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Bumblebees are harmless creatures. However, you might not fancy living alongside them in close quarters and that’s totally understandable. Of course, getting rid of the bees can be a task within itself and you’ll want to make sure you don’t cause them any harm. So if you’re wondering how to get rid of a bumblebee nest, you’re in the right place.
There are lots of natural ways to get rid of bumble bees such as creating a homemade trap or using vinegar. However, it’s also possible to relocate the nest if you want to make sure the bees survive.
In this guide, I’ll be talking about all of your options and giving you the pros and cons so you can choose the one that’s right for you.
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Before you start trying to get rid of a bumblebee nest, you first need to ask yourself whether it’s really necessary. I cannot stress enough the importance of bees and where they can have a safe place to nest, they really should be allowed to.
Of course, if the bees are really becoming bothersome then it’s understandable that you’ll want to remove them as soon as possible. Many of the methods that I’ll discuss later in this guide are harmless to the bees but you’ll still need to be careful.
You first need to consider that bumble bees are not an aggressive species. For the most part, they’ll exist happily and won’t bother you. They certainly aren’t the type of bees to sting without good reason and they’ll only do this if they’re provoked. What’s more, they don’t swarm like honeybees, so if one stings you, you won’t need to worry about an onslaught a few moments later.
The colonies are also not very large. While honeybees can nest in their thousands, a typical bumblebee nest might only contain up to 250 individuals. In many cases, there aren’t even 100.
It’s also worth thinking about the fact that the bumblebee nest isn’t going to be there forever. In fact, by the end of summer, it will be gone. So, if you can put up with it for a couple of months then it’s best to allow the bees to go about their business.
If you disturb the nest then you risk killing the entire colony. You see, bumble bees, rear their new queen at the end of the season. After this, she will mate and then hibernate. If this can’t happen then the whole colony will fail since it is the young of the queen that continues this the following spring.
Once you learn about the importance of leaving a bumblebee nest where it is and how it can affect its survival, it’s often a lot easier to live with it. Of course, you’ll need to stay away from the nest for your own protection as well. Bumble bees, while docile, will sting when threatened so make sure that pets and children are kept well away.
For people who are really not happy to have a bumblebee nest in their backyard, there are some natural ways that you can get rid of the bees without harming them. This is best done as soon as the nest is started as it’ll give the bees the chance to move on and nest elsewhere. There are some methods here that may end up killing the bees and while this isn’t something I’d be happy to do, I’m including them for the worst cases.
We all have vinegar in our homes and this is a very easy method to get rid of unwanted bumble bees. You just need to mix equal amounts of vinegar and water into a sprayer and direct it into the hive. It’s best to do this at night as the bees will not be active.
If possible, plant some citronella around the area as the very scent of this will deter bees and a whole host of other creepy crawlies. None of them seems to like it much.
Failing that, you can use lemon boiled in water on the stovetop. You’ll need to fill an entire pan and allow it to boil down to about a third. You can then put the solution into a sprayer and direct it at the nest and all over the surrounding areas.
Bees absolutely hate the smell of cinnamon. However, it’s completely harmless to them, so it’s a great way to get rid of them without killing them. All you need to do is sprinkle cinnamon powder on the ground around the nest. Again, make sure to do this at night when the bees aren’t active.
It may take a couple of weeks for the cinnamon to take effect but once the bees realize it’s there, they’ll soon take a hike.
Garlic powder can be used in the same way as cinnamon to get rid of bumble bees in an established nest.
There is also another way you can use this by soaking pieces of garlic in cooking oil and vinegar and combining this in a sprayer. You can then soak the nest and surrounding areas in this mixture. The problem with using garlic this way is that it will cause harm to the bees. If you’re looking for a kind method, this is not one I would recommend.
Mothballs aren’t only useful for deterring their namesakes, they’re actually also very good for sending bumble bees packing. You’ll need to hang them around the problem area in your garden and they’ll also act as a good way of preventing bees from nesting in the future.
We usually associate bees with flowers but there are some that they really don’t like. Mint is a brilliant option if you’re looking to keep bees away. You can also use basil which is a member of the mint family so will have the same effect. The more of these bee-repelling plants you can grow, the less chance there will be of future infestations.
Bumble bees build their nests in the ground but they only do this in dry soil that contains high levels of sand. If you want to deter bumble bees or get an existing nest to move on then you could just try keeping the soil wet.
Regularly water your garden, as long as it’s not to the detriment of your plants and this should be enough to keep those bees at bay. The conditions just won’t be conducive to reproduction so the bees will likely find somewhere else.
What’s more, this is a brilliant method if you don’t want to kill the bees and it doesn’t cost you anything.
Now, before I get into this method, I have to point out that this one is going to kill the bees. If like me, you’re a bee lover that doesn’t want to harm them, this is a method to steer clear of. However, in extreme circumstances when you have no other choice, it is effective.
