If I were to set out to increase their numbers, I would get to the library
and read up on 1) any success with artificial nest boxes, 2) any information
on territories. It would be pointless to put out 100 nest boxes for them if
they have a range of one colony per square mile, to choose an obvious
exaggeration. 3) Any habiatat modification that will improve the abilities of
queens to overwinter. We had about 20 of these tanks and I've only noticed
once over severall years when they were used.
It would be delightful if you can report back on this list what you learn.
Bumble bees are outstanding pollinators as they will work in bad weather,
etc. They are not honey bees, meaning that they do not store honey, so they
must work every day to eat every day. I've found them to be very gentle.
When I moved the tank, many emerged and buzzed loudly around me. I set it
down and backed away slowly. No problem. No stings. (I'm allergic so I make
it a point to be calm around stinging insects.) Bumble bees also pollinate
deep flowers like blueberries that other bees usually can't reach.
My feeling is that we have been overly dependent on honey bees which, in
North America, are exotics, and that we need to learn to foster a variety of
pollinating species. Then we will be less vulnerable to another wipeout,
such as recently happened to wild honey bees.
For Mother Earth, Dan Hemenway, Yankee Permaculture Publications (since
1982), Elfin Permaculture workshops, lectures, Permaculture Design Courses,
consulting and permaculture designs (since 1981), now offering by email a
Permaculture Design Correspondence Course. Copyright, 1996, Dan & Cynthia
We don't have time to rush.