Bumblebee

Actual Size: ¾” –  1”

Characteristics: Hairy body, black usually with yellow or white bands

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: These bees in the ground but also in soffits or attics. They can be seen around patio areas or decks.

Habits:

  • Unlike honey bees, bumblebees do not die after they sting
  • They tend to stick close to flowers and their nests
  • Bumblebees are extremely docile and will not attack unless threatened

Bumblebees in Central Florida

Bumblebees are large, slow fliers with fuzzy yellow bodies. They tend to stick close to flowers and their nests, which can be found in protected areas like under old sheds, underneath patio blocks, or under dense shrubbery. They are extremely docile and will not attack unless threatened. Bumblebees are sometimes mistaken for carpenter bees because of their similar size and coloring. They have short stubby wings and are beneficial as pollinators for many kinds of crops and ornamentals. According to the National Wildlife Federation, their wings beat at least 130 times per second. The beating helps vibrate flowers until they release pollen, which is called buzz pollination. Buzz pollination helps plants produce more fruit, which is why this stinging insect is considered to be such a beneficial.

Bumblebee Nests & Habitat

Compared to some stinging insects, bumblebee colonies are on the small side, only containing a dozen to a few hundred workers. Most bumblebees nest in the ground, using deserted rodent burrows and shallow cavities excavated beneath patio stones, landscaping timber, piles of compost, and within dense patches of grass. Above ground, they will occupy abandoned bird nests and fiberglass-insulated structural voids associated with outside walls, patio roofing, and decks.

Bumblebee Behaviors & Dangers

In most cases, it’s best to avoid bees and wasps entirely, as they are normally not a danger to humans. However, when their nests are in close proximity to us, they are more likely to perceive a threat and defend their nest at all costs. Bumblebees are peaceful insects and only sting when provoked. Only female bumblebees sting and unlike honey bees, they can sting more than once. Bumblebees can sting multiple times, but they do not form swarms like honey bees.The pain from a bumblebee sting is less painful than a honey bee sting, however, a sting can be dangerous if it occurs on the head or neck or if an individual is allergic.

Even though bumblebees aren’t as dangerous as some stinging insects, it’s important to always call a stinging insect expert for help with them.