Bumblebee

Actual Size: ¾” –  1”

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

Legs: 6

Antennae: Yes

Habitat: Often nest 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
  • A bumble bee sting is considered to be one of the most painful stings
  • They can hibernate underground

Bumblebees in Illinois & Indiana

Bumblebees are large and robust stinging insects covered with densely branched setae (hairs). They have short stubby wings and are beneficial as pollinators for many kinds of crops and ornamentals. Their wings beat 130 times or more per second. Their large bodies and beating are able to vibrate flowers until they release pollen — this is called buzz pollination. This pollination helps plants produce more fruit. The bumblebees gather pollen and nectar from flowers to feed to the larvae and other members of the colony.

Bumblebee Habitat

Bumblebee colonies are small, 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. Bumblebees thrive in temperate regions. During the warmer summer sin Illinois and Indiana, they prefer the cooler hours at dusk and dawn.

Bumblebee Behaviors, Threats, & Dangers

Bumblebees are peaceful insects and only sting when provoked. Most stings happen when their nest is disturbed. 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 honeybees. 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 to their venom. In general, bumblebees will not chase you like certain types of stinging insects.

If you have a bumblebee problem in or near your home, homeowners are advised to seek out a bee pest control service rather than try to address the infestation themselves.