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walt lister

Bees

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WyomingArt

About 3-4 falls ago top seeded white clover on an acre of lawn a little for bee forage.  Only a few honey bees are working them right now, but the bumble bees use it.  When the raspberries flowered, the bumble bees were all over. I like those bumblebees, they get up early, work later than honey bees, work in colder weather than honey bees,  hardly ever sting.  

 

Kept 4-6 hives of bees until a couple pretty strong systemic reactions to stings changed my mind  i.e.  swollen to shoulder, lips swelling, took a couple Benedryl ,  got rid of the hives afterward.  

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quailguy

Found another photo of us feeding the honey bees down west of San Antonio.  This photo is from January 2015. A combination of drought and a warm

winter in 2014-2015 brought the honey bees out of hibernation.  Lack of nectar during spring/ summer/ fall caused a lack of honey In the hives. That shortage  brought out the bees in the thousands. They were starving and looked in every nook and cranny of trees, the house, bushes, etc.  We  put out 2-3 dishes of sugar water that I had to fill several times a day. 
I felt very sorry about the bees and did my best to keep ‘em going. Yeah, it was prolly stupid to feel sorry for bees, but I hated to just watch them starve.
Outside on the porch the bees were so thick that that my wife refused to go out on the porch due to the tremendous swarm of bees. They would swarm around you not to sting but desperate for food.  During that month or so until the weather got colder I was never stung. 
Here is the only photo of those bees feeding but it gives a good idea of the numbers.  
 

Feeding the Honey Bees January 2012

 

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Randy S

Was putting a second floor on my house a few years ago and noticed a few honey bees entering around the chimney. They would land on my tools and hands, sometimes even my face, but I gently brushed them away and was never stung. You can imagine my surprise when one afternoon thousands began swarming around my lift.

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I ended up tearing a hole in the side of the house and there were still thousands in that hive. Called a bee reclaimer to save them. I should have taken pictures of the comb. Was a solid block 12" deep in the ceiling joist. Easily 3 cubic feet. I harvested the honey that the bee keeper didn't take with the queen and most of the remaining swarm. Something like 36 pint jars. We still have more than 20. 

 

I mow a 60" swath, on a rider, for 54 miles every summer weekend at our airport. Lots of red and white clover and I hardly ever see a honey bee.  

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paul frey

My brother in law is a bee keeper and I just found out one of my gun club friends also keeps bees. I’ve thought about it but don’t have the time for that now

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Chukarman

On my property in SE Arizona there is at least one hive of bees. I do not know if they are native or domestic honey bees. I ENCOURAGE THEM ALL I CAN. No insecticides or herbicides on my ground. There is a fountain in my courtyard that the bees and birds, as well as rabbits, deer and ground squirrels use. I planted half a dozen Blenheim apricot trees and a couple acres of mixed wildflower seed. The forbs should be growing soon as the monsoon is underway and we are getting rain every day or so. As soon as I am done working on the house I'll be spending more time on the grounds and encouraging native plants for the benefit of native birds and insect species.

 

Great thread... thanks Walt!

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WI Outdoor Nut

Timely subject - I have an old outbuilding that is across the road from my house.  The neighbor who lives right next to the building said he saw a swarm of bees when he fired up his lawn mower.  Sure enough, they made a home in my building.  Must have been a few 1000 bees.  I don't want them in my building, but don't want them killed either.  My neighbor knew a bee keeper and asked if he could harvest them and transfer the bees to a new location.  A win-win in my book. 

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GLS

Walt, dunno feeder style you use, but the Hummzinger feeder cured my bee problem.  Far easier to clean than the tube type as well.  With the amount of hummers you have in the SW, I can see how the tube type is popular due to the volume of sugar water consumed by the greater numbers of birds than what we normally have here.  While the Hummzinger comes in two sizes, 12 and 8 oz., I don't think it can hold as much "nectar" as some of the tube types I've seen around. Gil

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quailguy
1 hour ago, GLS said:

Walt, dunno feeder style you use, but the Hummzinger feeder cured my bee problem.  Far easier to clean than the tube type as well.  With the amount of hummers you have in the SW, I can see how the tube type is popular due to the volume of sugar water consumed by the greater numbers of birds than what we normally have here.  While the Hummzinger comes in two sizes, 12 and 8 oz., I don't think it can hold as much "nectar" as some of the tube types I've seen around. Gil

When hummingbirds were really hungry and thirsty due to the drought we went through 10 pounds of sugar a week. I knew a guy in the Davis Mountains of West Texas  who went through 40 pounds of sugar a week. We also had every Oriole within 5 miles hitting the feeders and they could really drain feeders. Tube feeders are really a must if you’ve lots of customers.  

