[NAFEX] Bumble aggression

Mark Lee markl at nytec.com
Mon Apr 21 14:45:53 EDT 2003

Re: [NAFEX] bumble bee as pollinatorI wonder if the species of bumble bee
makes a difference.  The common one in the Pacific Northwest is Bombus
occidentalis.  Only the queen and female worker bees (the future queens)
have stingers.  The male drones that show up later in the summer have no

Here are some more facts about this interesting pollinator..
(from the site http://hercules.users.netlink.co.uk/Bee.html)
"The drones once hatched leave the nest and live independent lives, their
only purpose being to mate with the young queens to ensure the survival of
the species. Unlike honey bees the young bumble queens will continue to live
and work in the mother colony for the remainder of the Summer and Autumn.
Come the first sharp drop in temperature and frosts the old queen, her
workers and the independent drones will die. Only the newly mated queens
will survive in hibernation to begin the cycle again the following Spring."
-Mark Lee, Seattle, z7b/8a

  -----Original Message-----
  From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org]On Behalf Of Bob Kelly
  Sent: Monday, April 21, 2003 11:19 AM
  To: North American Fruit Explorers
  Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Bumble aggression

  Yeah, Gene.  That is more like my experience.  When growing up in the
Mississippi Delta, I can remember accidentally disturbing  bumblebee nests.
The sting would almost knock you down. (Like a hornet, I was told, tho I was
never stung by one of those.) While the sting was very potent, the pain did
not linger, the way a yellow jacket sting would (like for several days).

  Their procedure, when disturbed, was to emerge from their hole in the
ground, and begin flying in an ever widening circle at about 3 feet above
the ground.  Supposedly their vision is poor, so this is their search
procedure.  If one realized he had disturbed the nest, he had time to

  Bob Kelly
  NW Mississippi Zone 7b

  ----- Original Message -----
    From: Gene Spears
    To: 'North American Fruit Explorers'
    Sent: Monday, April 21, 2003 1:00 PM
    Subject: [NAFEX] Bumble aggression

        In my experience, disturbing a wild bumblebee nest is a
"stimulating" event.  Sometimes, I'll accidentally scythe around a nest
entrance & get an unexpected bit of sprint training, usually after a very
painful sting or two.  Not quite as bad as yellow jackets for mass attacks,
but still pretty aggressive....

    spears at lmc.edu
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Lon J. Rombough [mailto:lonrom at hevanet.com]
      Sent: Monday, April 21, 2003 1:53 PM
      To: North American Fruit Explorers
      Subject: Re: [NAFEX] bumble bee as pollinator

      That's the most aggressive behavior I've ever heard of in bumble bees.
Are you sure you didn't have a species of underground living wasp?
      -Lon Rombough

        From: "Bruce Hansen" <brucehansen at acd.net>
        Reply-To: North American Fruit Explorers <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
        Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2003 13:49:38 -0400
        To: "North American Fruit Explorers" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
        Subject: RE: [NAFEX] bumble bee as pollinator


        I have found a similar thing with bumble bees. However, if you
disturb their
        nest they will chase you. I did this and was chased from the barn to
        house (100 yds)where, to escape, I closed the screen door behind me.
The bee
        buzzed the screen several times and then waited for me to come out.

      Bruce z5 MI


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