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Wild honey bees.
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OtleyLad



Joined: 13 Jan 2007
Posts: 2737
Location: Otley, West Yorkshire
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 14 6:39 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

Not seen many honey bees here, but there's lots of bumble bees (this year and last).
A bee hive is now at the top of my wish list...

Green Rosie



Joined: 13 May 2007
Posts: 10498
Location: Calvados, France
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 14 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We have a really good range of a many bees types including wonderful Carpenter bees.

Cathryn



Joined: 16 Jul 2005
Posts: 19830
Location: Ceredigion
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 14 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

It's interesting isn't it. We also have a huge number of bees of all types except the honey bee. Although I am hoping to change that.


(I've just been offered a swarm. I'll probably use it to strengthen one of the existing hives.)

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 33865
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 14 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Do different bees pollinate different plants? I assume so, but are they so specific that having no honey bees is an issue, except for the honey thing?

Hairyloon



Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 15081
Location: Today I are mostly being in Yorkshire.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 14 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Green Rosie wrote:
We have a "wild" swarm in the tree at the bottom of our veg patch. I have no idea if it is truly wild or has come from a hive somewhere...

As far as I am concerned, that is a distinction without a difference.
Quote:
I do know we have a very healthy bee population around here. I have seen 2 swarms leave the nest but plenty of bees remain to carry on pollinating my veggies!

I would expect that a nest in a restricted space would pump out swarms on a fairly regular basis.

NorthernMonkeyGirl



Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 4349
Location: Peeping over your shoulder
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 14 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hairyloon wrote:
Cathryn wrote:
When I have enough bees, I won't worry about mine swarming as I want to populate this area.

I think I would take a similar position, but I think I would be inclined to split the colony myself, rather than let it swarm, then you control how many bees you would lose.


Is there a reason perhaps that they need to make the "choice" themselves? To get a queen at the right point of maturity, or the right weather conditions, or...something?

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 14 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Yes IMHO genetic diversity is very important.
As an example the national dairy herd of holsteins descended from too few bulls. Could that be one of the reasons for the huge increase in BTB & not the badgers?
Certain breeds of cattle hardly ever get reactors.
Man tends to select for certain traits, with livestock (which includes bees), that tends to be productivity & temperament.
"Wild bees" might be descended from swarms escaped from beekeepers hives but the fact they are unmanaged means natural selection.
If they are susceptible to certain diseases or pests they will succumb, if not they will survive. I know of bees almost completely resistant to varroa because one man with foresight left his bees completely untreated & only bred from the survivors.
Takes a lot of nerve & you need a lot of colonies to do it.

Swindon honeybee conservation group.
There are beekeepers in West Cornwall doing similar work.
Bee improvement in Cornwall.

But as well as genetic selection we have to look at management practices as well. Much of modern beekeeping is very unnatural & much of the environment the bees have to live in also.
It's now proven that certain commonly used chemicals make Apis M more susceptible to Nosema. A disease bees have lived with for probably as long as we have kept them & usually never a problem. Now many beekeepers are reporting losses & very weakened colonies when they themselves are doing nothing different. So environmental.

Hairyloon



Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 15081
Location: Today I are mostly being in Yorkshire.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 14 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

NorthernMonkeyGirl wrote:
Hairyloon wrote:
I would be inclined to split the colony myself, rather than let it swarm, then you control how many bees you would lose.


Is there a reason perhaps that they need to make the "choice" themselves? To get a queen at the right point of maturity, or the right weather conditions, or...something?

As I understand it, the bees choose to make a new queen, and when she emerges they go off in a swarm...
I think the new queen keeps the hive and the old one goes off swarming.
If the weather is not right then you can end up with two queens in a hive and things get a bit tense in there...

Lorrainelovesplants



Joined: 13 Oct 2006
Posts: 6495
Location: Dordogne
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 14 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Oh God, go and read a book on beekeeping. Please.

Tavascarow



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
Posts: 8407
Location: South Cornwall
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 14 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Cathryn wrote:
When I have enough bees, I won't worry about mine swarming as I want to populate this area. I haven't found a single bee in 400 acres. No one in the Society has put up any objection to this plan.

I'm only one person though.
My plan is to collect as many swarms as I can from elsewhere & increase the genetic diversity of my apiary.
No doubt many swarms will have come from over managed hives & have no disease/pest resistance but some will be from resistant stock & can only reinforce my stocks.
It is a good question because many beekeepers who collect swarms kill the queens & requeen from their own stocks or even destroy the swarm & charge for the service of collection.

Cathryn



Joined: 16 Jul 2005
Posts: 19830
Location: Ceredigion
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 14 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Nick wrote:
Do different bees pollinate different plants? I assume so, but are they so specific that having no honey bees is an issue, except for the honey thing?


Yes but I'm not sure on the details. I just know that some bees struggle with cultivated clover because the flowers are too long for them to reach into. Some get around this by piercing the flowers so that they can reach.

Fascinating, wish I could make time for a day lying in the sun watching bumble bees.

I'm going to!

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 34450
Location: yes
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 14 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

my semi cultivated bramble has a few distinct types that visit,ranging from big woolly bumbles to what look like domestic hive dwellers.there are 4 different "round"ones of various sizes and colouring that i can tell apart ,masons and the very slim dark ones that i cant id.
spose there are at least 7 types that i have noticed as a type so far

so one plant is suitable for more than one type if it is a bramble

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 10125

PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 14 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

In general honey bees go for shorter necked flowers but if the weather is wet the nectar in things like buddleia will get nearer the top of the tube in the flower, and they can reach it. Similarly with clover and runner bean. Some bees, both bumble and honey will pierce the back of the flower to get the honey, but think that is an individual thing of the bee rather than the species.

Woods are good places for bumble bees as they like living in mouse nests or similar down holes. They also live in compost heaps, which can frighten a few people.

We had a honey bee nest in a hole in a tree in our wood for several years. It died out after a while, but was happy there for a couple of years.

Nick



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 33865
Location: Hereford
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 14 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

dpack wrote:
my semi cultivated bramble has a few distinct types that visit,ranging from big woolly bumbles to what look like domestic hive dwellers.there are 4 different "round"ones of various sizes and colouring that i can tell apart ,masons and the very slim dark ones that i cant id.
spose there are at least 7 types that i have noticed as a type so far

so one plant is suitable for more than one type if it is a bramble


I imagine something so invasive as a bramble has got to that place by being accessible by a range of species. Are there rarer plants that rely solely on honey bees tho?

Hairyloon



Joined: 20 Nov 2008
Posts: 15081
Location: Today I are mostly being in Yorkshire.
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 14 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Nick wrote:
Are there rarer plants that rely solely on honey bees tho?

Rarer plants than brambles?
That doesn't narrow it down much.

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