Tree Bumblebee (B. hypnorum) nest box with live wax moth larvae inside-video

August 29, 2013

in A selection of my garden wildlife videos, Bumblebee pests, enemies, etc., Bumblebees and their ecology, Gardening For Wildlife

Tree bumblebee with wax moth larvae inside

Possibly due to their elevationed positions, many tree bumblebees nests are prone to attack by the wax moth, aphomia sociella. The tell tale signs are a very thick, strong web like structure in and around the inside of the nest itself. Of the 2 tree bumblebee nest boxes that survived in my garden this year, both succumbed to this little moth. For a more detailed account of the bumblebee nest destroyer, with video.

“All my articles and videos, available free, are funded by my  teaching and sales of award winning bumblebee nest boxessolitary bee boxes,  and wormeries. Please help by spreading the word and forwarding this link to your friends and colleagues.  Thank you!” George Pilkington

For more information and to help save bumblebees join the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

You can download a detailed B. hypnorum information sheet here from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust written by Clive Hill

BWARS are recording the spread of B. hypnorum which you can submit a record here and join here

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

marian morrison August 31, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Terrific filming George! Heartbreaking to see the devastation of these bees by the wax moth, and the bad luck you had. Have you had better success with your bumble bee boxes with the special flap to stop the moths entering the nest??

Where do the queen bumble bees hibernate by the way??

Regards – Marian


nurturingnature August 31, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Thanks Marian. The tree bumblebees nested in a bird box. My bumblebee ‘catflap’ is working fine with some active B. pascuorum still nesting inside my nest box! Ha! Marian where do they hibernate indeed. Not much research done on that aspect…difficult one that. Thought I found some last year….went back to dig them up and they were ….. dung beetles! I may do an article on that one as it is funny! More and even better videos to come! BFN, George


Jenny September 19, 2015 at 11:22 pm

Replying to an old comment here, but this may be of interest to someone. Today I disturbed three queen tree bumblebees who were hibernating in two of my hanging baskets. They were tucked between the liner and the soil (I presume, as that’s where I found them when the buzzing alerted me to their presence!) The baskets they chose were cocooned by honeysuckle, and other nearby baskets that do not have the honeysuckle to steady and protect them were bee-less.

After they flew off I saw one again later having returned to where the baskets were, but had yet to be replaced. Hopefully they tried again once I’d had time to return the baskets.

Be careful with your hanging baskets folks!


nurturingnature September 26, 2015 at 6:17 pm

Hi Jenny, thanks for sharing this. I have had many reports of hanging baskets used by tree bumblebee queens that generally nest high up use a hibernation site that is high up. It makes every sense as queens that nest in or near the ground hibernate there. Cheers, George


Magdalen J. Williams November 14, 2013 at 5:25 am

Wow! This is very interesting. Too bad for the bumblebees. How did the wax moth larvae got in there? Is that really common? I honestly do not know much about these stuff but i find them really interesting.


nurturingnature November 14, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Hi Magdalen, They can destroy about 80% of urban nest boxes, see my other article….

which explains about them and drove me to design a nest box to deal with them!

see video on this page…

Cheers George


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: