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Bees

Infinity
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Bees

Coming back from Holiday, I discovered that a swarm of Bees had set up base in one of my Natural Stone Walls, quite a large entrance crack in one part.
Probably around 50 visible at any one time.
They didn't seem perturbed by my close presence.
It was quite mesmerising to watch them, rather beautiful in fact.

I have had Bees in my Gardens before, a mixture of Bumble Bees and Honey Bees.
These recent residents are Honey Bees.

I did a bit of research, and discovered that Bees are a protected species.
Bees are active from a little after dawn to just before dusk provided the air temperature is high enough (they need it to be at least 13-15 degrees celcius before they venture too far from the hive).
Their peak of activity is usually early morning and late afternoon when temperatures are warm but not too hot.
At midday bumblebees in particular will seek the shade of the hive as they are covered in hair and can overheat in the peak daytime temperatures.
At high temperatures they will also tend to be foraging for water, which they use to cool the hive, rather than nectar.

I rang the Local Council, and they referred me to this website..
http://www.bbka.org.uk/
However, bearing in mind when they are active, time of day & temperature, and they are in a quite isolated part of the garden, I've decided to just leave them alone.
Even close up,(fully clothed!), they didn't bother me, though I understand if one is attacked, they release a pheromone that sends the other Bees into an aggressive Defensive Mode.

I did try to take some Photo's and Video from 10 feet away, the Videos came out fine, but the photo's, even at high shutter speeds, didn't capture sharp images, the wings must blur the image.
Just a few seen from the side showed up clearly.

However, viewing a sequence of rapidly taken shots, they are more visible.
Anyone else had Bees on their property ?
Experiences ?
20 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Registered: 21-03-2011

Re: Bees

Ask an experienced bee keeper for advice. If the cavity they've occupied is too small they may swarm again. They need a cavity about the size of a football or more to successfully develop. Depending on conditions you might have 20,000 to 40,000 bees in a successful hive, Towards the end of September they'll reduce in number for over-wintering. Bee keepers have methods of enticing wild hives to move without harming the bees if you are worried by their presence.
English honey bees are generally docile and will ignore you, though sometimes dogs and bees may clash. There are several species in the UK, but the aggressive bees are the ones called the "africanised" bees which are almost identical in appearance to honey bees. They'll defend their hive actively. They are not very common in the UK.
Now Zen, but a +Net residue.
Community Veteran
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Re: Bees

What annoys me about bees is human reaction to them. People immediately start thrashing around if a bee comes into their group, where upon the bee promptly goes off and stings someone in an adjacent group. A foraging bee left alone is unlikely to hurt you, it may inspect you hovering from a short distance then fly off.
This is quite different to my reaction to wasps, even I don't like those guys to close, especially after the end of August and September as their food-chain diminishes quickly, when they can be particularly aggressive.
Bumblebees seem to actually like human contact. When sitting in our garden several afternoons running I had a bumblebee come to rest on the back of my hand, it would quite calmly let me move my hand  under it and move it around from hand to hand. It would stay with me for five to ten minutes seemingly enjoying the game, then fly away. Quite honestly it actually seemed to like me. Mrs P was more dubious at first, but eventually let me move the bumblebee to her hand.
I rather missed it after we never saw it again.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
WTF
Grafter
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Re: Bees

The big problem for bees is that they're dying out due to Colony Collapse Disorder which in some areas has already reduced bee populations by 70%.  That's not just a sad situation for the bees, of course: a large part of agriculture is dependent on bees for polination of crops.  Basically, fewer bees means less food - for us.
Unfortunately, we don't know for sure what's causing the collapse.  Research indicates a class of pesticides (the name of which escapes me) that the EU (bless 'em) is trying to limit while further research is undertaken however our government (at the behest of the chemical companies that produce the pesticides) is preventing this from happening.
Quelle surprise: Tory supporters' short term profit is clearly WAY more important than the entire ****** food chain  Roll eyes
Another factor is how bees have been used over the last few decades, particularly in the US (I don't know about the UK) where farmers rent colonies of bees for pollination of their crops.  The bees are brought to the farm, given time to pollenate the (usually single) crop and are then moved to the next (single crop) farm.  This means the bees' diets have been extremely restricted which of course, weakens them and makes them more susceptible to disease - just as feeding a human being a diet of bread and water for years would.
One thing I found out recently is that ant killers also affect bees (apparently ants and bees are related - who knew?) so you can do your bit by avoiding using ant powders and the like near flowing plants where bees are likely to go.
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Re: Bees

Infinity
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Re: Bees

Quote from: PlusComUK

Bees are active from a little after dawn to just before dusk provided the air temperature is high enough (they need it to be at least 13-15 degrees celcius before they venture too far from the hive).

3pm with an outside air temperature of 22ºC, there are hardly any Bees to be seen.
Only five I could count.
Perhaps the Queen and the others have buzzed off to Buzzingham Palace ?
WTF
Grafter
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Registered: 14-09-2012

Re: Bees

Quote from: Oldjim
actually the ban went ahead http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/apr/29/bee-harming-pesticides-banned-europe

It did?
Excellent!  A rare victory for common sense  Smiley
Needless to say, the UK voted against - hardly surprising when our Environment Secretary is a Reality Climate Change denier: why would someone who ignores the overwhelming evidence about climate be swayed by anything relating to reality?
It defies belief that these people get elected, never mind into government  Roll eyes
Infinity
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Re: Bees

Bee-friendly pesticide created from SPIDER VENOM usually strong enough to kill a man.
Hv1a/GNA
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2647460/Bee-friendly-pesticide-created-SPIDER-VENOM-s...
TORPC
Grafter
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Re: Bees

There has been a shortage of bee keepers for a long time, I just hope bee keepers do not die off, like other traditions already have
Community Veteran
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Re: Bees

Regarding the neonicotinoids ban I just saw this which rather rubbishes the decision
http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/OPINIONEUROPE.pdf
Infinity
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Re: Bees

The recent hot sunny weather here has certainly brought out the flowers..... and the Bees.
I have Poppies, California Poppies and Nasturtiums planted all over the main garden, but especially so in front of a large picture window.
Today, for the first time, Bumble Bees are visiting. Quite a few in fact.
They take it in turns to arrive, and methodically go from flower to flower for the Nectar and the Pollen.
It is fascinating to watch them do all the flowers in turn, then approach others they have just visited, but not landing on them.
They must detect the ones they have visited somehow.
Bright Yellow, Red, Orange Flowers, and Bumble Bees !!

I did cut the Grass earlier, perhaps this sparked their interest ?

For some reason, the Honey Bees in the main don't seem to be attracted to these particular flowers ?
Just the odd one the past few weeks.
Though they are constantly very busy near the holes in the Wall where presumably their Hive is.

Not one Bee of any kind has come anywhere close to myself.

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Re: Bees

I have Honeysuckle round the side of the house and it gets very noisy there with all the Bees, Bumble and Honey varieties.
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Infinity
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Re: Bees

The Bees have all disappeared now, been gone for a few days apparently, whilst I was at SW19.
So yesterday, I bought a tin of expanding foam, and filled the gaps in the stone wall they used for access.
And today, with a very sharp knife, tidied it all up.
And then spread some soil over the white foam, works quite well, as cutting the foam exposes the minute air bubbles in the foam.
Amazing stuff, I've always wanted to try expanding foam !!
Whilst they visited us, the Bees were no trouble at all, if they come back next year, we'll enjoy watching them, as we did this year.
The Poppies and Nasturtiums are thriving from the attention the Bees gave them.
Already collecting the numerous Poppy seeds, and later on in the year, the Nasturtium seeds too.
An added bonus at the moment, are the many and varied Butterflies visiting the walled garden.
And we have a thrice Daily visit from a Robin, who washes himself in the bird bath.
Community Veteran
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Re: Bees

We had  a bees nest in some old wood behind the back of the garage, they were coming and going every few minutes but over the past few weeks there has been no sight of them, the wood has not been disturbed in any way so I expected to see more of them as the year went on but as I say they seem to have gone,  (Bumble bees)
Infinity
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Re: Bees

Birds and the Bees.
Many visiting Bumble Bees this morning, a really nice Sunny Day again here.
Prospects of a really Hot day later.
The garden is now full of Nasturtiums, which the Bumble Bees like more than the Poppies, which are now going to (collected) seed.
Multi-coloured Butterflies too yesterday.

And the Birds are taking it in turns to Drink, and Bathe in the Bird Baths, sitting on the Walls !!
Just had Tea & Toast sat outside, watching all the animal life, fantastic.

Waiting for Sammy Squirrel and family now...
Life is Good.    Smiley