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The Bumblebee is an Important Pollinator

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Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Mated female bumblebees overwinter in sheltered underground locations, emerging in early spring to find a nesting site, collect pollen to lay eggs. Newly hatched bees take over the pollen and nectar gathering and the hive increases. Although social insects, bumblebees are relatively docile and generally not a threat. They don’t make much honey as the colony, which may reach several hundred individuals, dies when winter comes. Since bumblebees are large bodied, they can emerge and visit flowers when it is too cold for honeybees to be active and are important early pollinators. With habitat loss due to urbanization, these bees need our help. Leave some portions of your property unplanted so that bumble bees and other ground nesting bees can find places for their nesting sites. And plant redbuds – an early food source for the important blueberry bumblebees, too.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.