Bees - Scary?

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It would be an interesting experiment.
Some of the beeks in our club have had hives that have lasted five or six years that haven't been treated-those would be good hives to take splits from. That's what you want to look for, a local beek who has had his hives live through several winters or more. Catching a swarm would be good, but you have no idea where that swarm came from unless there's someone nearby keeping bees - even then there's no guarantee.
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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expounded:

There's tons of feral hives in the Portland metro area. There's a lot of people that track the locations of fruit trees in Portland, there are hundreds if not thousands of apple, plum and pear trees and this year we had an excellent pear and plum harvest from them, as well as apples. We have a hibiscus and apple in our yard ( the apple is young and isn't producing yet) and I was watching the bees visiting the hibiscus all summer. You can bet that there are no commercial beekeepers who are going around making sure the fruit trees in the downtown area are being pollenated! I also bought fruit from several hobby farmers in the outer metro area and none of them paid for beekeepers but they all saw plenty of bees this summer.
Ted
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Can't help thinking it is "Groundhog Day". We've had this conversation before, back in the Spring. People must be gettin' bored.
--
Bush Behind Bars

Billy

Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights.
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Billy wrote:

I must have missed that conversation being new to the group..
Ah well, not much to talk about now?
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Oh, just think of it as another "lip-syncin'" re-run of Law and Order with Lenny Brisco.

