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Raising Bumble Bees for the Home Gardner

Posted by kevin-m 6 (Western NY) ( on
Fri, Feb 28, 14 at 3:06

Hello Garden Web Friends,

For the past few years, I have had much success raising Mason Bees here in Western New York. The mason bees are mostly for the pollination of my 2-in-1 cherry tree and my 14-in-1 apple tree. I also very much enjoy raising them as a hobby to spread to other local gardeners.

This year, I would also like to try my hand at raising Bumble Bees - in particular, the Common Eastern Bumble Bee "Bombus impatiens"

What I have obtained so far for my project is

*A Bumble Bee House with an observation window (Humble Bumble Home)

*Organic Honeybee pollen (pre ground into a fine powder).

*Cotton dental rolls to use as nectar wicks with a nectar cup.

I basically plan on capturing a queen in early spring. The queen would then be placed into the bee house with the opening corked off. The house would be kept inside my home for the time being. I would place the nectar solution (50/50 sugar & water) and pollen balls (made from pollen and nectar into a paste).

Once the first brood of worker offspring is established, the Bumble Bee house would then be placed outside. Below is a video of the process that I came across.
(The narrators voice is a bit much - sorry)

Has anyone had any experience creating a Bumble Bee colony from captive queens? Any problems, or suggestions with the method as outlined above?

Any input would be greatly appreciated!



Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Raising Bumble Bees for the Home Gardner

I just don't like taking a queen prisoner, this new queen might have already started a new family somewhere else.

My advise is to put up little boxes with insulation,..I've had some nesting in it.

This nest was in a birdhouse
Aug. 21, 2011 photo IMG_9158.jpg

Here I've build a small bumble house
 photo IMG_2729_1_1.jpg

RE: Raising Bumble Bees for the Home Gardner

Yes, you can supply the housing then allow the bees to do the rest by themselves under natural conditions.

Lots of info at Xerces:

Here is a link that might be useful: conserving bumble bees

RE: Raising Bumble Bees for the Home Gardner

Were you ever able to start your bumblebee colony?

RE: Raising Bumble Bees for the Home Gardner

I attempted but it looks like I prematurely took the cork out of the imprisoned bee house entrance hole. I thought the queen had established herself but she flew away. I will try again in the spring.

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