Frequently Asked Questions about Our Bumblebees

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Our Bumblebees

What is the difference between honeybees and bumblebees?

In terms of their strong natural pollination qualities, bumblebees and honeybees complement each other well. The main difference with honeybees is that bumblebees also fly out in poorer weather conditions. For example: earlier in the day, at lower temperatures and in light rain and wind. Bumblebees also fly better in conditions with poor light (for example, under hail netting) and they fly around your crop in a more criss-cross fashion.

Do bumblebees produce honey?

No. Although bumblebees store nectar like honeybees, they do not have to save enough nectar to survive the winter(since the queens hibernate alone during winter). Moreover, bumblebees do not use an organized nest structure like honeybees, so separating the honey pots from the larva/eggs/pollen would be very difficult.

Do bumblebees suffer from Colony Collapse Disorder too?

No, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is the name given to the mysterious disappearance of many honeybee colonies. Although the exact causes are unclear, it appears that a combination of parasites and pesticides may be to blame. As the entire honeybee colony survives the winter, honeybees are particularly sensitive to these. In the case of bumblebees, only the queen hibernates and survives the winter. Bumblebees are therefore not affected by CCD.

Do bumblebees sting and if so, do they die after?

Although bumblebees DO sting, they only do this in self defence and almost exclusively when you’re near their hive or when you restrict their movement (e.g. when you step on them or try to hold them in your hand). Unlike honeybee stings, bumblebees do not leave their venom sac in their victim and will live on after they sting. Bumblebees are generally regarded as less aggressive than honeybees or wasps.

Can bumblebees be used along with honeybees?

Bumblebees and honeybees can be used together with caution. Koppert hives contain bags with a sugar water solution, which can attract honeybees, especially when no flowers are available for the honeybees. If honeybees begin raiding the hives, the health and longevity of the hives can be jeopardized. When using bumblebees and honeybees together, Koppert recommends separating the two bees by a minimum of 100 /110yards - 90/100 meters. It is advised to introduce the honeybees somewhat later, after at least 5% of the flowers start blossoming.

Are bumblebees affected by chemical applications?

Bumblebees are just as sensitive to chemicals as honeybees. To determine the appropriate action when spraying chemicals, visit the side effects page or contact your Koppert representative.

Are wild animals attracted to hives?

The sugar water and pollen in the hives can attract other insects and animals. Most insects attracted to the hives are generally a nuisance, and do not affect the viability of the bees. Animals, such as bears, can pose a more serious threat. If bears are present, it is recommended that agricultural electrical fencing is placed around the Quad units.

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