---------
Well, while everyone is having a hard time sleeping, anyway, here's some more fun:
http://www.indybay.org/news/2006/05/1819327.php
Effects of EMFs on Birds, Bees, Bat-Rays, Butterflies & Buzzards
Microwaves and Insects http://omega.twoday.net/stories/1448681 /
Effects of EMFs on Birds, Bees, Bat-Rays, Butterflies & Buzzards http://omega.twoday.net/stories/1369852 /
Mobile phones blamed for sparrow deaths http://omega.twoday.net/stories/1370183 /
Evidence of a conection between Sparrow decline and the introduction of Phone mast GSM http://omega.twoday.net/stories/1369577 /
The sparrows of London http://omega.twoday.net/stories/1368310 /
Bird on a wire theory needs closer look in disease watch http://omega.twoday.net/stories/1158189 /
Where have all the sparrows gone? http://omega.twoday.net/stories/1147135 /
Pulsed microwave radiation and wildlife - Are Cell Phones Wiping Out Sparrows? http://omega.twoday.net/stories/926007 /
Spanish paper on RF effects on birds http://omega.twoday.net/stories/904106 /
Birds suffer from biological effects of GSM, 3G (UMTS), DECT, WIFI, TETRA http://omega.twoday.net/stories/900299 /
Adverse Bioeffects on Animals near a New Zealand Radio Transmitter http://omega.twoday.net/stories/432402 /
Mobile phone mast blamed for vanishing pigeons http://omega.twoday.net/stories/286416 / ----------
Subject: Re: Bee dieoff Date: Fri, 4 May 2007 12:03:21 +0000 (UTC)
And another one...
Deserted beehives, starving young stun scientists
By Dan Vergano and Patrick O'Driscoll, USA TODAY Tue May 1, 7:08 AM ET
"The bees were gone," David Hackenberg says. "The honey was still there. There's young brood (eggs) still in the hive. Bees just don't do that." ADVERTISEMENT
On that November night last year in the Florida field where he wintered his bees, Hackenberg found 400 hives empty. Another 30 hives were "disappearing, dwindling or whatever you want to call it," and their bees were "full of a fungus nobody's ever seen before."
The discovery by Hackenberg, 58, a beekeeper from Lewisburg, Pa., was the first buzz about a plague that now afflicts 27 states, from the East Coast to the West. Beekeepers report losses of 30% to 90% of their honeybee hives, according to a Congressional Research Service study in March. Some report total losses.
Now a nationwide investigation, congressional panels and last week's U.S. Department of Agriculture scientific workshop swarm around the newly named "colony collapse disorder." Says the USDA's Kevin Hackett, "With more dead and weakened colonies, the odds are building up for real problems."
Busy bees
The $15-billion-a-year honeybee industry is about more than honey: The nimble insects pollinate 90% to 100% of at least 19 kinds of fruits, vegetables and nuts nationwide, from almonds and apples to onions and broccoli.
"Basically, everything fun and nutritious on your table - fruits, nuts, berries, everything but the grains - require bee pollinators," Hackett says.
Beekeepers, who travel nationwide supplying pollinators to farmers, have been losing honeybees for a long time, mostly a result of suburbs snapping up habitat and the invasion in the 1980s of two foreign parasitic mite species. As a result, bee colonies have declined 60% since 1947, from an estimated 5.9 million to 2.4 million, says entomologist May Berenbaum of the University of Illinois.
Each year, in fact, the bee industry supplies at least 1 million queens and packages of bees to replace lost hives, according to a 2006 National Research Council report. And sudden losses of hives have been reported since the 1800s.
But colony collapse disorder differs from past outbreaks:
Instead of dying in place, the bees abandon the hives, leaving behind the queen and young bees.
Remaining bees eat sparsely and suffer the symptoms - high levels of bacteria, viruses and fungi in the guts - seen by Hackenberg.
Collapses can occur within two days, Hackett says.
Parasites wait unusually long to invade abandoned hives.
Daniel Weaver, head of the 1,500-member American Beekeeping Federation, estimates that about 600,000 of 2 million hives (a more conservative number than other estimates) nationwide have been lost.
Weaver, of Navasota, Texas, says his hives have been spared the mystery affliction so far. "But if we go into another winter without understanding what's going on, the risk of a more devastating effect on beekeepers is a real possibility," he says.
Fittingly, in The Cherry Orchard, physician/playwright Anton Chekhov observed that when people offer many remedies for an illness, you can be sure it is incurable.
If so, the bees are in trouble. A colony collapse disorder working group based at Pennsylvania State University has become a central clearinghouse for all the suspected causes, which include:
An overload of parasites, such as bloodsucking varroa mites, that have ravaged bees. The parasites reportedly spread to Hawaii only last week.
Pesticide contamination. Hotly debated suspicion centers on whether "neonicotinoid" insecticides interfere with the foraging behavior of bees, leading them to abandon their hives.
Fungal diseases such as Nosema ceranae, which is blamed for big bee losses in Spain. It was spotted by University of California-San Francisco researchers who were examining sample dead bees last week.
The rigors of traveling in trucks from crop to crop.
A complex problem
"We may have a perfect storm of many problems combining to kill the bees," Hackett says. And bees are social animals, who cue each other through "bee dances" to find food. "Something could be just disrupting bee society and causing the problem. That's very difficult to tease out."
Weaver says the beekeeper federation is "bombarded with lots of interesting theories," including "far-fetched ideas like cellphones," the notion that radio waves from mobile phones are zapping the bees' direction-sensing abilities.
"But right now there's not a lot of evidence to support any of these theories," Weaver says. "We think science is the only way to get to the bottom of this."
The USDA spends about $9 million a year on bee research, Hackett says, about half of it focused on breeding bees resistant to mites. California is undertaking a five-year, $5 million project to examine insecticides, hive care and transport as well, he says.
Weaver says researchers need perhaps $50 million over the next five years to cover studies, deeper analysis of the "leading suspects" and a national surveillance system.
"Creating healthier bees, with a good diet, better able to fight disease is the best thing we can do right now," Hackett says. Otherwise, "when you sit down to dinner, the question will be what sort of grain do you want - corn or wheat or rice - because that's about all the choice we'll have left."
-------
And it's still a mystery.
--

Billy

Bush & Cheney, Behind Bars
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wesleyn wrote:

