The importance of bumblebee nest box bedding and preparation

February 11, 2016

in A selection of my garden wildlife videos, Bumblebees and their ecology, Gardening For Wildlife

Bumblebee nest box bedding material

“ The instructions included with the Nurturing- Nature Bumble Bee box were very comprehensive. Most other Bumblebee box suppliers give little emphasis to the nest box bedding but the NN box gave excellent instructions and emphasised its importance. After following the instructions and placing the boxes in the garden I was very happy when both were occupied by queens very quickly – the bedding set up notes along with the video and the materials as supplied, certainly worked !” KH Wales

“I found the bedding preparation video really helped and the printed instructions, were excellent. I particularly liked the sample photos of the entrance hole, disguising it to look more natural and more effective. When buying anything like this, it will just be a box sat in the garden. With your clear instructions, attention to detail and the bedding provided, it all gives everyone a fighting chance!” SN Eng   Customer reviews

Bombus hortorum queen on primroses Nurturing Nature

Give the queen what she wants!

Why is bumblebee nest box bedding so important?

 You can buy a 5-star bumblebee nest box and still not get a queen bumblebee to adopt it. Why? There are several factors related to the successful ‘take up’ of a bumblebee nest box by a queen. She has certain features and requirements that are, to her, essential. One of the most important features is the nest box bedding material that the queen will need. She wants a fully furnished apartment, not an unfurnished one! Unlike birds, she is not capable of carrying nest material to her chosen site. So I provide it for her! The kind of bedding material, the quantity, its preparation and its age can all have a bearing upon a successful acceptance by a queen. Each material has to fulfil different requirements.
Bedding is key!

Bedding is a key component!

Preparation is key
After many years of testing different nesting materials, different preparation methods and visits abroad exchanging ideas, bedding, as supplied by Nurturing Nature, consists of several different natural materials, all of which, when prepared together, have been accepted by numerous bumblebee queens.
Probably the most detailed instructions in the UK are given, plus a useful ‘How to prepare bedding’ video giving the details required to make it more likely a queen will accept the nest box. Hints, tips and tricks to attract a queen to nest box are also given. Bedding has to be renewed annually. As with many things in life, preparation is key!

I have had great success with bumblebee queen acceptance with many of my award-winning bumblebee nest boxes and it is largely due to the attention I give to furnishing her apartment! No queen, no nest!
For more information about Bumblebees: Bumblebee Conservation Trust

Interested in Citizen Science and pollinators? The Buzz Club 

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Marian March 1, 2016 at 10:36 pm

Hi George. The hog we were nurturing overwinter escaped late December, very mild weather then, and we havnt seen it since. Fortunately after rescuing it from a near road kill, it was the size of my palm ….but after lots of proper hog food it did double its weight before escaping so that was good. Hope it appears in the Spring, lots of hibernating places in our garden so we shall keep a look out

Regards as always


nurturingnature March 8, 2016 at 11:28 pm

Fingers crossed Marian, looks like it at least has a fighting chance with your help. Cheers, George


Tessa March 17, 2016 at 3:20 pm

I bought a bee nest box from you last year, ready to put out this year . It did not contain nesting material and I wonder if I could buy a pack of whatever it is from you.
Regards ,


nurturingnature March 17, 2016 at 10:01 pm

Can you email me please Tessa. Thanks George


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