Bees!
Old 05-16-2013, 12:50 PM   #1
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Default Bees!

For all things relating to the keeping of bees for fun and profit, or any other reason (most of them are good reasons).

There's a lot of information scattered around various threads and rather than try to hunt it all down and repost it, I figured I'd start clean.

The first thing I want to do is post some resources for peeps who are interested in beekeeping but aren't doing it yet. Obviously beekeeping is something you can't just do, like buying a new TV. There's a lot to it. Fortunately, information is readily available!

My first link in this thread will be to a set of videos. These videos are actually recorded webinars run by Brushy Mountain Bee Farm, a producer that sells beekeeping equipment and related things. I won't endorse them over other equipment manufacturers, but their video webinars are invaluable. Most of them are well over an hour long (a couple are over two!), so make sure you have the time to sit and listen to what's basically a lecture. The videos are essentially narrated PowerPoint shows, although some other media like full motion video occasionally features in the presentations. But the information is very sound and given by reliable beekeeping experts. The vids can be found here.

Before you watch any of the other videos, if you are not a beekeeper yet but thinking about it, you should watch video #5, "Getting Started in Beekeeping - what does it take?". It's one of the only videos I can find that, rather than assuming you are going to keep bees and beginning technical instruction about bees and hive components and stuff, this video assumes you haven't decided yet, and goes over what you need to think about and consider before committing to starting a hive.
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Old 05-16-2013, 01:10 PM   #2
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Old 05-16-2013, 01:34 PM   #3
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My uncle used to keep bees. Don't know why he stopped.
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Old 05-16-2013, 04:51 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Sally Rosebud View Post
My uncle used to keep bees. Don't know why he stopped.

Bees don't take a lot of effort to maintain; but starting them over takes a bit more. If it's a really bad year and the bees don't make it, sometimes people who've kept them a long time don't have the will, health, or resources to start over like that.
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Old 05-16-2013, 04:51 PM   #5
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:11 PM   #6
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That's awesome. I didn't know that swarming bees don't sting. How cool is that?
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:29 PM   #7
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Yeah but I read if they are a "dry swarm" they will sting.

Whatever that is.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:44 PM   #8
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That's awesome. I didn't know that swarming bees don't sting. How cool is that?
See, a less scrupulous beekeeper, completely unlike myself as a RL teenager, might neglect to point that out in an attempt to look fearless and confident in front of watching girls.

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Yeah but I read if they are a "dry swarm" they will sting.

Whatever that is.
It means it's been a few days since they left the original hive and are getting hungry. Right before leaving, all the bees going with the swarm will fill up with as much honey as they can. But bees' crops aren't like our stomachs; they're more like cars' gas tanks - the honey isn't digested all at once but held and slowly used as needed. If it's been three or four days and they still haven't found a suitable new home, their food levels will be low and it makes them cranky.
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Old 05-17-2013, 04:59 AM   #9
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Yeah, I get in a good mood when you fill me with honey, too.

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Old 05-17-2013, 07:43 PM   #10
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I walked thru a swam of bees once - this is what they looked like on my return trip home 5 mins later:



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Old 05-17-2013, 08:41 PM   #11
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Where's the WOW! button?
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Old 05-17-2013, 08:53 PM   #12
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I walked thru a swam of bees once - this is what they looked like on my return trip home 5 mins later:



That is simply beautiful and a classic swarm cluster. Call me next time! I'd have loved to have caught that one!
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Old 05-17-2013, 10:56 PM   #13
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That is simply beautiful and a classic swarm cluster. Call me next time! I'd have loved to have caught that one!
Haha. I was in the middle of the swarm before I realized they were bees. I just thought "holy crap, BEES, walk slow and don't look them in the eyes" All was well.
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Old 05-18-2013, 03:11 PM   #14
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Old 05-18-2013, 07:59 PM   #15
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So as you learn more about bees, you may hear or read the term "balling" from time to time. Balling is what bees will do to a queen who, for whatever reason, they're trying to kill. They pack themselves in a very tight ball (hence the term) around the queen and essentially heat-smother her to death. Interestingly, they never just sting the queen to death, though that would take significantly less time and effort.

