Anyone have advice for keeping bumblebees?

Springfield, IL(Zone 6a)

I was thinking about starting a honeybee hive but the regulations here are a bit much for me to deal with right now (maybe at some time in the future.) I looked into Mason Bees, but they only pollinate things like fruit trees (not active during veggie season.) Does anyone know anything about starting/keeping a hive of bumblebees? I like them, big fat fuzzy things that they are, but don't know anything about keeping them. If anyone has any knowledge about bumblebees, I would appreciate some help. If you have other ideas or knowledge of another breed of bee, that would be great, too. Thanks!

:) Susie

Forestville, NY

http://www.arbico-organics.com/category/beneficial-insects-pollinators try tis website it might help.

Woodinville, WA(Zone 8b)

Bumblebees and honeybees are different things. Bumblebees are very gentle, but there's not much of a market for them as they don't produce honey, I've been told.

You can make your garden attractive to bumblebees and hope that they'll come (watch out for the nests, which are often on the ground), or you can buy honey bees, but there's hive set up and maintenance involved with that.

http://www.gardenguides.com/90427-flowers-draw-bees-tomato-plants-garden.html

http://www.sustainable-epsom.fsnet.co.uk/spaces/bumble.htm

There are tons of sources out on the Internet. You can also contact your local apiary assocation.

Here's an article that talks about extending pollination times with mason bees. This seems like a good option, since mason bees don't really require much upkeep. And they are so gentle.

http://www.seattlepi.com/nwgardens/358380_lovejoy10.html

Don't forget that butterflies are also pollinators. A cottage garden with lots of variety will provide habitat for them to reach maturity and assure that they hang out and do their work in your yard.

Belle Vernon, PA

Bumblebees do produce honey, just not enough to make them a viable source of honey production.

Woodinville, WA(Zone 8b)

Okay, thanks for the correction!

Springfield, IL(Zone 6a)

I didn't know that, either! So...can you harvest it? The bees die every year from what I've read, so if there's honey...

Belle Vernon, PA

If you're lucky, you might get a teaspoon full. That's why it's not worth the work. If you are looking to harvest honey, the honey bee is your only option. There are many native pollenators, but you would have to research those in your specific area.

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