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Author Topic: A sad day for my native bees  (Read 1248 times)

Offline Barlon

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A sad day for my native bees
« on: December 28, 2016, 08:53:03 AM »
I lent a couple of native bee hives to my sister about two months ago to pollinate her veggie garden under the promise that she'd look after them, I gave her instructions and left the hives in her care both hives were very healthy and my sister seemed very interested in caring for the bees.

After four weeks I checked my hives and they were doing great and had done a wonderful job pollinating so I went home thinking my hives were in good hands and thought I could focus on caring for my other hives.

A few days ago I went to my sister's place to check on the bees again and to help out with some fallen tree cutting, but when I arrived the first thing I saw was one of my hives covered in garbage tools and many other items the hole was almost completely blocked off making it hard for the bees to leave or enter the hive I rushed over to it moving everything to the side and opened it to view inside, thankfully the hive was still healthy and were only blocked in for a few days.

I went around the back to check my other hive and was shocked to find  massive piles of chicken dung all over my hive the lid being completely covered the landing pad was also filthy and even the air ducts were blocked with DUNG!!!, I could not believe it and to make it worse no BEES!!!!!!.

I had to scrape layers of you know what off the lid to reveal the screws so I could open the hive, upon opening I see very few bees alive most the of brood was dead and the queen was long gone I could not do much for this hive but I knew I had to take the other hive away, at this point things only got worse so I'll be skipping details and cutting it short.

The remaining hive was relocated and I went to hospital after protecting it, I have never lost a hive before and as I make each hive by hand and rescue wild nests that either won't survive or are not welcome in their chosen location and have remembered each and every rescue, the loss of this hive will not be forgotten.

« Last Edit: December 28, 2016, 10:43:11 AM by Barlon »

Offline Barlon

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Re: A sad day for Native bees
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2016, 09:02:10 AM »
For those interested the hive that died was rescued from inside a wood grinder and even now was the hardest nest of bees to transfer into a hive box and was one of my strongest hives

Online divemaster1963

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2016, 10:59:35 AM »
that sometimes is the hardest thing . the lost of a good hive. i have had many strong wild hives that all of a sudden after several months to abscond. then some of my weekest hives al of a sudden boom to become some of my best hives. feral coloniess like to be left alone. the less you work and inspect them the better they do. i do have 6 of my best hives are over 7 years old. i only add supers in spring and pull them in early fall. i don't open the brood boxes unless i see signs of aproblem. i have light carpet about 3 square meters in front of hive and removalable beetle traps in bottom tied to string and traps on top of supers. they have become my monitering hives to let me know if we have good flow for the year. i'm hoping this winter turns cold soon. temps this dec have been mostly in the 60-80 degrees so they are going thru stores fast. i did not pull honey this year so they had what ever they collected for the year. but even that may not be enough for them. i may have to break from natural keeping and do open feeding.  time will tell.  i have even captured a swarm in some stacked boxes just before christmas. lucky i had a hive abscond from my other yard and gave them all it had.

good luck and happy new year

john

Offline kathyp

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2016, 01:23:58 PM »
Chicken stuff on the hive.  Best guess?  The chickens sat there and had one good meal after another until the bees were gone.

Birds will do that.  Your sister probably didn't know.
.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called the government. They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville

Offline iddee

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2016, 02:28:43 PM »
Kathy, chickens won't eat bees. They will keep wax moths out of the hives, but only go around them at dusk.
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

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Online divemaster1963

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2016, 05:39:25 PM »
sparrows and purple martins will eat bees and destroy a yard. i had to take down a martin house to keep bees in my yard. any small bug eating bird that likes drangonflies and myskitoes will eat bees. they snap them out of the air.

john

Offline kathyp

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2016, 07:01:39 PM »
OK.  My chickens eat bugs.  Why would they not eat bees?
.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called the government. They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville

Offline iddee

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2016, 07:46:52 PM »
My chickens loved wax moths and other non-stinging bugs, but would never touch a live bee. I do not know the why.
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*

Online gww

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2016, 10:03:29 PM »
I do know my chickens just love the japanise beetle but in the spring when the honey bees take over thier food tray, I have never saw one eaten by a chicken.  I have seen a chicken or two brave the bees and eat out of the tray while hundreds of bees were there but they were not eating the bees. 
Cheers
gww

Offline Barlon

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2016, 10:19:07 PM »
Hello everyone

I have been reading the comments and I believe some people are confused as to how the hive died.

