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Designing bumble nests


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#1 Online ANTdrew - Posted October 12 2018 - 5:34 AM

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http://bumbleboosters.unl.edu/node/8

I came across this website today, and it got me thinking, what if people in the ant community applied their knowledge of habitat design to the creation of functional bumble bee nests?

As honey bees continue to decline, there is more and more interest in learning better ways to manage native bees like bumble bees for crop pollination and conservation in general.


"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25


#2 Online FSTP - Posted October 12 2018 - 5:45 AM

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Commercial bumble bee rearers pretty much have it figured out. If you've eaten a store bought hot house tomato you've eaten a fruit pollinated buy a commercial bumble bee.


There are videos of my ants here: https://www.youtube....bN5yYK2KWXA0vQ?


#3 Online ANTdrew - Posted October 12 2018 - 6:00 AM

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You're right about commercial bumble bee operations in a captive situation. This project is more about designing a nest that would be more enticing for wild bumble bees to inhabit. Current designs have less than 10% success rate. Something like this would be more helpful for conservation and small farms that want to encourage native wild bees.


"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25


#4 Offline Kalidas - Posted October 12 2018 - 8:27 AM

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Well even beyond bumble bees, there are so many species of bee that don't get any attention because they're not honey or bumble bees, and yet they are equally important.

There are even ground dwelling bees that make nest undergroundsimilar to ants.

Edited by Kalidas, October 12 2018 - 10:07 AM.

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#5 Online ANTdrew - Posted October 12 2018 - 9:04 AM

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Good point. I first got interested in social insects through studying native bees. I turned my yard into a jungle of native plants, and it is chock full of every kind of bee imaginable. I've had a few bumble bee nests in the garden over the years in old chipmunk burrows.

Now I'm branching out into ants!


"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25


#6 Offline Kalidas - Posted October 12 2018 - 10:09 AM

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I used to love collecting wasps as a kid. I would try ants too but it never worked out(I now know it's because I didn't understand nuptial flights and how they worked).

I would collect California paper wasp nest and the swarms and keep them as pets. Feeding them moths and butterflies.

Edited by Kalidas, October 12 2018 - 10:09 AM.


#7 Offline Major - Posted October 12 2018 - 11:48 AM

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Sorry if I am wrong, I have fairly limited knoledge of Bees.

Don't Bumblebees produce minimal amounts of honey? So wouldn't keepers not be as interested in them?
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#8 Offline Kalidas - Posted October 12 2018 - 1:18 PM

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Sorry if I am wrong, I have fairly limited knoledge of Bees.
Don't Bumblebees produce minimal amounts of honey? So wouldn't keepers not be as interested in them?


As far as I know they produce zero. Which is actually a good argument for keeping them as a pet/hobby species. The fact that honey bees are kind of the only bee thriving while other bees are dying is a really big problem. Bees like ants and most bugs have pretty selective diets, on top of that let's say a disease starts killing all honey bees and honey bees are we have left(like what is exactly happening to bananas right now). Honey bees are great pollinators but they shouldn't be the only one, it's just asking for an ecological disaster.

#9 Online FSTP - Posted October 12 2018 - 1:27 PM

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I do have a little Bumble box I made for when I am able to catch a queen. I've had it for four years now and have not been successful in acquiring a wild bumble queen. I could just buy one but that doesn't seem as fun. 

 

Also in the wild a lot of these bumble bees when they're looking to make a new nest colony seek out abandoned rodent nests. So old rat or squirrel nests seem to be most commonly sought after. I think these abandoned nests must have a distinct smell to them that the Bumble queen hones in on when she is trying to found a new colony.  

 

 

 

Sorry if I am wrong, I have fairly limited knoledge of Bees.

Don't Bumblebees produce minimal amounts of honey? So wouldn't keepers not be as interested in them?

 

 

They do make a version of honey in open honey pot vats. Buts its not as good as honey bee honey and is very inconsistent, also its viscosity greatly differs from pot to pot. One could be thick and syrupy and the next on is as thin as water. I've tried it and it varies from pot to pot. One pot will taste like nice honey. The next one will be bitter while another one tasted like someone poured sugar syrup on dirt or clay. 


Edited by FSTP, October 12 2018 - 1:34 PM.

There are videos of my ants here: https://www.youtube....bN5yYK2KWXA0vQ?


#10 Offline Kalidas - Posted October 12 2018 - 1:39 PM

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Yeah I just double checked like FSTP said bumble bees make honey but it's not as good and they don't produce a lot.

But my other points still stand I believe.

#11 Online ANTdrew - Posted October 12 2018 - 2:26 PM

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You’re right, Major. Bumble bees only make enough honey to last a few days. The interest in keeping them is based on their effectiveness as pollinators. In fact, they are better than honeybees for many fruits like tomatoes.
If you think about, ants don’t make any honey, and we’re all into keeping them.

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25





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