Not at all afraid of bees. Grandpa kept several hives and we used to go out to bring in honey with him.
<ummmmmmm... chewing honeycomb... >
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wesleyn wrote:

c/ somewhere in between. I got stung by a honeybee this summer by my pile of apples which attracts them, and it hurt like crazy for a long time, like hours and into the next day, even after I put baking soda paste on it. That was a first in 30 years. I didn't see that one, but if I do, I just freeze until they fly off. My grandmother and now my grandson have developed a very bad allergic reaction to them; luckily so far I'm ok about that. A bee sting can be deadly for some people.
Other than that, I love them, and never kill any if I don't have to, inside or out, even the ground wasps. Both honeybees and bumblebees have found their way into my house, 5 or 7 a day for awhile a couple years ago, until I guess we got a broken window in the attic fixed, still a few every summer, and I devised a method to trap them with a yogurt cup and a knife with a very wide blade (have accidentally killed a couple that way), and release them outside. I really felt bad when a bumblebee got trapped between my screen and storm, I cracked the storm and screen open at the bottom, it was pitiful watching it try to find its way out, would not come down to the open air, so I was raising and lowering the screen and storm and accidentally squashed it.
This is how goofy I can get. One summer they were tearing shingles off the roof, and completely covered the opening for some little ground wasps that never bothered me, and I was mowing then. They were upset. I dug until I found some clothing I thought would be protective, looked mighty weird, and took a rake and pulled the shingles away so they could get back in their nest.
If one gets in my car when I'm driving, I do feel a little panicky, but they usually fly right out an open window.
The only things I will kill, don't know about a dangerous dog, are cockroaches, flies and mosquitoes. The cat has caught a couple mice and chipmunks. I saved two chipmunks and one mouse, made her drop them. Of course, I can't save them all. She came to me where I have my computer holding the the body of a chipmunk in her mouth meowing funny, another she got by the tail. I made her let them go, they hid in the closet like I had hoped, I put her out, and shut the door. Then I cracked open the window and set some peanuts on the windowsill. They both found their way out. One morning I got up to peanut shells all over my keyboard lol. By now, I have a Havaheart trap, think I've got it set right, didn't seem to go near it.
Way more than you asked. Sorry.

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Hettie wrote:

That was a first in 30 years.
Oops. A couple years ago I got stung with my yogurt cup method. It didn't hurt too bad at all. Maybe it depends on where you get stung, hand vs. inside of my thigh.
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Hettie wrote:

What are you doing with a yogurt cup on the inside of your thigh?
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doofy wrote:

LOL! Taking a sound reading?
The yogurt cup was to trap them inside the house when they landed on the window glass trying to find a way out. I suppose I could have used a plastic Solo cup, but the yogurt cup was the handiest I could grab. I held it in one hand, my right hand to be specific, tried to clap it over the intruder, then slide the knife under easy like so as not to amputate their legs, usually they went to the bottom of the cup but sometimes not, hold the knife over the cup until I got out the door and released it. It is hard to open an interior and storm door when you have a bee trapped inside a yogurt cup. My method gives new meaning to catch and release. Bumblebees though take longer to catch and fly very fast through the house, zooming through several rooms, until they decide to seek the light, on a glass window, and some of my panes are small on top; hence the yogurt cup. That makes them furiously mad. What do they know?
I didn't have a yogurt cup when I got stung outside on my thigh. The bee got under my bermuda shorts, and I didn't know it was there until ouch, and then I felt something wiggley under there!
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I'mlooking into possibly doing a home beehive design, and yourselves asgardeners have probably encountered the odd bee or two. I have a quickquestion for you then, are you;

of bees) or cnidophobic (fear of stings).

read and respond.

I love bees & as they pollinate the flowers I can even pet them like itty bitty furry kitties.
-paghat the ratgirl
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http://www.paghat.com.html
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n.r.wesley@brightonDOTacDOTuk says...

