They’re hard to miss. Big, fuzzy balls rolling around in pollen or the low hum of their flight muscles as they meander through the yard in search of flowers. It’s summer and the bumble bees are back!

The Bumble Bee Lifecycle

In the spring, bumble bee queens emerge from their hibernaculum, a cavity where they remain dormant over winter) and begin to search for a summer nesting site. Once the queen bumble bee finds a suitable nest, she will begin to store pollen and lay eggs. It takes roughly four weeks for the first bees to develop. After the worker bees have matured they will take over the job of foraging and caring for larvae. The queen bee will lay new queen bees and male bees after the worker population is established. The queens and males will leave the nest to mate when they are mature. The males soon die and the mated queens search for their own hibernaculum to wait out the winter.

illustratuib if bumblebees going through the bumblebee lifecycle
(Image: David Wysotski / Allure Illustration)

How can you help the bumble bees?

Sadly, bumble bee populations (and many other native bee species) are on the decline, struggling with pesticide use and habitat loss, and fragmentation. Thankfully, there are a few easy ways to help bumble bees thrive!

Avoid Pesticide Use – In your yard and in your food

Plant Pollinator-Friendly Flowers – In your yard, on your balcony at your school!

Create or Preserve Bumble bee Nesting Sites

If you want to learn more about these loveable little guys and other pollinators, visit the Xerces site. This website has fantastic information on gardening for pollinators, habitat preservation and information on how to get involved with bumble bee tracking programs! The bees will thank you for it and so will your garden!

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