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Bumble bee nest in tunnel


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steveb121
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 1:11 pm    Post subject: Bumble bee nest in tunnel Reply with quote

I have just discovered what looks like baby bumble bees flying around from a higgledy piggledy looking nest in my polytunnel in North Kerry. I'm delighted to have them as long as we can all get along! Anyone have a comment to make?
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walltoall
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 4:45 pm    Post subject: little bumble bees Reply with quote

Good on ya Steve. Gardeners friends, they pollinate plants for us. specially now that the unfortunate honey bee is in serious decline over much of the British Isles.
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steveb121
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2010 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks walltoall, Will keep you posted as to the progress of my little bumbly's and will now think seriously about starting a hive myself
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walltoall
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 5:07 pm    Post subject: Keeping bees Reply with quote

It would be great if you were to take up bee-keeping as the country is seriously short of apiarists sorry beekeepers. I was one myself in the 60s but developed a potentially fatal allergy to bee-stings which went ballistic. Don't worry about that though, it is a VERY rare situation. My Dad and two brothers never got it or my Ma who although not a keeper did get stung more than once.

Beekeeping is a fascinating hobby and pays well if you sell the excess. Before you make any decisions seek out the local bee-keeping fraternity and pick it up as you go along.

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steveb121
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:20 pm    Post subject: Bizzy Bees Reply with quote

Thanks for all the encouragement. I bought a book by Ted Hooper called 'Guide to Bees and Honey' a couple of years ago which seems to be the definitive 'bee' book. I also know one or two Kerry beekeepers so I will find out what the general situation is.
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walltoall
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:33 pm    Post subject: bee keeping Reply with quote

Looks like you are in good hands. Avoid any bee that has African Black genes. Nasty bit of work and not even a good cropper, The Native Brown is as gentle as they come. We used to lift nearly 50lbs a year (CDB hives) in the 60s. The Mellary monks used to have fantastic bee-keepers in my days. They had the heather of the Knockmealdowns to theirselves of course.

The best honeys are from clovers. But where do you find clover these days?

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SorchaBC
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My garden walltoall!! Lawn's taken over by clover and moss, not that I'm bothered changing that fact, I actually quite like it and it doesn't need as much mowing. Explains the amount of bees we always have though.
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steveb121
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's interesting SorchaBC because one of my lawns is absolutely full of clover this year! Plenty of nectar for my little bizzy bumbley's. So now, according to Walltoall's advice I should be looking at the Native Brown bee and encourage plenty of clover. I don't mind that one bit as my 2 acres of grass is only second rate anyway. Gives me a purpose in life now
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walltoall
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 11:01 pm    Post subject: bee-keeping Reply with quote

Sorcha, I'm fascinated to hear of a lawn with clover and moss but no grass. My clover ONLY ever grows where grass grows, but I would love to have your lawn.

Steve, since you have 2 acres of poor grass, let me share a farming secret.

Clover 'fixes' nitrogen' in the soil. It extracts it from the athmosphere and stores it in nodules in its root system. Grass roots can tap into the clover store and N makes the grass stronger and lusher. Between grass and clover exists a 'symbiotic' relationship. Google the term for more. This one seemed appropriate but there are dozens of options.

http://www.learnthat.com/define/view.asp?id=338

I suggest you seed your two acres with clover seed for next year. It makes for terrific grazing above ground and you'll have a ready made source of nectar as well. Good God man you have it every which way but up. Any houses for rent or buy in the area so I can leave this dump?

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artalis
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I googled bee types the other day and found out that the big hairy bumblers don't usually like to sting if left to themselves. So hopefully you should get along and your garden plants should benefit from some great pollination.

There's loads of info. on line too on what plants and even colours that are attractive to bees ( blue and yellow are favourite flower colours )

You can even buy a hive complete with bees on line or else stingless bees!

The bees in my garden love the lavender, lithodora heavenly blue, acacia/cytisus plus the heady blooms of spiky cordylines and dessert candle along with other flowering perennials.

A little bee..a...utiful story
Two Januaries ago, during a cold spell when it snowed, unbelievably I happened to find a big bumble bee on my back garden patio. It appeared to be poorly, crawling around slowly etc so I carefully moved it to a sheltered spot under a bush by a wall. It was still there about three days later, crawling around on some flower blooms/stalks that I had left nearby. Then it flew off. I found out later that it was probably a queen bee, as they overwinter by themselves before starting a new hive later on if they happen to mate successfully.

