Q: I have a nest of bumble bees under the earth below one of my patio stones. They keep to themselves and have not stung anyone, but I have little kids who are spending more time outdoors now. Is there a way to move the bees without harming them?
A: The other issue is whether they can be moved without harming you.
Your bumble bees will build up their nest all summer, producing more and more bees. But when cold hits, the queen leaves the nest and finds a warm, safe place to hibernate. All the worker bees in the nest die. Each queen makes a new nest each year in a different location from the old one.
Winter will eradicate your problem. Meanwhile, it will be difficult and unsafe to move the bees without harming them and yourself. Bumble bees rarely sting, but if they do, the sting is said to be painful.
I think a beekeepers association may be able to offer advice and possibly help.
My father kept bees and when he took off supers (frames containing honey) he used a portable smoker device like a small bellows. It was my job to stand close by and puff smoke into the hive so the bees would be half-asleep while he worked.
Beekeepers may still use smokers or have developed even better ways of sedating bees.
A shallow hole in a dry safe spot with a board on top and a hole where bees can enter and exit is the sort of place that bumble bees like.
But the easiest solution for you might be blocking off that one patio area so thoroughly your kids would be safe from the bees until frost. You could change the bumble bees flight path away from certain areas by installing a high screen.
Q: Why is my rose bush drooping? My peonies are also drooping and the petals fall very quickly. My neighbour’s peonies stand up straight with stick support.
A: Do you know what kind of rose you have? The David Austin roses tend to droop because they have weak stems.
Roses, peonies and other double flowers usually droop in prolonged rain. With peonies, this happens so severely, they may lay right down on the ground where slugs can shred them. This is why many gardeners stake peonies or use special peony supports.
Q: When and how can I replant an eight-inch tall aloe vera plant into a bigger pot? I have tried a few times, but each time the plant starts to grow horizontally and not vertically like it was when I had just purchased it from a store.
A: Aloe vera is a desert plant. It likes long hours of sunlight and high temperatures. It also does best when soil is extremely well drained.
Your aloe vera plant is stretching out because it’s looking for light. It’s very difficult to give it enough sunshine in our climate unless one acquires hydroponic lights. Very likely it’s also being kept too moist.
When you replant it, try using a cactus potting mix or make sure at least one quarter of any other potting mix is grit. A six-inch pot should be the right size for it.
It’s best to let your aloe vera dry right out between waterings.
Anne Marrison is happy to answer garden questions. Send them to email@example.com.