Bumblebees are ideal for pollinating a wide variety of garden plants, especially food and seed crops including, apples, apricots, avocado, beans, blueberries, cherries, courgettes, eggplants, kiwifruit, melons, passionfruit, peaches, pears, persimmons, plums, pumpkin, raspberries, strawberries, sunflowers, tomatoes and many more! We recommend getting the hive a few weeks in advance of the pollination of larger trees, which will allow the hive some time to develop beforehand. Ideal for plants grown under cover (both plastic and glass) and outdoor crops.
The hive packaging is not weather resistant and we recommend providing it with some additional shelter or a wooden housing to protect it from rain (if placing in a glasshouse, this is unnecessary).
Hives are supplied at an early stage in the development. The bees will follow their natural life-cycle, the hive will develop in strength before eventually declining in numbers and ultimately ceasing to exist. Nearing the end of the hive's life, many new queens should be produced, these will hopefully take up residence in your area the following season.
Garden Hive - A bumblebee hive suited to home gardens and small non-commercial sized greenhouses. This is a small colony, not suitable for commercial customers.
Medium Hive - A medium sized hive, suitable for large gardens or commercial greenhouses smaller than 1000 m2. This hive can be used in a garden environment or in smaller commercial greenhouse environments (less than 1000 m2). The hive contains an active queen, her workers (approx. 50-60) and developing brood.
Standard Hive - This hive should be used in commercial greenhouse environments (greater than 1000 m2) or in outdoor crops with flowering periods greater than 4 weeks. The hive contains an active queen, her workers (approx. 80) and developing brood.
Turbo Hive – Turbo hives are available seasonally and are suited to those interested in commercial pollination of outdoor crops with short pollination periods (3 weeks or less).
Bumblebee hives form their own shipping container. It is not possible to consolidate shipping of other products with the Bumblebee hives, freight is included in the price of the hives for this reason.
Hives contain a nutrient solution for the bees to consume during transportation and to continue their development once they arrive ready for work. Please ensure hives should be correctly orientated to ensure the nutrient solution does not leak.
Bumblebees are usually more docile than honeybees, hence the misconception that they can't sting. It is important to note that they are capable of stinging and will do so if threatened. Hives should be placed out of the way of young children and inquisitive pets.
Queens and workers can sting (multiple times like a wasp), but males, who are fewer, smaller and found near the end of the hive’s development, can not. Unlike honeybees, a bumblebee does not die after stinging, also their sting is not barbed so does not pull out when they sting. They can, however, get annoyed if you disturb their nest, or if you accidentally give them a squeeze.
You can do several things to minimise your risk of getting stung. Bumblebees are attracted to the colour blue, so if you don’t like bumblebees buzzing around you then try to avoid blue colours (and other pastels) in a working environment. Try not to breathe directly on them or near their nest as mammalian breath signals that they are in danger of being eaten. Also, avoid strong perfumes, wear closed shoes, take care around flowers, and don’t keep lollies in your pocket.
In most cases a bumblebee sting will cause nothing more than some discomfort. However, much like with other insect stings, people can sometimes experience an allergic reaction. This reaction may be localised, like swelling around the area stung, or in a few cases, it may be more generalised (occurring away from the area stung), such as swelling of other body parts or hives (a medical condition also known as urticaria), or in severe cases, causing anaphylactic shock. You might never have had an allergic reaction before, but it is possible for people to become sensitised to stings over time. For more information please consult the Allergy NZ Insect Sting webpage
For more specific information on anaphylaxis, please consult the Allergy NZ anaphylaxis web page
It is important to be aware of allergy symptoms, and if working around bees, it is a good idea to have an adrenaline auto-injector available on site, such as an Anapen® or Epipen®, which can be obtained from doctors and pharmacies without prescription. These are only to be used when someone is having an anaphylactic reaction. Information and videos on the use of these products can be found by downloading and displaying these handy pdf files (Anapen® or Epipen ®. Anaphylaxis Management Plans can be obtained for either of the auto-injectors, please consult the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy website for more information.
A list of allergy specialists can be found on the Allergy New Zealand website, click here to find a specialist nearest you.