You’ll just need to cut a soda bottle in half and use the bottom portion as your trap. Fill it with soda which will attract bees because of how sweet it is. You can then place the bottle near the nest and let it work its magic.
The bees will flock to it but the chances are that they will drown in the soda. There may be a chance that one or two will manage to get out but in the main, it’s a successful method. Again, I’d urge you only to use this when there really is no other way.
Getting rid of bumble bees from a nest will save you the hassle of having to put up with them but it means they’ll have to relocate and start again. Sometimes this will be successful and other times it’ll mean the end of the colony. So, moving a nest could be a better option so that bees can continue doing what they’re doing.
That said, you really have to keep in mind the things I talked about earlier because you won’t have to put up with the nest for long, and the bees are unlikely to bother you. Moreover, if you do move the nest, your attempts may not be successful and you’ll end up doing more harm than good.
So, before we look at the steps for relocating the nest, let me give you some alternative suggestions.
If you’re worried about the bees flying into your al fresco dining area or onto the patio then you could put up some sort of temporary barrier that will encourage them to fly in the other direction.
I’d recommend putting the barrier up at night when the bees are resting otherwise you may find them getting irritated at your presence. Once the nest has gone, you can remove the barrier and both you and the bees will be happy.
I know that sharing your outdoor space with uninvited creatures can be annoying but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do your bit. Bees are under threat which is why there are so many conservation programs to help protect them.
There are a number of bee nest surveys that you can take part in to provide information on nesting locations, bee habits and much more. If you want to do your part to help bees thrive then take the nest as an opportunity as opposed to a nuisance.
One of the main reasons that a lot of people are keen to get rid of a bumble bee nest is because they’re worried that their kids will get stung. In reality, this isn’t going to be much of an issue because, as I’ve mentioned, bumble bees are not aggressive unless they’re provoked.
As long as you can keep your children away from the nest, there should be no conflict. However, as with all animals, bees can be unpredictable but if your child does get stung, keep in mind that it probably won’t harm them. Unless they have an allergy, they’ll have a bit of redness and swelling and maybe a few tears at the (mild) pain but they’ll soon forget about it.
Insect repellent is useful when trying to protect little ones from bee stings and also explaining to your children, in a manner they can understand, the importance of bees and why we’re sharing our yard with them right now.
If you have decided that the only option is to relocate the bumble bee nest then the following steps will help you to do this in the safest way for the bees.
Before you do anything else, you’re going to need to find somewhere else for the bees to nest. A ceramic planter or a wooden box are both perfect so if you have any of these, that’s great! However, you must make sure that there is an opening for the bees to get out as well as a cover to protect the nest from the elements.
At the bottom of the container, you’ll need to place some organic materials such as grass, dried moss, leaves, and other things. Just make sure that whatever you’re using has not been treated with chemicals.
You’ll now need to find somewhere in your garden for the new nest that isn’t going to cause disruption to you and your family. Relocating the nest within the garden is the best method as the bees will be familiar with the surroundings.
However, if you cannot or do not wish to do this then you’ll need to move the nest more than two miles from the original site. If you do not do this, then the bees will become confused and will likely try to return; they’re very intelligent creatures, let me tell you!
You might ask a friend or family member if they’d be happy to have the bees in their backyard. If not, then there are local wildlife specialists that can provide you with information on the best places to relocate the nest.
Whatever location you choose, make sure that you put the nest somewhere with good shelter like among some bushes or underneath a shed. Check that there are enough flowering plants within the area for the bees to collect their pollen and nectar.
Don’t attempt to move the nest until the sun has gone down. If you don’t wait then the bees will still be active and you’re only putting yourself in the firing line.
Make sure that you wear protective clothing such as gloves and long sleeves and pants. Your clothing should also be thick enough to protect your skin should the bees sting. If you can get your hands on a beekeeping veil, all the better! It’s unlikely that bumble bees will sting but they will if they feel threatened.
You will need to use a spade to dig up the nest but be sure that you’re extremely gentle. Also, have your container ready so you can place the nest directly into it once you have excavated it.
When you are moving the nest, it is vital that you don’t tilt or tip it. Make sure it stays upright otherwise the little nectar pots inside could spill and this will affect the available food for the bees.
Now it’s time to take the bees to their new home. Place the container down gently and, as long as you’ve followed the above steps to the letter, there is a good chance that they’ll continue to thrive.
Bumble bees are among the most docile and easy to live with species of bee. However, not everyone wants to share their home with these flying creatures. While I would actively encourage you to leave a bumble bee nest where it was because it won’t be there for long, if you have to get rid of it, there are some natural methods you can use.
So, if you want to know how to get rid of a bumblebee nest, you can use one of these methods or relocate the nest carefully and safely.