Observe:


As I said, bees ball a queen when they want her to die. This can be because she's a foreign queen (as in, from another hive) that accidentally strayed into the hive somehow - rare, but it happens under certain circumstances. Or, the bees might wish to kill their own queen that they have decided to "supercede", or replace, with a new one that they'll raise from brood. Bees may choose to supercede a queen because she is running "dry" so to speak, or is injured or under-performing in some way.

It's very important when installing bees from a package to introduce the new queen correctly and visit the colony sparingly for the first couple of weeks; cuz they may ball her as a foreign queen, or decide that your too-often interruptions are somehow all her fault and ball her even after initially accepting her.
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Old 05-25-2013, 02:07 PM   #16
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Round-Up ready bees taken and killed by Illinois Dept of Ag. Monsanto, anyone?

http://www.globalresearch.ca/illinoi...queens/5336210

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The Illinois Ag Dept. illegally seized privately owned bees from renowned naturalist, Terrence Ingram, without providing him with a search warrant and before the court hearing on the matter, reports Prairie Advocate News.

Behind the obvious violations of his Constitutional rights is Monsanto. Ingram was researching Roundup’s effects on bees, which he’s raised for 58 years. “They ruined 15 years of my research,” he told Prairie Advocate, by stealing most of his stock.

A certified letter from the Ag Dept.’s Apiary Inspection Supervisor, Steven D. Chard, stated:

“During a routine inspection of your honeybee colonies by … Inspectors Susan Kivikko and Eleanor Balson on October 23, 2011, the bacterial disease ‘American Foulbrood’ was detected in a number of colonies located behind your house…. Presence of the disease in some of your colonies was confirmed via test results from the USDA Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland that analyzed samples collected from your apiary….”

Ingram can prove his bees did not have foulbrood, and planned to do so at a hearing set in April, but the state seized his bees at the end of March. They have not returned them and no one at the Ag Dept. seems to know where his bees are.

The bees could have been destroyed, or they could have been turned over to Monsanto to ascertain why some of his bees are resistant to Roundup. Without the bees as evidence, Ingram simply cannot defend against the phony charges of foulbrood.

Worse, all his queens died after Kivikko and Balson “inspected” his property, outside of his presence and without a warrant.

Of note, Illinois beekeepers are going underground after Ingram’s experience and refuse to register their hives, in case the state tries to steal their private property on phony claims.

The ACLU lawyers are going to be all over this like... well, like bees on honey.
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Old 05-25-2013, 05:26 PM   #17
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Behind the obvious violations of his Constitutional rights is Monsanto.
God I hate that sentence
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Old 05-25-2013, 05:52 PM   #18
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Don't hate the sentence; hate Monsanto.
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Old 05-25-2013, 07:19 PM   #19
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They are why I hate the sentence
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Old 05-25-2013, 08:58 PM   #20
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I am sorry, but I'll need more information than this article provides; and unfortunately, I can't find any other articles about this situation (apart from blog entries linking back to this article). Nor can I find any reference to "renowned naturalist Terrence Ingram" or anything suggesting what in particular he's supposed to be renown for, outside of this article and its mirrors.

I do not know what is going on here; but the whole situation does not make sense to me. Particularly what "Roundup-resistant bees" is supposed to mean. Roundup is a surfactant herbicide, not an insecticide. I suppose if you soaked a bee in it you might drown the bee; but otherwise? Just about every bee is "resistant" because it doesn't work on bees or any bugs. I do not use Roundup because I'm decidely not a fan of Monsanto; but, some beekeepers tell me they use the stuff under and immediately around their hives and like honey badgers the bees don't even care. Maybe this guy might've accidentally got some on his bees, observed that they weren't affected, and thought he'd discovered something special.

In Ohio, after being notified you were infected with AFB you had to destroy that colony. AFB is that disease for honey bees; it's so bad and contagious that the bees and usually the equipment must be incinerated to prevent the spread of the spores which cause the disease. In Ohio at least, within one year you have to prove that your yard is free of AFB or your colonies can be confiscated and destroyed by the state. It's not some special procedure; it's in the state's bee law. I don't know what the specific law is in Illinois but it's probably very similar.

Since it is now two years since the 2011 inspection, I can't help but think there was more to this story than the state suddenly showing up out of the blue and confiscating this poor guy's bees that's not being mentioned.
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Old 05-26-2013, 11:48 AM   #21
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Same law in France AFB is a serious problem and hive must be destroyed, because of contagion.
And beside we could ask Ingram why he was researching Roundup’s effects on bees.
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Old 05-26-2013, 09:14 PM   #22
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Since the story above disturbed me a bit, I've been digging into it quite a bit. I finally found a whole thread about it on a beekeeping forum I frequent, and discovered some interesting information in it.

For one thing, this incident seems to have taken place a year ago. Like, almost exactly a year ago, minus maybe three or four days; which might explain why it suddenly resurged now - people noticed the month and day lined up but evidently missed they were one year off. The thread represented a few days debate and hasn't been posted to since this time last year.

In any case, there was a lot of back and forth in the thread. But out of all the interesting posts, two of them I felt shed the most light on the matter. They are these:

Quote:
Just received an email from the Illinois State Beekeepers Association. It doesn't identify the beekeeper but since there seems to be such an uproar about this case I am assuming this is what the email refers to.

Here is the text-

-------
These are the facts concerning the AFB affected hives:

1) An Illinois State Bee Inspector inspected the hives and found the presence of American Foul Brood. The inspector reported these findings to Supervisor Steve Chard, Illinois Department of Agriculture, and the initial findings were also reported to to the hives' owner.
2) Mr. Chard sent another Bee Inspector to the apiary in question, along with original Inspector, who confirmed the presence of American Foul Brood.
3) Samples were taken from the hive and sent to the USDA Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville Maryland. They confirmed that it was indeed American Foul Brood.
4) The owner was notified that he was in violation, was sent a copy of the USDA laboratory results and was told to destroy the hives in accordance with Illinois State statutes.
5) After numerous notices from the Illinois Department of Agriculture the owner refused to destroy the infected colonies.
6) The Department abated the nuisance, as specified by the Illinois Bees and Apiaries Act.
7) A hearing was held in Springfield. where the owner was present and was allowed to rebut any and all statements, plus allowed to ask any questions of Department staff present at the hearing. The State then issued a penalty to the owner for failure to abate the nuisance.

ISBA
------
Contrary to the impression lent by the news article, the hearing was not set up to give Mr. Ingram a chance to provide "evidence that his bees didn't have" American Foul Brood; but was a hearing set up to give Mr. Ingram a chance to argue for why he shouldn't be penalized for failing to act after multiple inspections and multiple notices that his hives had been confirmed positive for AFB and needed to be destroyed.

There were a couple of posts from people directly familiar with Mr. Ingram and none of them supported him. This post is representative:

Quote:
They moved the hives 18 miles to a state highway yard to burn them. The fact that he was gone was just good luck on the inpsectors part. They planned to move them and burn them so they could avoid any more conflict if he was home. He is a very aggressive person and has made threats of harming people in the past. He stated at one of our meetings he took out his shotgun and told the county guy spraying weeds on the road if he came near his place he would be sorry. There is no research for roundup, how can you state that you have research going back five years then at every picknic every year he states all his bees died over winter and he had to buy packages to start again. The lies keep coming and now he has made his bed and will sleep in it.
Others were longer; but they all seem to agree that Mr. Ingram was generally full of it and was misrepresenting what happened.
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Old 06-13-2013, 01:03 PM   #23
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Honey bee losses double in a year due to poor winter

Help us Obi Wan Ken-Dakota. You're our only hope!

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Old 06-14-2013, 06:43 PM   #24
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Beware biotech companies bearing gifts...

Quote:
At the close of Monsanto Co.’s “Bee Health Summit” Thursday, at least a few beekeepers in attendance were still a little incredulous about where they’d just spent the last three days.

“I can’t believe I’m at Monsanto,” said Gene Brandi, a beekeeper from California, echoing a colleague’s comments from the previous night. “But the honey bees brought me here.”

The conference, which began Tuesday, was an effort by the Creve Coeur-based biotechnology giant to introduce itself to the beekeeping industry — a community in which it could find customers one day, and one that has some Monsanto skeptics in its ranks.

“The goal in my mind was pretty simple,” said Jerry Hayes, a veteran bee expert who leads Monsanto’s bee research efforts. “To connect the beekeeping industry more closely to Monsanto, and to connect Monsanto more closely to the beekeeping industry. They’ve heard all the big scary stuff about the company. We want to raise their comfort level.”

The company is working on a new technology intended to control a tiny insect, called the varroa mite, that has been a major factor in the decimation of honey bees. If Monsanto successfully brings the technology to market, it could be a blockbuster.

“We have something we think we can offer in the way of technology,” said Kerry Preete, Monsanto’s executive vice president for global strategy. “We know that honey bee health is critical to our mission.”

Over the past decade, the global honey bee population has plummeted. In the U.S., the population has declined by an average of about 30 percent every year since 2006.

The causes of the bee health decline are complex and include varroa mites, the viruses they transmit, poor nutrition, pesticides, declining habitat and less forage. In agricultural areas, some believe, bee health is especially troubled because the insects have less diverse food options. All of these factors, experts believe, have led to the syndrome known as Colony Collapse Disorder.

“It’s never been more difficult to keep bees alive,” Brand said, underscoring the frustration, even desperation, of many in the room. Bees pollinate nearly $20 billion in American crops each year, and up to $220 billion globally. Their plummeting numbers have researchers, beekeepers, academics, and increasingly, private sector companies scrambling to come up with solutions that have proved frustratingly elusive.

Monsanto announced on Thursday the formation of its Honey Bee Advisory Council, made up of academics, beekeepers, industry associations and government sectors. The council will act as an external adviser to the company on honey bee health.

Two years ago Monsanto bought the Israeli company Beeologics, which it believes is on the road to a fix. Beeologics researchers are using regulatory RNA, which regulates or modifies how a plant — or in this case, insect — works. A solution would be fed to the bees, and the mites would ingest it via their bee hosts, and the gene within the mite that transmits viruses would be “turned off.” In theory, this would control mite populations and the viruses they carry.

The technology is in the very early stages of discovery.

“Research takes time, and you can’t expect a timeline for when you’ll get results,” said Alex Inberg, who heads the varroa mite project for Beeologics. “We’re in a very good place, but we have a lot of work to do.”

That work includes gaining the trust of beekeepers who worry that any new technology could make them dependent on yet another chemical — in the already overloaded, stressed and medicated hives they’re struggling to maintain.

One beekeeper told the audience that he was worried a new product would put him on another “treadmill.”

“I’d have to continue to supply it,” he said. “As soon as I stop, that varroa mite is going to come back in my hive.”

Another worried about the company’s plans to create a genetically engineered “super bee.”

To that, Hayes said: “Monsanto has no intention of genetically modifying a bee, or having a bee that pollinates Monsanto-only crops. Our goal is to protect bee health.”
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Old 06-14-2013, 08:45 PM   #25
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Monsanto announced on Thursday the formation of its Honey Bee Advisory Council, made up of academics, beekeepers, industry associations and government sectors. The council will act as an external adviser to the company on honey bee health.
In all honesty, they should have called it the Monsanto Exoneration Council, for all the good it will do.
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Old 06-15-2013, 04:05 AM   #26
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Just hearing the name Monsanto give me gooseskins.
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Old 06-17-2013, 10:33 PM   #27
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Meh. If Monsanto wants to try and convince people it is not bad, I will give anyone a fair shot, even them.

So far, merely hosting a bee conference and announcing an interest in maybe developing a mite treatment is nice but doesn't make a convincing statement by itself.
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Old 06-18-2013, 01:32 AM   #28
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Every time I see this thread in passing, that's my immediate thought. That above. I didn't first see it in this thread here, but elsewhere.

Someone says bees, I immediately think Oprah gifting an excited audience with bees (or, I mean, writes; or says in specific way).

I hear an elevator beep, I immediately have desire to fall to floor and cower in anticipation of an elevator exploding (re: Die Hard).