Male Scott’s Oriole

male Scott's oriole


Really crappy pic of male Baltimore Oriole

Male Baltimore Oriole

The normal summer evenings customer gaggle, mostly Black Chin hummingbirds

DSCN0132

 

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GLS

QG, other than casual West-East migration  in the winter, our birds are limited to the Ruby Throated which under most conditions are about as pugnacious as a pit bull with a loose screw.  If they were the size of pigeons, a feeder would be deep in feathered gore as they will run off any other approaching birds.  Apparently western birds seem to get along better with one another than the RT.  I've seen one set of circumstances when the Ruby's were at peace with one another.  What passes for a botanical garden here hosts lots of birds.  A prior manager set up about 5 feeders made up of plastic soft drink bottles, liter sized, which screwed into feeding stations.  He set them up on the eave of a tool shed.  At anytime during the day, there'd be over 50 birds swarming without fighting, patiently awaiting an open tube.  It was amazing.  I never seen them like that before or after.  His wife complained at the cost of feeding those birds but he didn't mind.  Gil

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Chukarman

When I lived in Northern California the only hummingbirds I would see were Anna's Hummingbirds and I always kept a feeder out for them. Here in SE Arizona we have 15 species of hummers. Fascinating little birds. I keep a feeder out for them, which they share with the bees.

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GLS

I used to say that my favorite two birds were hummers on the small end and gobblers on the big end.  Woodcock have worked their way into the list in the past 10 years.  In the past 30 years, I've had Rufous , Black-chinned show up in my yard in the middle of winter here in the Georgia lowcountry.  Another man has documented a Calliope which returned to his feeder for several years.  I have on video (somewhere) a Black-chinned feeding at my feeder hanging from a blooming camelia bush during a rare South Georgia snowstorm.  I kept the feeder from freezing by placing a droplight under it.  I persuaded mom and dad into feeding hummers and it was one of late dad's great joys after his stroke watching them feed.  At 92, mom keeps a feeder going throughout the summer. One winter there were three western birds in their yard.  The non-game division of DNR trapped two and was able to band one of the black-chinneds.  They handed it to my mom for release.  A mature Rufous  roosted nightly in a bare bush near their bedroom window.  For as long as it was there, it would fluff its feathers at dusk and go into a torpor for the night a foot from their window.  His color was that of a newly minted penny. Gil

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quailguy
31 minutes ago, GLS said:

I used to say that my favorite two birds were hummers on the small end and gobblers on the big end.  Woodcock have worked their way into the list in the past 10 years.  In the past 30 years, I've had Rufous , Black-chinned show up in my yard in the middle of winter here in the Georgia lowcountry.  Another man has documented a Calliope which returned to his feeder for several years.  I have on video (somewhere) a Black-chinned feeding at my feeder hanging from a blooming camelia bush during a rare South Georgia snowstorm.  I kept the feeder from freezing by placing a droplight under it.  I persuaded mom and dad into feeding hummers and it was one of late dad's great joys after his stroke watching them feed.  At 92, mom keeps a feeder going throughout the summer. One winter there were three western birds in their yard.  The non-game division of DNR trapped two and was able to band one of the black-chinneds.  They handed it to my mom for release.  A mature Rufous  roosted nightly in a bare bush near their bedroom window.  For as long as it was there, it would fluff its feathers at dusk and go into a torpor for the night a foot from their window.  His color was that of a newly minted penny. Gil

Female calliope.  She got smacked down in between the feeder body and the feeder rail by a male RT.  

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Adult male Rufous. We actually had numerous Rufous and Allen’s in the winter  

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You are very lucky to see such hummers in Georgia.  That is a long way from their stomping grounds.  

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h20fwler

I've got six hives out at the farms, four at one- two at the other place. My wife is very allergic to bee's and was so against me putting hives out a couple years ago...after she got the first honey she was all over it like the whole project was her idea from the start. She goes on and on now with bee/honey factoids like she invented beekeeping …bees are endangered, bees are so good for native habitat, honey is healthier than sugar, honey from your county can help you build positive antibodies in your system and on and on...….The honey is just a bonus the wife gives it all away to family and friends.

I just like bees...we have a couple small orchards and my wife loves wildflowers so I put a couple acres in for her..so needed the bees. The other day I counted six different kinds of bees in the pasture.

 

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Queen in the middle with the ghetto booty

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Got a couple mason bee houses out at the farm too

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drummer's stump

I took a bee keeping class this spring, and I am going to start 3 hives next year. It was too late in the year to get them, so I am gathering stuff for next year. I planted 12 acres of buckwheat in a clearcut that was seeded with spruce to act as a cover crop. I will put my hives on that, between the raspberries,clover, golden rod and buckwheat they should be productive hives. 

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h20fwler
2 minutes ago, drummer's stump said:

I took a bee keeping class this spring, and I am going to start 3 hives next year. It was too late in the year to get them, so I am gathering stuff for next year. I planted 12 acres of buckwheat in a clearcut that was seeded with spruce to act as a cover crop. I will put my hives on that, between the raspberries,clover, golden rod and buckwheat they should be productive hives. 

 

It's addictive and fun! They are a labor of love you will enjoy it, I check mine good every couple weeks. Its still hard not to loose a couple hives every winter even a mild winter...I just split an old one and carry on that seems to be the easiest. 

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