Making a Bumblebee nest box

It’s pretty common to find a mouse nest in beekeeping equipment. What isn’t common is the knowledge that bumblebees love to use abandoned mouse nests as their own nesting sites come spring time. This is why bumblebee nests are often underground, but I’ve also removed them from garages (under a pile of rags), and under garden ornaments; anywhere they can “sniff out” an old mouse nest. I happen to think bumblebees are pretty interesting to watch, so whenever possible, I make bumblebee nest boxes, and this is how I do it.

Honey Bee removal PA
Deermouse nest in unused equipment.

I always keep my eyes open for cheap birdhouses at yard sales and flea markets. The one pictured was three dollars. I simply place the mouse nest inside, and combine it with some saved up dryer lint. Some people use flower pots instead of birdhouses, but I’ve never had success with those.

Bee removal Berks County 19601
Bumble bee nesting box.

The last step is, ironically, to keep birds out. So I cover the entrance with mesh. If it smells sufficiently mousy, a mother bumblebee will find it wherever you put it. I think I will put this one right outside a window.

Bumble bee nest
1/2 inch mesh in place to keep out mice and birds.

One of my nest boxes from last year was too slick, and too small. It was eventually occupied, but the colony never flourished. View the problem here.

Honeybees and Coffee Grounds

I noticed a few honeybees collecting coffee grounds from my compost bin the other day when it was 50 degrees in January. I’ve heard many times that they do this, but I had never seen it until then. I posted it to FB and the speculation and conjecture began immediately. Comments ranged from “That is very bad for them! Remove the coffee at once!” to “They may be after something we don’t know about.” I can’t be the only person out here with coffee grounds on a compost pile, and I tend to think the bees know better than me.