Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: wild bees  (Read 13650 times)

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: wild bees
« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2011, 11:27:27 pm »
Hi Suziequeue: I do have a tiny quince/japonica which has some flowers on but it's taking its time getting established.  I grew up in Norfolk where we had a huge one on each side of the front door - always buzzing with bees.  Looks like mine will take a while to get to that size  ;D.
I watched Chris Packhams programme the other night (an animals view of Britian I think it's called)and he did a feature on bumble bees, which as you can imagine really pleased me  :)  I hadn't realised that some bumble bee groups have up to 400 bees in.  Nor that the smaller bumbles are workers.  Fascinating that bumble bees don't like the smell of mammalian breath in case it means a predator.  A researcher from Stirling Uni had a camera on a bees ground nest - which was predated by great tits, crows and a squirrel - now that surprised me  8)  The reason for the research, which is government funded is that bumble bee numbers are falling frighteningly.  I missed the precise figures, but I think he said that a large bumble bee colony of say 400 bees will pollinate more flowers more effectively than a hive of 60,000 honey bees, because they are far more efficient pollinators.  So bumble bees really are more important then even I as their number one fan had thought.  Another interesting fact from Chris Packham was that today, urban gardens are of enormous importance to bumble bees because of the large number of flowers and quiet grassy edges - as long as people grow single flowers
Today when I was at Palacerigg for the Easter Event, opposite our stand in  the dripping marquee was the British Bee keepers association stand.  Most of the posters were about bumble bees and there was plenty of time to speak with the man there, so I've been learning more.  I had noticed that bumble bees often carry mites and had wondered about trying to pick them off, but this chap said that entomologists have told him not to as some are actually simbiotic, so they need them.  Some of course are not, but how would you tell?  Another thing this chap told me is that it is illegal to destroy the nests of many species of bumble bee - good, but I can't help but wonder who would notice, poor things.
The bumble bees here have been having a whale of a time in the warm weather, with willow flowers, daffodils, clematis, primroses, fruit blossom, loads of flowers - this must be a wonderful time for them.



Oh - this thread seems to have taken a turn.....

I was going to say Fleecewife that the wild bees around here love my ornamental quince which started to flower end of March time I think ...... not sure how it would fare up country though
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

suziequeue

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Llanidloes; Powys
Re: wild bees
« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2011, 03:15:25 pm »
That's really interesting FW.

I think we have more wild bees this year - or it may be that I am in the garden more nowadays. Anyway - it's very heartening to see them and there seem to be a number of different types of wooly bottoms.

I am trying to grow bee friendly flowers and stuff but don;t think I would ever be able to keep my own bees for honey.
We do the best we can with the information we have

When we know better we do better

Hatty

  • Joined Feb 2011
Re: wild bees
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2011, 11:30:23 pm »
Borage is a really good one for the bees, I was surprised about bumble bees living as a colony too!  :bee:
How long did you say it would take me to dig this 5 acres with my spade?

Plantoid

  • Joined May 2011
  • Yorkshireman on a hill in wet South Wales
Re: wild bees
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2011, 12:47:17 am »
Do the wild bees  make good honey or are they just disease carriers.   Do beekeepers put them in to a deomestic hive or not or are they just smoked out and left to die?

 Wild bees frequently carry disease and beekeepers that take ferral swarms frequently bring  problems into their apiaries , not many apairies are free from disease in any case .

 As such you dont smoke a nest of bees out you smoke the swarm or a hive to quieten them down .. they  get a pheromone message from  the queen that tells them they need to take on as much honey as possible incase they have to evacuate the hive/nest this taking on honey seems to make them drowsy /docile.

 On numerous occasions I was called in by the local authority to deal with swarms of bees that had settled in public places /buildings such as  libraries , hospitals,  schools, swimming pools etc.
I was not allowed to try and collect the swarm or remove a nest due to the envisaged danger to the public and consequent possible legal actions of being sued if someone died from anaphalatic ( sp ) shock after getting stung .
Though I did attend a college one evening and physically removed half a ceiling to totally remove all traces of bees & a massive long term fully developed ferral nest which stretched some 16 feet back into the class room across four roof joists .

But usually  I had to use a fast evaporating  aerosol and spray the bee swarm /nest  ..the resultant evaporation of the spray actually froze the bees and killed them in a fraction of a second . As soon as any stragglers reformed I had to spray them again & again  till there were no further reforming attempts . ( think this is still the require & approved way under the same circumstances )

What most people do not know is that left to their own a swarm of bees will usually have found a new home by night fall or over the next day unless the weather suddenly turns cold and wet .

