Conservation & Safety Note
Although I was able to record one in this case, bumblebee nests are best appreciated from a distance.
My number one ground rule as a wildlife sound recordist is to avoid causing unnecessary disturbance to species or habitats; I therefore spend a lot of time in the field — most of it, in fact — carefully considering my approaches before pressing record.
By sheer chance, overhanging/surrounding vegetation close to the nest featured in this entry allowed me to position a couple of very small, unobtrusive microphones in front of it, without causing disturbance. I spent about twenty minutes standing well back, gently manoeuvring them into place with a long stick between bee entries and exits. The fact that the main part of the nest was sheltered underground in an old rodent burrow also helped.
Most other bumblebee nests aren’t as well-positioned, and can be quite exposed; getting too close could potentially disturb the bees and lead to defensive behaviour if they feel the nest is threatened.
Please visit the following BBCT page for more info.