The hive was blocked inside from all the dung both the air duct and entrance this was not a few small droppings it was in layers so bad I had to scrape and scrape just to get access to open my hive.

My hive is a native bee hive which is smaller then a honey bee hive in case people are confused on the species.

My sister was treating the hives badly as I said in my main post the first hive was blocked off with garbage and other  items that had no business being anywhere near my hive, while the second she allowed her chickens to use as a bathroom during the day and allowed them to stay on it night after night without telling me and allowed the mess to get so large it smothered the whole hive.

She owns over 50 chickens and the problem could have been solved easily but instead she chose to ignore it, she also tried to destroy my remaining hive with a log when I wanted to take it away, this part I won't detail but I ended up in hospital the police are involved.

Offline max2

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2016, 04:34:11 AM »
sparrows and purple martins will eat bees and destroy a yard. i had to take down a martin house to keep bees in my yard. any small bug eating bird that likes drangonflies and myskitoes will eat bees. they snap them out of the air.

john
Could you please talk to my chickens:)

Online Milo

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2016, 05:49:04 AM »
Why does she have 50 chickens and the only place for them to roost is your hive?

Offline Barlon

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2016, 08:21:32 AM »
Why does she have 50 chickens and the only place for them to roost is your hive?

My sister breeds and sells chickens the problem is she dose not have pens for all her chickens and allows them to roost anywhere, at some point some chickens must have taken a fancy to my hive and sadly my sister could not be bothered to take them off so the chickens kept going back to the same comfy spot on top of my hive and where there is chickens there is chicken droppings.

She could have told me at anytime and I could have easily made a cover for the hive or made new roosting spots around her yard to try temp the chickens to find a new spot but instead she kept telling me everything was fine.

Online Milo

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2016, 01:13:49 PM »
With her improper husbandry it's only a matter of time till she is visited by a fox.

Offline Barlon

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2016, 12:53:45 AM »
With her improper husbandry it's only a matter of time till she is visited by a fox.

I don't think we have any feral foxes in the NT but she often loses chickens to snakes and hawks.

Online Milo

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2016, 05:12:31 AM »
https://nt.gov.au/environment/animals/feral-animals/feral-fox

Sorry mate foxes are most places in the mainland. May not be widespread in the NT but it's just a matter of time.

And once they are in an urban environment the population explodes.

Offline Barlon

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2017, 04:08:44 AM »
Hello everyone

I checked my hives today to find one had been forcefully opened and raided, I'm not sure who's done this but I can't understand why they had to break off the roof of my native bee hive for a small amount of honey as this hive was still new and had barely anything to take in the first place.

I thought it was best to put this post in this thread rather then make a new one, I considered not posting this experience at all but I'm finding it's just too much too soon and I'm not sure I'm holding up well, I've put so much work into building my hives and raising my bees and to see my hard work ruined, makes me wonder if it was really worth it.

Online Milo

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2017, 04:26:04 AM »
Mate that just sucks.

I bet the offender comes back. Not that I have any experience with surveillance cameras but that would prompt me to install a hidden camera then supply the footage to the cops.

Offline Barlon

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2017, 07:59:25 AM »
Mate that just sucks.

I bet the offender comes back. Not that I have any experience with surveillance cameras but that would prompt me to install a hidden camera then supply the footage to the cops.

I've moved my hives now so won't matter if he/she comes back I'm moving house in two more days so I've not been home as much, I'm guessing he/she noticed I was gone and helped themselves to a hive which happened to be my newest.

I've tried to rehouse the brood and bees and gave them some honeypots from another hive so they won't starve but I'm not sure if they'll make it as I have no idea how long the brood was exposed but native bee brood is pretty hardy and can survive much longer exposed then honey bee brood so with some luck the hive will recover, I'll be able to tell in the next few weeks so I'll keep everyone updated

Online Milo

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2017, 03:31:55 PM »
How do you actually accomplish the transfer of the brood to a new box? I just can't picture how it's done, is it simply that the spiral of comb is picked up and moved? Same goes for the honey pots - and how goes the hive that the honey is robbed from?

