University of Maryland Extension

Bumble Bees

common eastern bumble beetwo spotted bumble bee

Bumble bees are 1/4 to 1 inch long, robust, black and yellow in color and have a fuzzy abdomen. They resemble carpenter bees, but the top of the abdomen is bare and shiny on carpenter bees. Bumble bees are social insects and live in colonies. They usually nest in an underground cavity or in a clump of grass. They feed on nectar and pollen and are considered beneficial. They can sting over and over because they do not lose their stingers like honeybees do. But this is rare a occurrence and tend to sting only when they feel threatened. Bumble bees are docile and important pollinators.


If a Bumble bee nest is located in an area where the bees are in close contact with people, control may be needed otherwise leave them alone. Typically they are not aggressive. Locate the nest during the day and treat at night. Do not shine a flashlight directly on the nest and wear a bee veil if possible for protection. Use an appropriately labeled insecticide. Dusts work best when applied to an area about 6 inches around the nest entrance. If the nest is in a structure, use a dust or aerosol, but do not seal the entrance.

Maintained by the IET Department of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. © 2020. Web Accessibility