These unaggressive, beneficial bumblebees are native northwesterners. Their range is from British Columbia to California and as far east as Idaho. Orange-rumped bumblebees will sometimes nest in a birdhouse. Consider yourself lucky, and contributing positively to the environment, if you play host to them this year!
We need all the pollinators we can get! Some people are surprised to discover bees taking up residence in a birdhouse. Since many species of bumblebees are in decline, you may want to consider the presence of Orange Rumped Bumble Bees (Bombus melanopygus) a positive! Before you decide to reclaim that house for the birds, consider these facts:
* We need all the pollinators we can get! Orange Rumped Bumble Bees, native to the Pacific Northwest, are important pollinators. Since many species of bumblebees are in decline due to pesticides, loss of habitat, and human intervention, there is a growing interest in encouraging and preserving our native bees.
* Bumble Bees Nest Spring – Fall Each spring, queen bumblebees search for a new nest site. Once a site is established, bumblebees visit flowers for nectar and pollen to eat, and to use to feed an initial brood of larval worker bees. In the summer the bumble bee queen produces a few generations of workers who then take over the task of collecting nectar and pollen. The summer generations help the queen rear the final generation of the colony—queens for next spring, and males to mate with them.
* The Bees Vacate the House by Fall By late fall, the colony has died out except for a few final workers and males, and the new queens burrow into the ground to wait for the following spring.
For detailed information about Orange-rumped Bumble Bees, we like this link: