Mosquitoes flying around

Why Are There So Many Bumblebees Around My House?

May 03, 2023

By Daniel Baldwin, BCE, CCFS, CP-FS

Bumblebees are common in the U.S., so you may be accustomed to seeing a few in your yard during the warm months. However, having lots of bumblebees in your yard may be more of a surprise. This post will discuss why you may have many bumblebees around your house and whether you need to worry about these insects.

Why are there so many bumblebees around my house? 

If you have a lot of bumblebees in your yard and around your house, the insects have likely found a place to live nearby. Unlike more solitary flies, bumblebees are social insects that form colonies. If a colony builds a nest near your home, many bumblebees will be in your area, and you’ll be more likely to spot them flying around.

There are common places you may find bumblebee nests, like:

  • Under dense shrubs
  • In rock piles
  • Beneath compost heaps
  • In empty rodent holes
  • Other dark, hidden places 

Even if they haven’t set up a nest in your yard, you may see plenty of bumblebees if you have flowering plants or herbs in your landscaping beds or garden. Bumblebees collect pollen from plants like chives, coneflowers, spearmint, sedum, and nasturtiums or from weeds like dandelions.

Close up of a bumblebee sitting on a green flower

What’s the difference between a bumblebee and a honeybee? 

Bumblebees and honeybees both pollinate plants, but they’re different types of insects. Here are some differences between them:

  • Size: Honeybees are slightly smaller than bumblebees at an average of 0.5 inches long vs. 0.75 inches.
  • Shape: Bumblebees have plumper, rounded bodies, while honeybees have a more conical silhouette with pointed bottoms.
  • Markings: Both honeybees and bumblebees usually have black and yellow stripes, but bumblebees are fuzzy, while honeybees’ abdomens are smooth.
  • Colony size: Honeybees live in larger groups than bumble bees.
  • Nesting habits: Honeybees prefer to return to the same nest every spring, while bumblebees build new ones.
  • Stingers: A honeybee has a barbed stinger that stays in the skin, causing the insect to die. Bumblebee stingers typically don’t become lodged in the skin tissue so they can sting more than once.

Do bumblebees sting?

Female bumblebees can sting. However, they are usually less aggressive than other stinging insects like wasps and hornets. Although bumblebees inject venom, stings usually cause only minor swelling and discomfort. People allergic to bees may experience more severe reactions that could require emergency medical care.

How can I keep bumblebees away from my house? 

It may not be possible to keep bumblebees away from your house completely, but you can lower the likelihood of having them in your yard by:

  • Removing rock piles, tree stumps, and large, fallen tree limbs
  • Keeping bushes around your home trimmed
  • Covering flowering plants with netting or growing them in a greenhouse
  • Filling holes in your yard
  • Using an insect-proof cover on wood piles, grills, and outdoor furniture
  • Choosing green plants that don’t produce brightly colored flowers for landscaping
  • Hiring a professional bee specialist to relocate any bees

Do bumblebees live under decks? 

Bumblebees certainly can live under decks because they like dark spaces. A single colony of bumblebees can be home to a few hundred insects, so you would likely see them flying around your yard if they take up residence below your deck.

How do I keep bumblebees from nesting under my deck?

You’ll usually need to block off the area to keep bumblebees from nesting under your deck. Wire mesh panels can prevent bumblebees from flying into the area, and you can cover them with decorative paneling to enhance the appearance of your home. If you have a storage area under your deck, install a door and keep it closed.

Generally, you should wait until the cold months when bumblebees are inactive to block off your deck. Bumblebees build new nests yearly, so they will find another place to live if they can’t access the area. A professional pest control company can give you more specific advice about how to keep bumblebees away from your deck.

Should I get rid of bumblebees?

Bumblebees help plants grow and play an important role in ecosystems by spreading pollen. If you’re an avid gardener, you actually want to attract bumblebees to encourage growth. Unless the bees have nested in an area where the risk of disturbing the colony and getting stung is high, you may not want to get rid of bumblebees. The exception is if someone in your family is allergic to bee stings. In this case, you may wish to call a bee relocation company that can determine how to keep bumblebees away.

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