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Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Sep 23, 2015 11:11 AM CST
This has never happened to me before and I am baffled. Blinking Confused Bumble Bee gone mad!

I was in the yard with the two dogs, minding our own business, when a Bumble Bee cops an attitude and starts charging at us. First one dog, then the other, then me and just kept it up. I had to scoop up the dogs and run into the house. We were not in close proximity to the plants where the Bumble Bees usually work and nowhere near the nest which is under my house about 25 feet away. Can anyone tell me what would have caused this behavior so I can avoid any future problems.

Oh, and I was under the impression that Bumble Bees don't sting. I did a Google search and yes, they can sting but thankfully not today.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
central Illinois
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jmorth
Sep 23, 2015 11:44 AM CST
In my experience, they are usually too busy gathering pollen to sting.
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Coatesville IN (Zone 5b)
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Claudia
Sep 27, 2015 6:39 PM CST
I have a nest in a one of my flower beds this year. I found out as I was digging up daylilies to divide early this spring. They came directly at me and stung me! Got me on the chin. It was very scary and made for a very long summer.

Mine have been very active lately & with cooler weather bees & wasp seem to get more aggressive some times.
Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. ~Eeyore
central Illinois
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jmorth
Sep 27, 2015 7:05 PM CST
That must have been a terrible experience.
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
Sep 27, 2015 7:52 PM CST
Claudia, that is so frightening. Thank you for sharing.
All my life I worked around Bumble Bees 'knowing' (incorrectly) that they either could not or would not attack or sting. I have learned a lot from this, thank you. I will be more watchful from now on.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
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Catmint20906
Oct 4, 2015 7:06 AM CST
It does sound scary! Group hug

I think the social bees/wasps that build nests together can become aggressive if they feel their territory is threatened. But otherwise my experience is the same as J's--the solitary bees/wasps just go about their business gathering pollen and pretty much ignore me. Maybe it was one of the social bees? Shrug!
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Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
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dirtdorphins
Oct 4, 2015 9:06 AM CST
Only the females can sting. The males do not have a stinger.

Carpenter bees, which look a lot like bumblebees, are reported to actually charge and chase people and other animals, bumblebees not so much.

In the fall, with the cooler weather, at least in places with 'winter', the thing that is going on is survival of the species--the old queen, all the males and workers will die, only the new queens survive to start over the next spring.

Depending on where you are at in *their* life cycle...
...when the new queens are still in the nest, the males and the workers are very protective of the nest, and become much more aggressive about it to ensure the survival of the new queens.
...once the new queens have hatched and ventured off to find a new winter hibernaculum, they are not so obsessed with protecting the now old nest, but the new queens are themselves, rather aggressive about protecting themselves.

It is possible that you have a nest somewhere near that part of the garden that you are unaware of, or you may have encountered a new queen.

For the most part, they will fly at you and generally skim your head until you get the message and back off; they don't sting unless you initiate contact with them by swatting or grabbing them or in the case of the dogs, snapping at them (unlike the social wasps, which will swarm you, land on you, and sting you repeatedly as they crawl under your clothes to sting you better!).
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
Oct 4, 2015 9:24 AM CST
Thank you; that was very helpful.

I know about carpenter bees. We have a few and they generally hover "in your face" but have never shown aggression. They live at the house next door and one protects the front porch, the other protects the eaves/overhang.

This is the first year I have ever had an actual nest of Bumble Bees (that I know of) and it is under my mobile home. I do not walk within 4 feet of the area and am watchful when in their flight path.

There could well be another nest I have not yet discovered.

The only new or unusual thing I had done in the area was to empty 2 bags of potting soil (which had been sitting under a tree for several months) and to haul some finished compost to add to the potting soil. I was guessing there may have been one or more Bumble Bees in either of those two things, the bags of soil or the bin of compost. Either way I have learned to treat Bumble Bees with a bit more respect - kind of the way I treat snakes; nice to have in the garden but I wouldn't want to surprise or upset one.

Thanks again for all the help and advice everyone! Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Oct 4, 2015 3:00 PM CST
Dirt, really good info.! Thumbs up

Thought I would mention, there are other bee-look-alikes, such as the Robberfly, Southern Bee Killer.

