Tuesday, May 26, 2009

May 26, 2009

Short post tonight as not much to report on, but I had to share.

First off, I was catching up on my blog reading/commenting and came across KitsapFG's blog from the other side of Puget Sound.  I got half-way through her to-do/done list and had to stop to head out to the garden.  I've been seeing holes in my broccoli leaves and she had sprayed with BT, so I thought I should do so.  Thanks KitsapFG! 

However, the big news.  I've got a environmental dilemma here.  I've been planting flowers and other plants to attract bees to my yard.  We don't have honey bees here and haven't for several years, so for us bumble bees do the lion's share of the pollinating, so I love seeing them whenever I can.  I can sit there and watch them on the blueberry bushes.  They bring a smile to my face.

Until now.  I was standing in my kitchen making dinner tonight when outside my kitchen window I saw two fat bumble bees sunning themselves on my siding in the rose garden.  I thought it odd that they wouldn't go home as it was getting close to sundown.  Then I saw a bee fly up into the corner of my garden area above the kitchen window.  Seconds later I saw three fly down from there.  Some quick math made me say some choice four letter words.  Thankfully the kids are at their grandparents tonight, hehe (the last few sentences were literary embellishments).  Needless to say it meant I had a bumble bee nest in my house.  Sure enough, I went out to the rose garden and saw the hole where they were coming out of.  GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

Why couldn't they have made their nest in a tree where I could point it out to my sons and say not to shake the tree and make them mad!?  No, they had to make their home where they are not supposed to be.  Now I have to kill them.  I really don't want to kill them. 

Maybe I'll wait until fall when the growing season's over, hehe.  Grrrrr.

Not a happy day in my garden for sure, hope you enjoy yours!


  1. You should check that you don't have carpenter bees, they look really similar. Bumble bees usually nest in rotting wood well carpenter bees bore holes in wood. We have loads of wasp in our area, I think it is because of the a large river close by. We had yellow jackets nest in our attic a few years ago, that was entertaining. The pro's took care of them, if I tried I probably would have ended up with a swarm of bees in the house.

  2. Oh man! Hate to hear that the bees have set up house IN YOUR HOUSE! I wonder if there is way you can run them out without killing them. I agree with Dan - maybe they are just carpenter bees.

  3. There aren't any Carpenter Bees on the west coast. If they are bumblebees, please do not kill them. They will make a colony of no more than like 200 at most. The colony will be abandoned by Winter and you can seal up the entrance hole and forget about it. In the meantime, they are harmless and beneficial.
    Now if they are wasps or hornets, I might still encourage you to let them be. But it's a different situation altogether.

  4. I totally understand your dilemma. I'm not far from the city you live in, and we don't have honey bees either, even though we're in the suburbs and only a few miles from a small farming community. I sat watching a bumble bee pollinate my tomatoes for quite some time yesterday and watching it made me smile.

    We have mason bees every year in my kitchen garden window. They like to make their nests in the weep holes of the window. Unfortunately, when we open the windows that means they can fly right in the house. My husband used to kill them every year, but this year the kids are old enough to understand that they just need to leave them alone. If they get in the house, we just open all the doors until they find their way back out. Of course... they're just mason bees - it would be a different story if they were bumble bees or wasps.

    My parents had a yellow jacket nest in the side of their house once. My dad built a large cage around the exit hole - they tried to get out to get food but couldn't because of the cage. Most died on the outside of the house, but within the cage. There were literally hundreds of them! During winter he cut into the exterior wall to see if there was much damage. There was a huge mess inside the wall that he had to clean up.

    It would be sad to lose more bumble bees, but it is understandable if that is what you need to do to protect your children. Would it be possible to put a cage over the entrance when they are out and about pollinating? When they can't get back in, would they go build another nest somewhere else?

  5. You should build a hive and then have someone come out and smoke them for you and transplant them.

  6. engineeredgardenMay 27, 2009 at 5:21 AM

    I wouldn't worry about it too much. Like Tim said, they'll eventually leave, and the hole can be repaired. I have carpenter bees, and just repair the holes they make too.

  7. I agree with Tim and Engineeredgarden... bumbles are not aggressive like wasps or hornets and they will be gone by winter so I would just leave them well enough alone and just seal up the hole after the first hard freezes. I find bumbles fascinating in that it seems miraculous for them to fly such large bodies with such little wings!

    Glad you got the Bt reminder from my posts. I try to do the broccoli about every 10 to 14 days to keep them green worm free. Works like a charm.