Bumble Bees

Bombus spp.

Bumble Bee

Bumble bees (Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org)

Bumble bee

Bumble bee (David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org)


Bumble bee nest (Panoramedia, Wikimedia Commons)


  • 1/4 - 1 inch long; stout
  • fuzzy/hairy in appearance
  • black and yellow, some with white and orange markings

Nesting Habits

  • social
  • colony dies off every fall; fertilized queens overwinter, usually underground
  • nest in old rodent burrows, holes, grass clumps, etc.
  • queens start new every spring; colonies grow throughout the summer months


  • nectar, honey, pollen


  • nests pose a minimal health risk to humans
  • can sting multiple times; sting is painful
  • bumble bees are important pollinators

IPM Recommendations

  • Monitor for bumble bee nests early summer - fall.
  • Purchase and use a bee veil, suit and gloves.
  • Minimize nesting habitat around property by caving in old rodent burrows and sealing exterior cracks and crevices, holes in trees, wall voids, removal of grass clumps, etc.
  • Never plug entrance holes to nests (if in a structural void)!
  • Apply a non-repellent insecticidal dust in and 6 inches around entrance hole(s) at night.
  • Because of honey pots in the nest, nests should be removed and voids filled or sealed to prevent reinfestation or the presence of other pests.

Additional Resources

IPM for Stinging Bees and Wasps: Integrated Pest Management in Sensitive Environments (University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension)