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Its BEE season!

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Mar 9, 2012, 1:27pm   #1
CobaltBlu's Avatar
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CobaltBlu
NOTE: I bumped this thread today because it's bee season again in warmer areas, and want to make sure you are aware!




I thought I would start this thread in GD because as it gets warmer people are going to start seeing bees around, and possibly swarms of honeybees.

I am currently taking beekeeping classes and working with a beekeeping mentor. I am just starting out but if anyone has any questions please post them here and I will try to help or find out any answers from my beekeeper colleagues

I know lots of people are afraid of bees, and I totally understand that.

But bees are declining worldwide, and you can tell from my siggy that I am trying to do my little part to help

We have a gardening for honeybees thread HERE in Home and Garden, and there is a link in signature with more information.
Last edited Apr 16, 2013 at 6:21pm.
Mar 9, 2012, 1:35pm   #2
CobaltBlu's Avatar
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CobaltBlu
This is a picture of a honeybee SWARM:





Basically, it is a ball of bees hanging on to each other with their Queen in the center, protected by the worker bees. A swarm happens when its it time for a hive to split. The old queen takes off with worker bees who have filled their stomachs with honey.

They land in a tree (or mailbox, or anywhere they think is safe) and wait for their scouts to find a new location for their new home.

At this stage, because they are so vulnerable, they are quite docile, and because their stomachs are full of honey, it is difficult for them to sting. They are just focused on staying together and protecting the queen....

If you see this CALL A BEEKEEPER, NOT a pest control company. There are beekeeper organizations in every state, and in many large cities. A beekeeper can easily remove a swarm and will be so grateful for the opportunity in most cases.

Tell the beekeeper how long the swarm has been there and how high off the ground it is. A good beekeeper will also return in the evening to get any of the scouts that were missed when the main swarm is removed.

We just did a swarm removal this weekend. It is SO EASY. It was near the beeyard, to it was easy to just walk over and get them...The beekeeper owns small scaffolding, so even though it was in a tree it was easy. You just bang the branch them hard and they fall into a box! If the queen goes in the box (which she usually does) all the returning bees will just fly right in as well. Then he relocated them into a beehive box on the property.

Africanized bees are different, and we dont have them where I live so I cant speak much about them, but they do form smaller swarms and they swarm more frequently.

The main thing to remember if you see this is to call a beekeeper right away, because they can leave in a few hours, or stay for a day or longer....
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Last edited Apr 16, 2013 at 6:26pm.
Mar 9, 2012, 1:39pm   #3
nc.girl's Avatar
nc.girl
Girly Gear Head
That's really interesting! Kudos to you for trying to help sustain our honeybee population!
Mar 9, 2012, 1:52pm   #4
CobaltBlu's Avatar
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CobaltBlu
Here is a colony and their HIVE. This is inside a wooden beehive, so it is very tidy and uniform. But you can clearly see the comb, etc. It is pure white when it is brand new.

The bees have now set up HOME. If you see this, you also should call a BEEKEEPER. A beekeeper can remove the hive and save the bees in many situations, but not all.



It will start with the white comb like the small piece you see in front. if you see bees doing anything like that around your home, call right away!

Be sure to seal up any holes outside your home that bees can enter. If a scout thinks you home looks like a nice place, she will tell her 20,000 sisters and removing them from inside your walls along with the hive is very difficult, and can be costly...and of course bad for the bees and the bee situation.


If it is outside and not bothering you, you can leave it, of course....

Here is what a hive looks like hanging in a tree...

Mar 9, 2012, 2:22pm   #5
CobaltBlu's Avatar
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CobaltBlu
Bee trivia....

Bees have been here about 30 million years!

An average beehive can hold around 50,000 bees, most are female worker bees.

Foragers must collect nectar from about 2 million flowers to make 1 pound of honey

The average forager makes about 1/12 th of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime, which is 3-6 weeks

Average per capita honey consumption in the US is 1.3 pounds

Bees pollinate approximately 130 agricultural crops in the US including fruit, fiber, nut, and vegetable crops.

Bee pollination adds approximately 14 billion dollars annually to improved crop yield and quality.

Bee populations are declining worldwide at an alarming rate due to hive pests and environmental stressors.
Mar 9, 2012, 3:22pm   #6
meluvs2shop's Avatar
meluvs2shop
In Love
Great thread!
Mar 10, 2012, 10:51am   #7
R
Ratnapur
Gem rescuer!
Cobalt,

The buzz around TPF suggests you're one busy little bee! (Sorry--had to do it.)

Bees are fascinating little creatures, though I'm a bit fearful of them (I posted a few times in your other thread in Home & Garden). They're quite intelligent.

You know how they tell the others where the pollen is--the bee dance? I have a funny story about my co-workers. We work next to a large mall, and many of us hit that on our lunch hour, and bring back bargains; everyone crowds around the 1 or 2 women ("bees") while they show off the bargains: "Where did you find that? How much was it? Where in the store is it located?" Then, the next lunch hour crew goes out to those stores, and buys stuff. Just like the bees who go out to gather the pollen after the 2 workers tell them where the flowers are in relation to the sun...
Mar 10, 2012, 12:21pm   #8
CobaltBlu's Avatar
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CobaltBlu
Originally Posted by Ratnapur
Cobalt,

The buzz around TPF suggests you're one busy little bee! (Sorry--had to do it.)

Bees are fascinating little creatures, though I'm a bit fearful of them (I posted a few times in your other thread in Home & Garden). They're quite intelligent.

You know how they tell the others where the pollen is--the bee dance? I have a funny story about my co-workers. We work next to a large mall, and many of us hit that on our lunch hour, and bring back bargains; everyone crowds around the 1 or 2 women ("bees") while they show off the bargains: "Where did you find that? How much was it? Where in the store is it located?" Then, the next lunch hour crew goes out to those stores, and buys stuff. Just like the bees who go out to gather the pollen after the 2 workers tell them where the flowers are in relation to the sun...
Its exactly true!!!

mall waggle dance!!!


If anyone wants to see that, I posted pictures and a video in the Home and Garden thread about gardening for honeybees. Its fascinating.
Mar 10, 2012, 3:43pm   #9
R
Ratnapur
Gem rescuer!
Originally Posted by CobaltBlu
Its exactly true!!!

mall waggle dance!!!


If anyone wants to see that, I posted pictures and a video in the Home and Garden thread about gardening for honeybees. Its fascinating.

Yes! I couldn't remember the term. I now have a name for the human version--"The mall waggle dance"!

Bees are interesting. I once treated my niece, who's into insects, etc., to lunch--and we spent an hour chatting about bees. She was bowled over by the fact that office cubicles were inspired by hive cells. Kinda appropriate, huh? We're busy little bees at work--well, most of us.
Mar 10, 2012, 5:21pm   #10
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inpermafrost
Member
I love what bees do and get very concerned when I hear about their population declining but I'm not going to lie, they scare the crap out of me and those photos gave me the heebie jeebies.
Mar 10, 2012, 7:26pm   #11
M
MrsBradley
Member
Hi, great topic!!!
What do you think about that?

http://handpen.com/Bio/bees.html
Mar 11, 2012, 11:53am   #12
frick&frack's Avatar
frick&frack
'tis the season
I love bees! I'm not afraid of them at all. I've never been stung. they seem to like me, & I like them for some reason.

so great of you to do your part to help them, CobaltBlu!
Mar 11, 2012, 12:50pm   #13
mrskolar09's Avatar
mrskolar09
loves her Lab
Love this thread!

My dad is a beekeeper, I've grown up with them, and LOVE them!
Lol, I always take it personally when people says bees are 'mean', or confuse them with wasps/yellowjackets/etc. It's like having a family member insulted
Mar 11, 2012, 12:53pm   #14
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cosmogrl5
Member
I am hoping that this thread will cure me of my HUGE fear of bees. I'm absolutely terrified of them. Even hearing their buzzing scares me. I am thankful for their honey though. I do love me some honey! Anyway, keep the positive bee trivia coming.
Mar 11, 2012, 1:54pm   #15
CobaltBlu's Avatar
Thread Starter
CobaltBlu
Originally Posted by inpermafrost
I love what bees do and get very concerned when I hear about their population declining but I'm not going to lie, they scare the crap out of me and those photos gave me the heebie jeebies.



Originally Posted by MrsBradley
Hi, great topic!!!
What do you think about that?

http://handpen.com/Bio/bees.html
clothianidin is a huge issue and i havent seen anything that makes me disagree that it is a part of the die off. But there are also hive pests, too...the small hive beetle and the varroa mite, and the nosema virus. These are big issues, too. But these latter things are things you can observe in the hive and they build up.

When a whole group of workers bees leave for the day and none return, or when there are dead bees piled up in the front of the hive, well, there ya go.

It is absolutely criminal to me what Monsanto, Bayer, Dow and others are doing to our food supply and our environment. The GMO Bt corn is nothing but a horrible failure, and the repeated application of Roundup on all the Roundup ready GMO soy, corn, alfalfa, canola, and sugar beets is poisoning all of us. The bees are the canary in the coal mine, IMHO. BigFood needs to be reined in and we all need to educate ourselves on what we are putting on our tables.

Originally Posted by frick&frack
I love bees! I'm not afraid of them at all. I've never been stung. they seem to like me, & I like them for some reason.

so great of you to do your part to help them, CobaltBlu!
Thanks frick!!!

Originally Posted by mrskolar09
Love this thread!

My dad is a beekeeper, I've grown up with them, and LOVE them!
Lol, I always take it personally when people says bees are 'mean', or confuse them with wasps/yellowjackets/etc. It's like having a family member insulted
Thats great, MrsK!!

Originally Posted by cosmogrl5
I am hoping that this thread will cure me of my HUGE fear of bees. I'm absolutely terrified of them. Even hearing their buzzing scares me. I am thankful for their honey though. I do love me some honey! Anyway, keep the positive bee trivia coming.
Aww.....I know the buzzing can be intimidating, and of course it hurts when they sting But a worker bee out foraging just wants to get back to her sisters safely. By the time she has a lot of nectar in her, it is hard for her to sting.

A worker bee lives 3-6 weeks...when they emerge from their cell, they first crawl around and get used to the layout of the hive and the smell. Then they do housekeeping chores, like fanning the hive to regulate temperature and humidity, feeding the young, capping cells with honey and pollen in them, attending the queen, etc. Then when she is a little older she will take some short flights outside the hive to familiarize herself with the layout. Eventually she will go out and begin to forage for nectar, collecting pollen and pollinating flowers along her way...

Foraging is so dangerous, of course, so they send out the older ones to do it. They can get picked off by birds, sprayed with pesticides, get caught in the rain, etc....after a couple of weeks of flying several miles a day, the worker bee reaches the end of her life, usually her wings are tattered and she dies.

So, when you see a bee, you are seeing a hard working little creature who has already learned the skills of the hive, as well as how to find food and return home. She knows the earth is round, she knows how to convert distance into time and and she knows how to tell her sisters back home how far away the best nectar is in relation to the angle of the sun in the sky.
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