Want to help bumble bees in your area? There are a number of activities you can do!
- Submit bumble bee sightings
- Plant flowering plant species ensuring bloom times from early spring to fall
- Leave the leaves and other debris
1 – Submit bumble bee sightings
Submit bumble bee sightings to bumble bee watch.
Bumble bee watch is a community science program that aims to increase awareness and knowledge of bumble bees. You can get involved by taking photos of bumble bees you see outside and submitting the sightings online. It even helps you identify the species of bumble bee you have observed! All species identifications are expert verified by a team of volunteer expert identifiers.
This data is so helpful for researchers as we can’t be everywhere all the time! These data help us monitor bumble bee populations and track range extensions/contractions.
2 – Plant flowering plant species that bloom from early spring until late fall
Different bumble bee species are active at different times of the year and have differing colony lengths. There are some species that start their colony cycle early in spring, others that begin in late spring. Some bumble bee species are only active for a couple of months while others will be active from early spring right into fall!
Bumble bees can be vulnerable to food shortages in period of low blooms. This can especially be the case in early spring and into the fall.
So to help out the bumble bees, try and make sure you have continuously blooming flowers right from early spring into the fall.
Native plant species are preferred! Try contacting your local conservation authority, naturalist society etc. for ideas of native plant species that are adapted for your local conditions.
3 – Leave the leaves and other debris
Bumble bee queens need a place to make a nest in the spring, and in the fall, they need a place to hibernate.
Many bumble bee species will nest underground (in abandoned rodent holes, for example) but others will nest on the survey (under a grassy mound, for example) or even above-ground (in tree cavities, for example). Leaving “messy” yards with lots of debris and cover can promote nesting bumble bee species (and other pollinators for that matter!).
Bumble bee queens overwinter underground starting in the fall and having debris on the ground may help insulate the queens as wait underground for spring.