calm and stand quietly or move slowly to a new place. Normally, in my line of work, I am around bees all the time and we co-exist quite peacefully and respectfully. But this very large bee does not give me the impression of one to be taken lightly! I have "weapons" at hand (since this happens each and every time I am cutting) but would prefer to make peace not war!

Any suggestions about just what this bee may have on its mind and how I should behave toward its sudden arrivals and buzzing about my head? What ARE these giant bumblebees which seem to be new to our area? And yes, it IS a bee.

Also we seem to have an underground bee colony in another area - right near a gateway and water hydrant that are quite necessary for me to access. I know where the nest is located and give it wide berth. It is in a line of rugosa roses which are currently being attacked by Japanese beetles. In my efforts to knock the beetles into soapy water (and being VERY careful not to disturb the bees) I have been chased down and stung TWICE by bees which I did not provoke. Why this aggression? These bees, unlike the huge one above are normal-sized bumblebees.

Insights into bee behavior and what I should do?

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castlemaster(Cary, NC 7b)
    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 6:17PM
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crowspice(z4B IL)


Very interesting! This could possibly be a drone carpenter bee! I will look for the white face (and black rear) next time he confronts me in the garden. I can pretty much count on him to zoom up close and personal whenever I am out there cutting flowers. Will let you know what I discover. Thanks for posting a useful reply.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 10:53PM
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Generally these bees are very curious and hover almost still right in front of you. I see alot of them, as a painter. Yes they are huge. since I read the article from the above link, I am no longer afraid of being stung!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2007 at 9:46AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

I love bumbles, they are harmless, itÂs normal that they check you out by flying around you ones or twice.
If you have a bee nest in the ground and sting you, they are not bumbles.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2007 at 12:40PM
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i have just been watching a giant bumble bee in my garden (in scotland) i have never seen anything like it! it was quite happily eating of my budlia, it had an enormous tounge, not a white face though, and it was about 5 times the size of a normal bumble!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 8:31AM
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Not sure about the bee in Scotland, but the enormous bees on the east coast of the US are most likely Giant Resin Bees.

They are originally from Asia, and first appeared in the Carolinas a few years ago. No one knows how they got here.

They are easily twice the size of bumble bees/carpenter bees. They may look menacing, but they are NOT aggressive. They nest in abandoned carpenter bee holes (they are incapable of damaging wood themselves) and in my yard seem to prefer Agastache & Nepeta.

They have become one of my favorite bees, simply because they are so large, it's easy to observe their behavior.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 10:18AM
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I live in Colorado in a mountain town, and I have been seeing these giant bees for several years now. They really are huge, but otherwise look like bumbles. No white face or black backsides. They just look exactly like bumbles. I am a bit concerned about them this year as they keep ending up on my screen porch. Day after day I gently remove them and place them on plants outside but as soon as I open the porch door they fly back in. I have plenty of plantings that are designed to attract bees outside as well as water and plenty of shady spots. Does anyone know why they keep coming in? Thanks for all the great postings-they really helped.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 1:08AM
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Greetings from Toronto Canada, thanks for the above postings... A couple of days ago, I had my ist encounter with a GIANT bee...would have love to have taken a picture as it was bigger than my 2 thumbs put together... Had thought that I had gotten way too much sun... I was HUGE, almost the size of a mouse... Was fusy trying to keep my 3 dogs away from it. Hope it visits again sso I can take a pic!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 2:48PM
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When I first moved to Spokane we would always see this HUGE bumble Bee, it was as big as a mouse, we thought it was a large humming bird but didn't know anything about it. It didnt come back the following year. Now I have giant bumble bees in my yard and they are so neat and slow i want to encourage them to stay in my yard. But i don't know anything about them and i cant find any pic that looks like them. I have planted allot of flowers this year and hope they stick around but i have so many different bees im worried they might chase them off...does this happen?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 4:36PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Looks like you did a excellent job attracting bees,...good for you!

Most likely they will get along with each other, sometimes it can be a bit of a shovel going on but then they just move away to another flower.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 9:08PM
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