How many bees? One? Two? A hundred?
If it is just one, paying attention to some flowers, it can be very close, and I don't bother it, and doesn't bother me.
I don't go over and try to touch them or anything, and I wouldn't mess around with a hive.
But on my normal garden level, there's no problem. I actually like seeing them getting some pollination going on. Although I will note that I have never been stung by one.
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I used to work at Wal-Mart where they have the big, big windows in the front of the store. One day a bee was on the window, obviously trying to get out. I went over and coaxed the bee onto my hand where it stayed until I got it outside. It flew away.
Living in central Texas, I do worry about the possibility that I could come in contact with a hive of "killer" bees. I worry more that my dogs or cats could be attacked. But I don't obsess about it.
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Suzie-Q wrote:

Neat. I don't think I'd have the courage to try that.

That would worry me, too. They are fanning out, but I don't know if they will hit the northern zones or not. I don't see too much about them any more, but did read fairly recently about a tragic death of a man stung hundreds of time by a swarm of bees, don't remember if they were the killer kind or not. They were in this case, unfortunately for him.

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Hi There Neil,
This came up in a conversation today with my friend Travis as I was planting bulbs. We were discussing Einstein's prediction (humans only have 4 years after the bees die off) and he heard a conspiracy theory that a terrist group but a satelite in space to mess with the bees (take what you will from that). We discussed the possibility that all the pesticides, insecticides and hormones bred into corn and other crops is affecting the pollen and then the bees. Also production bees are moved around a lot. I've been stung numerous times. A bee got in my boot when I was a teenager and stung me on the ankle. Yikes. Also been stung on my hand and behind my ear. I spent a lot of time outside as a kid. But even with all this I'm not in the least bit afraid of them. I work in the garden next to them all the time and their just out doing their thing and I'm doing mine. I've thought about keeping bees and when I by a bigger property I will. Good luck with your project.
Lee

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wesleyn wrote:

these are not the kind of bees you put in hives. I was within a couple of feet of them and still used the zoom on my camera.
http://personalpages.bellsouth.net/t/h/theplanter/Bees.html

that'd be my answer because it is more about how you act around them and treat them producing how they respond to you.
there is one kind of bee you just don't want to be around because you can treat them nice and they'll still attack you. violent african bees. kind of like fire ants.
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why? bumblebees are very laid back & passive. you can pick them up if you do it slowly as not to startle them & they will crawl on your hands. another good pollinator bee is the Orchard bee. i have lots of those around & one of my winter projects will be building orchard bee condos (they live in little holes, so a chunk of wood with a grid of holes hanging on a tree or the side of a building near the gardens pleases them) lee
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enigma wrote:

Passive just as long as you don't accidentally disturb their nest site, then they will gladly take chase for a 100 feet or so to sting with the best of their smaller cousins.
Lar
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enigma wrote:

[....]
good question as well as a good observation concerning the character of this particular species of bee. they are rather good natured and have exhibited the most civilized mannerisms of all the different bee types I'm familiar with.
a speculation on my part would be, maybe the honey is not the most desirable?
'if' your why was more directed towards my having used the zoom on the camera? the use had more to do with my desire to obtain a clear close-up picture by working within the constraints of the technical limits where the camera's ability to focus is restricted by the movement of the subject matter at distances of less then one foot. in other words, the wind was blowing and the bush was moving and the bees were flying in and out as well.
took me awhile to learn how to use that camera. my most recent accomplishment was learning how to set the camera to capture a picture of me using an arc welder. in my previous attempts, my failure to understand aperture settings in conjunction with shutter speeds had spoiled the outcome. setting a goal and then obtaining it is often a rewarding experience.

each year during the summer, down at the barn, the boring bees show up and bore the most perfectly round holes in the rafters of the shelter. I don't think I could drill a hole anymore perfectly round than they can. they look in appearance just like the ones in the pictures I posted the link towards and in no way resemble the species known as the carpenter bee who gains the name as a result of their boring in wood to create their homes.
best 2U Lee, Jim
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As Lar said, they're good-natured as long as you don't disturb their nest. Then they'll chase you down for quite a distance! And they don't die when they sting you, they live to do it again.

It's as tasty as honeybee honey, but it's stored in a much different manner, and they don't stockpile it the way honeybees do, so harvesting it is much more difficult.
http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/plantclinic/resources/pdf/pls12bumblebees.pdf
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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