It’s a common dilemma. You have bumblebees somewhere in your property but shocking reports from TV and the internet are discouraging you to kill them. After all, bumblebees do help with pollination and human food production.
So since they’re not doing anything harmful to anybody, you plan to take the environmental high road and wait it out, wait until the colony clears out on its own.
But how long do you actually have to wait? Do you wait until they all die? How long do bumblebees live anyway? Here’s what you have to know. Bumblebees don’t live that long. Maybe you can wait for them to naturally clear out.
The Bumblebee Colony’s Life Cycle
Even though their life cycle depends heavily on the species and the region they’re living in, a lot of bumblebees have very short lives. The fuzzy bees in temperate regions, specifically, have a brief colony lifespan.
According to Bumblebee.org, the colony’s development can be chopped into four stages. In the first stage, the queen emerges from her long hibernation and looks for a nesting site. New queens often consider building their nests underground. These can include various places that might be located somewhere on your property.
Once the queen finds a good nesting site, she lays her first brood. She takes care of them until they develop into adult workers that can forage for food and help with the nest. This is the second stage of the cycle, the time when the bumblebee colony grows and improves.
During mid or late summer, the colony enters its third stage. This signals that it will soon die off. The queen produces male drones and budding new queens. She also stops laying more eggs because the colony won’t have any more use for additional workers.
Finally, a few days pass and the drones and young queens mature and mate. After that, the newly fertilized queens fly off to look for safe hiding spots to hibernate. But unfortunately for the rest of the colony, they’re left behind to die off. That includes the old queen and the drones. But when spring comes again, those young sleeping queens wake up from their long winter hibernation to start this life process all over again.
The Bumblebee’s Lifespan
So how long do bumblebees live? Like all bees, bumblebees don’t have years behind them. The worker’s lifespan can range from a couple of weeks to a month. On average, they usually live for about 28 days. Meanwhile, their queen can last longer. She lives until her colony dies out. And basing from what we learned from their life cycle, we can assume that this can take a few months.
So if you’re planning on getting rid of some bumblebees in your yard, you might want to consider waiting it out. Bumblebees are important pollinators, just like honey bees. They’re responsible for those blooms in your property and probably the vegetables and fruits in your neighbor’s garden.
And if you’re not endangering a family member with severe allergies, just spare a few months or so and let the colony die a natural death. After that, cover up their nest with rocks and dirt to stop them from coming back. If you really can’t wait, there are DIY bumblebee remedies that can help you get the job done.