As soon as the weather got warm, I noticed that two bumblebees staked a claim in my terrace. One patrols the north side, and the other guards the east side. If they get into each other’s territory they scuffle, and sometimes they drop to the floor as they attack each other.
The bumblebees just seem to hover back-and-forth along “their” territory in spite of the high winds in the penthouse patio. They do this all day long. I don’t know what they eat to have all that energy. There are no flowers yet.
The bumblebees don’t seem to be interested in people. When I walk around in the patio, they just keep buzzing in their normal flight patterns. However, as soon as another bumblebee comes into their visual range, they chase after it. Sometimes, you will see a bumblebee take off in a hurry chasing after another bee that may be thirty feet away. Bumblebees really have good eyesight and great reflexes!
Several years ago, before I knew that the bumblebees were harmless if left alone, I doused one with the hose and it fell into a pool of water and drowned. I felt so guilty. This animal was not hurting me, and it was not harming my home, but I killed it. Now, I try to be more respectful of nature.
May 25, 2009 update. I was explaining to a visitor how the bumblebees are so protective of their territory. I told him that I wanted to try an experiment where we would toss a small stone toward each other in the area where the bumblebee was flying. Sure enough, as soon as the stone was in the air, the bumblebee flew toward it and tried to attack it. We stopped the game when the bumble bee got too close for our comfort.