 On occasions where the ferral bees  were collectable I usually put them in one of several  isolation hives sites  some 7 miles from  my home and inserted anti vrroa strips , filled the crown board feeded with syrup and returned a week later . If the bees were still there and had worked the new brood box I'd check the bees over for health  . If it all looked good I usually brough them to  one of my five main apiaries and united them to a smaller colony using a couple of sheets of The Times newspaper  between the brood boxes with several small holes pierced in the news sheet to allow the bees to smell each other and slowly eat their way through the barrier instead of killing each other off in the battle royal you'd get if you just dumped new bees in on an old bee hive.

 If the bees were in poor condition I'd wait till evening when all bees were in the brood box & usually poured in a 1/4 pint of petrol and closed up the hive for half an hour to kill them all and stop whatever was  doing themin from spreading .

 Once killed off I'd  set the brood box  a bit away and burn off all the frames , comb and dead bees . This done I'd then put the brood box in big poly bags and bring them into my fumigating shed , undo everything and fumigate them with a sulphur candle for a 24 hour stint.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2011, 02:01:22 am by Plantoid »
International playboy & liar .
Man of the world not a country

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: wild bees
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2011, 01:05:53 am »
Hi Plantoid.  The original question was about wild bees, by which I mean native bumble bees and the like as opposed to feral honey bees, which are not native.  Do wild bees pose a disease threat to honey bees, and vice versa, or is there no contact between the two types?
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Plantoid

  • Joined May 2011
  • Yorkshireman on a hill in wet South Wales
Re: wild bees
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2011, 01:49:50 am »
Hi Plantoid.  The original question was about wild bees, by which I mean native bumble bees and the like as opposed to feral honey bees, which are not native.  Do wild bees pose a disease threat to honey bees, and vice versa, or is there no contact between the two types?

 I have seen some parasites on bumble bees and solitary bees that are visiting our left to seed brassicas today . They look like brauler ( sp ) I didn't have my reading glasses on ( I'm at that certain age ) but they were the brauler  deep rich chestnut brown .

 As bumble bees are much more hairy than honey bees they do not seem affected by varroa  but I think that they are affected by all sorts of diseases found in honey bees that arise from mould / dampness.

 Luckily most native bees are able to work the flowers  at just over 45 oF and fly well into dusk if it is warm enough whereas honey bees only really start flying at 50 oF and go to bed when it's cold  or dark.

Bees of all persuasions will visit the same flower if it is still producing nectar .. or pollen so I'd guess that  the parasites do get passed on in this way and so will some of the maladies from spores or bacteria left by one species.


 It may well be that because a bee is sick enough for things to be passed on it will not make the outward or return flight from the forage source whilst those inside the hive dedicated to nursing or house tasks will just die in the hive producing  spores and more infecting bacteria.

 I have never come across a dying non honey bee nest ... all the various bumble bee nests I've had to deal with were usually full of black flying vicious golfball sized critters  .  They have one of the worse stings imagineable, the sting can go right through a bee suit , thick sweat top shirt and tee shirt  I can tell you . I hurt for days and a had a 56 inch tripple D cup on my breast/with a nipple like a chapel hat peg for nearly a week .

 Each year my small holding had dozens of relocated bumble bee nests , each in it's own small pile of well composted grass cuttings .

 The commercial poly tunnel growers  and seed merchants who grow isolated polytunnel or fully netted stock buy in  live laboratory produced bumble bee colonies for pollenation purposes .
It was one area I was looking at wrt bees but rather expensive to set up and market .. I think most of the pollenating bumble bee colonies are imports from Holland and very very  clean .

 Now we have much more bee friendly agricultural sprays  bees are suppose to be getting a better deal but other man made pollution  seems to be knocking that one into touch ..
In China in certain parts people are having to hand pollenate all crops with hand held pollenating wands ..there are no bees or insects of any kind to do the job they are all dead and have been missing of over 7 years all due to pollution effects..
« Last Edit: May 19, 2011, 02:11:49 am by Plantoid »
International playboy & liar .
Man of the world not a country

Hatty

  • Joined Feb 2011
Re: wild bees
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2011, 08:46:57 am »


 
 Now we have much more bee friendly agricultural sprays  bees are suppose to be getting a better deal but other man made pollution  seems to be knocking that one into touch ..



Or so we all thought check out this link the has been a lot in the news about this!!!

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.britishbeekeeping.com%2Fneonics.php&h=1c745

hope it works!!

If you use facebook this guy is worth adding lots of interesting info on bees and related topics

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/BarefootBeekeeper

How long did you say it would take me to dig this 5 acres with my spade?

 

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