How To Help Bumble Bees
Bumble Bees are very important pollinators that are large, fuzzy insects with short, stubby wings. While other animals pollinate,
bumble bees are particularly good at it. Their wings beat 130 times or more per second and the beating combined with their large bodies
vibrates flowers until they release pollen, which is called buzz pollination. Buzz pollination helps plants produce more fruit.
For a complete Bumble Bee profile and all Wisconsin native Bumble Bee species:
Wisconsin Native Bumble Bees.
Advantages of Bumble Bees
Some Bumble bees have long tongues for foraging on flowers with long tubes
Bumble bees have been shown to fly in cooler temperatures and lower light levels
Bumble bees use wing vibrations to perform 'buzz pollination'
Bumble beesforage for nectar and pollen earlier in the spring, earlier in the day, and during cloudy weather.
Bumble Bees are an excellent alternative to Honey Bees and are a supplemental source for pollination of many crops. There are several
attributes of bumble bees that promote their use as pollinators. Some Bumble Bees have long tongues, These long tongues give bumble bees
an advantage over short-tongued bees like the honey bee when foraging on flowers with long tubes, such as red clover. Not surprisingly,
the petals of bumble bee flowers often form elegant, elongated bells, funnels, or tubes, with the nectaries hidden deep inside. In
some species, the nectar is hidden at the end of a long, hollow floral structure called a Springur. In these ways, the plants make sure
that the precious liquid gets only to the Bumble Bee, the animal most capable of accomplishing pollination.
Bumble bees have been shown to fly in cooler temperatures and lower light levels than many other bees, extending their work day and
improving pollination of crops facing inclement weather.
Bees can’t see the color red, and to them it looks much like the surrounding green foliage. However, they are highly attracted to
shades of purple, blue and yellow. Plants with flat, single blossoms are easiest for the bees to access. Although double blooms are
beautiful, bees have difficulty reaching the nectar inside the flowers.
Blazing stars: Summer, Fall
Great blue lobelia: Summer, Fall
Joe pye weed: Summer
Lupines: Spring, Summer
Milkweeds: Spring, Summer, Fall
Monkshood: Summer, Fall
Penstemons: Spring, Summer, Fall
Turtlehead: Summer, Fall
Violets : Spring, Summer
Virginia bluebell: Spring
Another way to help Bumble Bees is to provide suitable nesting in spring. To learn more, read: Bumble Bee Nesting
Wisconsin Bee Identification Guide
Spring Wild Bees of Wisconsin
Bumble Bees Nesting
Wild Native Bee Nest Boxes