The things that get stuck in my head. Songs tend to not get stuck, but things like the above does. I'm not sure which is worse. And by the above, I don't mean that I just think of those things, sometimes, in passing. I mean, Bees! => immediate thought of Oprah gif. Elevator beep (the right kind of elevator sound, mind), => expect explosion. Every time.

I don't get "rain drops keep falling on my head", or "it's raining men" or "mambo number 5", or etc. running through my head (the songs, not just those phrases), I get these sense connections.
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Old 06-18-2013, 04:22 PM   #29
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Mosanto bees double plus ungood.
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:25 PM   #30
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One more proof of evolution..Special thanks to Monsanto

http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/con...3/s3779027.htm

Some transgenic wheat plants discovered on a farm in Oregon have caused confusion Thursday, May 30, on the world market for grain. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced yesterday, in a statement that "the results of tests on samples of plants from a farm in Oregon indicated the presence of transgenic wheat plants resistant Glyphosate " , the active ingredient in herbicides such as Roundup. Of field trials of this type of wheat were conducted by Monsanto between 1998 and 2004 before being abandoned.
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:34 PM   #31
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What Monsanto is doing to nature, merchant of you, you think you control everything, but the seeds and pollen are moving freely and it will comes back to you in the face. Monsanto is the cynical guise of progress, money and power are their sole purpose + the control of global agriculture.
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Old 07-16-2013, 12:46 PM   #32
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This bee related "re-homing" is in a neighboring town to mine. The house where they moved the bees from is a really nice town, with lots of people who are probably relatively knowledgeable about this type of thing, hence why they didn't outright kill them off.

I thought some of you may be interested. Sucks that there are so many ads when you click through the photos. Still, a good read and visuals.

http://www.nj.com/suburbannews/index..._park_for.html
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:21 PM   #33
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Putting this here for Cody.

Totally loaded down with pollen

Slow bee iz slow.

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Old 07-25-2013, 12:42 PM   #34
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A friendly carpenter bee! They are cool; but they are limited to what flowers they can forage because they're too big and heavy for many of them.
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:44 PM   #35
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I love carpenter bees- they've protected me from many a yellowjacket while I was high up on a ladder somewhere, fixing a house. We used to call them "wolf-bees" because they were so cool to watch hunting.
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:14 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakota Tebaldi View Post
A friendly carpenter bee! They are cool; but they are limited to what flowers they can forage because they're too big and heavy for many of them.
What do they typically go after?

I have a lot of roses and a crazy amount of hydrangeas in my back yard (the photo was taken on my back stairs).
I also have an ancient PeeGee Hydrangea tree that is just opening up. That thing attracts bees like nobodies business I seem to remember.
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:51 PM   #37
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Really? Carpenter bees eat yellowjackets? Can we buy carpenter bees?

We seem to have a very active bumblebee population - much more than last year, and last year we had a ton of yellowjackets. Do bumblebees hunt yellowjackets?
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Old 07-25-2013, 07:24 PM   #38
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Quote:
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What do they typically go after?
I cannot tell you! I'm only the honey bee kid. Kind of embarrassing, actually...heh...
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:58 AM   #39
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The problem w/ carpenter bees is that they like to burrow into wood. If you have wood siding on your home, it's not advisable to encourage their presence- they don't do any structural damage, but a lot of 1/4- 1/2" holes in your trim/soffits can be annoying.
More on them:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpenter_bee

Bumblebees and carpenter bees look something alike, but bumblebees are fuzzier, and smaller.

eta: PS: News story re. bumblebee resurgence around Seattle:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...96I0H220130719
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Old 07-26-2013, 12:07 PM   #40
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I got a hive of honeybees earlier this year. They seem to be very happy so far and filled up both supers with which we started. I added a third super a few weeks ago. Annoyingly they decided to attach all of the comb to the sides of the hive, which makes getting frames out a sticky chore, but I think the garden appreciates the effort. My recovering knee has limited my involvement with them, so I'm a bit more of a "bee haver" at the moment than a beekeeper, but they don't mind so far.
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