5 Reasons To Protect Bumble Bees And Bumble Bee Nests!

Bumble bees on helianthus flower.Bumble bees on helianthus flower.

Unfortunately, bumble bees have been declining in many countries throughout the world. 

It’s also unfortunate that there are many attempts to remove bumble bee nests and destroy them, quite unnecessarily.  This is a great shame.  Personally I think it's high time we protect bumble bee nests instead!

Beautiful bumble bee foraging on hollyhock.Beautiful bumble bee foraging on hollyhock.

Why?  Apart from the general decline, bumble bees face a number of challenges in finding suitable nest sites.  Different bumble bee species have varied needs. Habitat loss has reduced the number of suitable nest sites available to bumble bees.  Humans cannot always easily compensate by providing artificial nest sites.

I have a page about this issue here, and you will see that firstly, I try to dissuade people from destroying or attempting to relocate nests. 

The fact is:

it is rarely necessary to move or destroy a bumble bee nest: bumble bees are not aggressive, and at the end of the season, the whole colony shall die naturally anyway.

If a neighbour is attempting to force you to remove a bumble bee nest from your property, please see this link.

5 reasons why I think we should protect bumble bee nests

Quite apart from bumble bees being beautiful, enchanting creatures in their own right.....

1.  Bumble bees provide a vital pollination service, contributing to diversity and beauty in the landscape, parks, farmlands and in our gardens.

Bumble bee on dahlia flower.Bumble bee on dahlia flower.

2. The decline of bumble bees is a concern, and they are threatened by a wide range of issues, such as habitat loss, pesticides, and diseases.

3.  Given the very temporary nature of bumble bee nests, there is seldom a valid reason for their removal, and successfully relocating bumble bee nests cannot easily be guaranteed: bumble bee queens are ‘fussy’ and different species of bees will require different flora and nesting conditions. 

4. Even when nest sites are naturally selected, failure rate of colonies can be as high as 72% (1). 

5. The colony will only last a season, so the nest will no longer be active by the end of summer.

Do you agree that it would be a good idea to protect bumble bee nests?

Bumble bee on sea holly.Bumble bee on sea holly.

Do you think it would be better if bumble bee nests were legally protected so that they can only be removed if absolutely necessary? 

If you agree, perhaps you could copy and paste the above information and email it to your local council and/or political representative? 

Anyway.....it's just a thought!  The more people who make a noise about this issue, the better!

bumblebee nests

What else can we do to help bumble bees?

We can encourage others to develop a positive attitude toward bees, and to be less fearful of nests.  This can be done via social media, and with your contacts as and when appropriate. The aim is to encourage people to protect bumble bee nests rather than destroy them.


(1)   Goulson: Bumblebee Behaviour And Ecology, p6: citing a study in Southern England by Cumber: of 80 nests, only 23 produced new queens (essential to ensure future generations of bumblebees).  This equates to approximately 72% ‘failure’ rate.

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