I've had a few incounters with them buzzing at me, usually if I get in the way of them mating or stalking their prey. They like to attack their prey mid-air. Blinking I've learned to recognize them by the way they hang out on plants, instead of browsing the flowers. But now I see them because I think they look cool in their big dark shades. Hilarious!

Southern Bee Killer (Mallophora orcina)

Thumb of 2015-10-04/wildflowers/f51bde Thumb of 2015-10-04/wildflowers/1d9410
Thumb of 2015-10-04/wildflowers/308070 Thumb of 2015-10-04/wildflowers/89a8a4
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Catmint/Robin
Maryland (Zone 7a)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Butterflies Forum moderator Native Plants and Wildflowers Bee Lover Echinacea
Region: Maryland Garden Photography Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 The WITWIT Badge
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Catmint20906
Oct 4, 2015 3:05 PM CST
Great photos! I need some of those robberflies in my yard! Thumbs up
"One of the pleasures of being a gardener comes from the enjoyment you get looking at other people's yards”
― Thalassa Cruso
Name: Cynthia (Cindy)
Melvindale, Mi (Zone 5b)
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Hemlady
Nov 11, 2015 5:45 AM CST
I have a row of garlic planted next to my garage and 2 years ago I was digging up my garlic and came too close to a bumble bee's nest that must have been under the foundation of my garage. I had long pants on and got stung right through the pants. After they sting you I was told they send out a warning signal to the rest of the hive. Next thing I knew I had 3 or 4 buzzing me. Got stung a second time and then I ran for the house. I had to go out after dark and spray where they were going under the garage. I didn't want to deal with being attacked every time I went to the garden.
Lighthouse Gardens
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
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LindaTX8
Nov 11, 2015 7:32 AM CST
We used to have bumble bees around a lot and never once had a problem with them. Once in a while, one would accidentally fly too close and kind of run into me. No harm, no foul. Now we don't see them often (both honeybees and bumblebees are declining in numbers in many parts of the country). The only thing that ever stings us is yellow jacket wasps, which aren't around much.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
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Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
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LindaTX8
Nov 11, 2015 7:32 AM CST
We used to have bumble bees around a lot and never once had a problem with them. Once in a while, one would accidentally fly too close and kind of run into me. No harm, no foul. Now we don't see them often (both honeybees and bumblebees are declining in numbers in many parts of the country). The only thing that ever stings us is yellow jacket wasps, which aren't around much.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Nov 11, 2015 8:57 AM CST
The only thing I've ever been stung by is a yellow jacket hornet too. They are mean, that hurt for a gfood month! They live under the ground, we actually had some living right under our house.

Cynthia, could it have been yelllow jacket that you encountered? https://www.google.com/search?q=yellow+jacket+hornet+picture...
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Coatesville IN (Zone 5b)
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Claudia
Nov 13, 2015 2:10 PM CST
Several types of bees nest in the ground it seems. What got me was the big black & yellow bumblebee. I had no idea that they nested in the ground until this summer.
Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. ~Eeyore
Name: Alex Junge
MN st paul, (Zone 4a)
Plantsmylove
Jan 3, 2016 5:05 PM CST
Yes they do and their existence is tied to our crops and our well being if they were to go extinct ( something thats prodicted to happen by 2040) then alot of bad things would happen

The native flowers which are already being killed off by invasive plants would have no way to reproduce which would lead to a drasasic fall in insects which would lead to huge die offs of 70% of native birds which feed chicks insects the humans would have no choice but to turn toward gmo crops that self pollinate our crops food supply
[Last edited by Plantsmylove - Jan 3, 2016 5:14 PM (+)]
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Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
Jan 3, 2016 5:57 PM CST
@Dave,
Can you close or lock this thread. I have my answer, thank you. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
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wildflowers
Jan 3, 2016 6:09 PM CST
@greene, you can "unwatch" this thread if you are no longer interested in viewing or keeping up with current comments.
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
Rabbit Keeper Critters Allowed Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages
Herbs Region: Georgia Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Dog Lover Composter
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greene
Jan 3, 2016 6:20 PM CST
I am aware of that option but I would prefer it be either locked or closed, thank you. If anyone wants to start a new discussion about Bumblebees there is tons of room available. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
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mellielong
Jan 3, 2016 6:46 PM CST

Moderator

As moderator, I don't feel comfortable locking a thread when people might still want to comment on it. If you are no longer interested, I think it's better to "unwatch" it, like Christine said.
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!

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