Bombus hypnorum and Vespula vulgaris interaction

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Last seen: 9 years 6 months ago
Joined: 27/05/2013 - 16:00
Bombus hypnorum and Vespula vulgaris interaction

My parents who own a small suburban garden are lucky enough to have a nest of Bombus pratorum and Bombus hypnorum in the garden. The Bombus hypnorum nest is in a birdbox and what is interesting is that it is within just five feet of a very active Vespula vulgaris nest in an adjacent roof. At the moment both species seem to tolerate each other with no major interaction between them. What I was wondering and welcome any input from other forum members, is that as the wasp colony grows, is there potential for the adult wasps to try and raid the Bombus hypnorum nest for the grubs to feed to their own young? Has anyone else had a similar situation in their own garden or know of someone else who has.

Many Thanks,


Last seen: 5 years 10 months ago
Joined: 02/04/2013 - 20:34
B.hypnorum and V.vulgaris using the same entrance to nest site

Hallo waspman76

During April 2011 I had Bombus hypnorum and Vespula vulgaris using the same entrance to a nest site. On 2 April 2011 A queen B.hypnorum was seen entering a hole in the mortar at the top edge of a cavity wall (filled with rockwool insulation) under the bottom edge of some cedar boarding. Behind the cedar boarding is a roof cavity lined with fibre glass insulation. On 25 and 26 April two worker B.hypnorum were seen. No more B.hypnorum activity was observed and the nest obviously failed at an early stage. During April a queen Vespula vulgaris was also seen entering exactly the same hole on 2 or 3 days. On 26 April she was seen entering the hole. However this nest also failed at an early stage. I have no way of knowing why either nest failed.

This year I have a thriving B.hypnorum nest in the same nest site. The founding queen was seen entering the hole with pollen on 3 May 2013. The first workers were seen on 10 and 11 May entering and leaving the nest site. A census today suggested there are probably about 30 active foraging workers.

20:35 Sunday 9 June 2013

Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
Joined: 23/05/2013 - 13:02

Hi waspman,

I am no wasp expert. I believe that wasps will hunt as an individual and not as a gang as do Japanese hornets when raiding bees nests. I have seen a lone wasp attack and kill a lone honey bee one near a nest and one on a flower. I have seen wasps raid bumblebee nests that are in steep decline with only a few workers left. They, again as individuals, although there were several coming and going at the same time, simply scavenged around the nest taking nectar from wax cells and some I have watched taking bee larvae.

cheers George

Corinne McMinnis (not verified)
Bombus hypnorum and Vespula vulgaris

Hi Waspman, we too have a Bombus hypnorum nest in a bird box on our garage wall. Less than 20m away my neighbour has a wasp nest in a bird box on her garage wall almost exactly opposite, so you'd think at the very least their flight paths would coincide. However they seem to be completely ignoring each other. Our bees are west facing; the wasps are east facing. We have a small garden on an estate in a village not far from Scarborough. Our best garden feature is a 200yr old oak left over from an old field boundary which completely dominates the back of the house. We and the wildlife love it - my neighbours do not! Our bees are sheltered and warm (when the sun shines) and are doing a great job pollinating all our fruit. Its a privilege to have the bees and the colony seems to have many thriving individuals.
How are your parents' bees doing?

Cheers, Corinne.

Last seen: 9 years 6 months ago
Joined: 27/05/2013 - 16:00
Bombus hypnorum/ Vespula vulgaris interaction

Hi Corinne,

The Bombus hypnorum nest is doing fantastic with lots of new queens being produced and seen exiting box. Bombus pratorum nest is very quiet and I think may well have now finished. Vespula vulgaris numbers seem to be increasing rapidly with workers ferrying in food every few seconds. I have also now discovered a third bumblebee nest in my parents' garden, this being one of Bombus terrestris.

Cheers, James

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