I have considered keeping a hive myself but my back garden is way too small . So the next best thing is to plant some things that bees love and to avoid using pesticides.

Happy gardening & would like to hear how the bees nest worked out.
artalis
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steveb121
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lovely bee story artalis and thanks for the tips on flowers that bees like. I have several sage plants in the tunnel which are flowering and have blue flowers. There are a few nasturciums which are also flowering. The baby bees are still in hiding, they haven't ventured out of the nest yet. Do I need to put down something sweet like sugared water or just leave them to their own devices?
I like walltoall's idea about reseeding my 2 acres of 2nd rate lawn with clover. That really is an idea I like!
Thanks for all the comments and will post updates on the progress of the bizzy little bees
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artalis
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 11:32 am    Post subject: Let nature bee or adopt a nest? Reply with quote

Hi Steve,
I don't want to advise you as I am not a professional bee keeper and only know a little, based on a brief google search. It's the question of whether you should feed 'em or just let nature do her thing and not interfere. If there are plenty of food sources around the baby bees should be just fine I imagine. But I read somewhere that you can encourage bees to return or else stay ( this may be pertaining to honey bees more so ). Although you will need to call in the help of the professionals when handling wild bees etc.Bumble bees usually only nest for a few wks in the summer, as far as I know. If you plant some of that attractive white clover, however, you should get plenty of re visits.

Here is a really good site, where you can find out all you need to know about beekeeping and bees.

FIBKA> Federation of Irish Beekepers' Association. They also run a summer school and annual show at Gormanstown in County Meath.
http://www.irishbeekeeping.ie/articles/fibkaformation.html

also see
Galtee Bee Breeding Group at
http://www.gbbg.net/link.html



Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
artalis
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steveb121
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info artalis. I think the best idea is leave them to their own devices and see how they get on and try not to disturb them too much.
I have lots of clover around the outside of the tunnel and I get lots of visits by adult bumble bees in the tunnel. I presume bumble bees and honey bees get on ok?
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walltoall
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 5:37 pm    Post subject: bees all together Reply with quote

All the different bees get on grand. It's people we have the trouble with. Honey bees get great trouble though from wasps (an entirely different insect btw) particularly in Autumn when the wasps try to steal honey from hives. The bees usually win if the colony is strong.

A tid-bit on dead bees around a hive entrance. Come September, worker bees in a colony forcibly eject all male bees (drones) to die of cold and starvation around the entrance. There are about 400-500 drones in a colony of maybe 30,000 bees but they are twice the size of a worker, approximately 10 times as greedy and exist for no other reason than to fertilize the queen.

That in itself is a fascinating occurance. When a queen is 'on heat?' she flys away from the hive followed by all available randy drones. She is about twice as long as a worker and a very strong flyer. The drones are frequently fat and lazy from over-feeding (didja ever see that in humans?) so when she flies off and they make chase the fattest and laziest 'fall by the wayside' as it were.

The wan that eventually gets his onions will, almost by definition, be the sleekest fittest dude in the hive so the queen will be well fertilised. I've seen this flight a few times and it is just part of the totally amazing experience which is bee-keeping.

You don't need almost any space to keep a beehive. They will happily range up to a mile from the hive, though obviously that is pushing the air-miles. Sometimes people who would be great bee-keepers are afraid to start because they think their little garden will not support a hive. Look not at thine own garden but at those of thy neighbours and the surrounding countryside.

And yes Artalis, I'm lookin at you. I won't mention your location as you don't but look out along the headlands and the fields across the railway away from the town and the gardens of the town itself. The coolest hive location I ever saw was in Norwood London where a guy/gal had converted an attic window to hold a hive, like some 30 feet up and over all the roofs.

Sometimes I HATE being an anaphalactic shock reactor to honey bee stings.

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Last edited by walltoall on Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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artalis
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 6:09 pm    Post subject: Gardener's friend-the bumble bee Reply with quote

"There is no problem to keep both pollen bees and honey bees. Because honey bees have such a long foraging range, and visit a wide variety of flowers, they get along well with the pollen bees, which tend to forage near their nests." Quoting a paper entitled,"Diversitfy With Pollen Bees" by Dr Suzanne W.B.Batra, U.S. Dep. Agriculture.

Hi Steve, sounds like you are onto a good thing alright, by helping another endangered insect and gardener's friend - the humble bumble bee- get by without human interference.

Laughing Smile Razz Cool Very Happy

artalis
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