I have not always had a love for bees. When I was a child I remember the huge bumblebees with their large droning sound. I was quite afraid of them. It was just ignorance and over the years I have learned a thing or two about them. Whilst developing my large flower beds, I have become very fond of the humble bumblebee. When my husband came upon a nest of bumblebees in our shed this weekend, I wish he had stopped and talked to me first.
I looked out the window to see my husband holding a large bundle of bamboo stakes with what looked like a big clump of grass clippings stuck to the end. The clump fell off onto the grass and then he dropped the stakes and ran to the other side of the yard! Now this could have had an unfortunate ending, my husband was lucky!
I just had to go see what was going on. By the time I got down there, he had figured out that this was a bumblebee nest. Most of the bees had flown away, but a few where whirling around and buzzing in a very annoyed fashion. They quickly calmed down and I was able to get a better look at them. Sure enough there were several bees checking out their nest to see what on earth had happened. The bees are not aggressive and no one was stung, even after being dropped from two feet to the ground! How many of us would be so calm!
When dusk approached it was time to move the bees. Wearing my protective rose gloves (just in case), I gently picked up the shovel and carried the hive outside of our fenced yard into the wilder area beyond the compost pile and located the hive between two large shrubs. I put a few small rocks on the ground and gently pushed the hive onto them. The bees came out and buzzed about and I backed off until they calmed down again. I then gently placed some of the nest material (an old mouse nest) back onto the top of the hive. I waited about ten minutes or so for any stray bees that left when I moved the hive to return. I then placed a large wooden upturned flower planter over the top of the hive. We watched for a few minutes and there where no angry bees about, so my husband took a couple of really large rocks and placed them on top of the planter to keep the raccoons out. We left them for the night and hoped for the best.
The next day a few bees were still back in the shed looking for their hive, but after a couple of days they seemed to have found the new hive. I observed bees coming and going out of the hive (planter) at the bottom through a small opening. We thought they would use the drain hole at the top of the hive, but the bees had other ideas. So far, so good. The bumble bees seem to be adjusting to their new home and they are not in our shed anymore. We had a great outcome with our bees, but I would recommend you do your own research before attempting anything similar.
I am very happy that our bumblebees are still here in my garden and this experience forced me to learn even more about these incredible and endangered creatures. If you would like to learn more about bumblebees or bees in general here are a few sites I can recommend.