There are three kinds of bumblebees, those that nest:
- At ground level
- Above ground
In addition to pollinating wild plants and food plants like tomatoes and blueberries, bumblebees that nest in the ground benefit your garden by:
- Improving soil quality
- Increasing water movement around plant roots
- Mixing up soil nutrients
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How to make bumblebees welcome
Most common species prefer dry, dark places. Your yard is probably home to a few types of bumblebee nests — some can contain up to 400 bees!
Underground nest opportunities include abandoned mouse holes, under garden sheds and in compost heaps.
Ground-dwelling bumblebees will also nest in a compost pile — some love the heat.
Above-ground bumblebees will take over any bird house you didn't clean out! They also make nests in thick grass and in tree cavities.
How to make a bumblebee nest
This DIY bumblebee house comes from a beekeeper friend: Grab a plastic plant pot. Fill it about two-thirds full of dryer lint (nesting material). Tip it upside down and place it at ground level, in a shady area. Place an old plate on top and a rock — that weigh enough to hold the plastic pot in place while leaving the pot's holes open for ventilation.
Be a good neighbour to bumblebees and don't disturb them. They have work to do!
Sincerely, Lindsay Coulter
A fellow Queen of Green