So many questions and sounds like your a busy man!

Offline Barlon

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2017, 03:14:33 AM »
How do you actually accomplish the transfer of the brood to a new box? I just can't picture how it's done, is it simply that the spiral of comb is picked up and moved? Same goes for the honey pots - and how goes the hive that the honey is robbed from?

So many questions and sounds like your a busy man!

I've done many wild nest transfers some taking over an hour of careful cutting, but in the case of my hives I just need to cut around the walls and pull out some folded wire which holds most the brood and honeypots then I just place it into a new hive then cut out whatever is left in the old hive which is often just some loose brood.

When I need to take out honeypots I look for small clusters as all you need to do is slowly cut the connections with a sharp clean knife and the whole cluster comes off with little to no spills, you can see the small connections attaching the honeypots to the wall in this photo, you can also see the folded wire and some brood which the bees have built between the folds.

I've not been able to check the robbed hive but I'll be seeing them tomorrow when I move in so I'll post an update but I won't be able to look inside for at least two weeks, as the bees need to settle with as little stress possible if they are going to have any chance to recover.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 03:34:45 AM by Barlon »

Offline Lone

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2017, 12:09:23 PM »
This is terrible, Barlon, my sympathies.  Usually the only looking after stingless hives require is not to be touched.  And to be checked on occasionally.  You could have hung them on a rope from a tree had you known what was going on with the chooks.

I also lost two stingless (T hockingsi) hives in the past week, but under much better circumstances.  Mine have all been splits, and I'd promised one to a friend for pollination after her neighbour threatened my european bees.  Seeing as european hives are worth $450 and a can of flyspray is $4.50, I moved them the day after he complained to the council. I reckon that you can hide stingless bees a lot more easily.  So she collected it this week.  The other was unexpected, a phone call from someone wanting to buy a hive.  I didn't mean to sell one, but the trouble was who it was being given to.  My landlord said that you couldn't find better people, and I know them to play the accordion and uke very well, and I sort of broke and now they have my other strongest hive.

My two remaining are a bit weaker, but had plenty of brood when I inspected.  They are in town where they do much better and where there is a cluster of hives nearby.  I was paranoid yesterday evening though when I couldn't see a bee flying, guarding, or hear them, but old mate rang this morning and said the bees were buzzing in both hives.  It must have been just too late when I saw them.

Thanks, Barlon, for your information and stories about your local little bees over there in the Territory, and I look forward to reading more progress reports (hopefully happier ones).

Lone

Offline Barlon

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2017, 05:47:58 AM »
Thank you Lone, it's good to hear from someone who knows a bit about caring for stingless bees, they do fairly well on their own and in my few years of keeping I've not really had any problems till recently which is not the bees fault just a lot of bad luck.

I've been watching the hive that got raided and so far it looks very good lots of bees are foraging now and it looks very lively, I've still not opened it up yet as I'm trying to give the bees as much time as I can to settle but if their activity is anything to go on I'd say the bees are doing much better.


Offline Barlon

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2017, 06:01:29 AM »
Hi everyone

I checked on my native bee hive that got broken into awhile back and it looks like it's recovering nicely, so I can finally post some good news for everyone.

To make it even better I've taken some photos of the recovering hive to share with everyone, I hope you all enjoy these photos and don't mind too much on how bad I am at taking them.

In these photos you can see the brood and some new honey pots full of fresh honey which means these little guys have been busy little bees.

Offline Barlon

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2017, 06:04:05 AM »
Another photo




Offline Barlon

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #25 on: January 16, 2017, 06:06:37 AM »
Last photo and sorry their not all in one post for some reason when I did my first post only one photo got uploaded even tho I entered in all three.

Offline Lone

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2017, 11:52:17 AM »
Good recovery Barlon.

By the way, I'm so paranoid about pests that I use half a roll of gaffer tape every time I crack a hive open.

Lone

Offline Barlon

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #27 on: February 01, 2017, 06:43:31 AM »
Good recovery Barlon.

By the way, I'm so paranoid about pests that I use half a roll of gaffer tape every time I crack a hive open.

Lone

Don't worry Lone I do the same thing, I always keep my hives as protected as possible from pests as one time when opening a hive I found hive fly eggs under the lid which made me paranoid ever since.

Offline Barlon

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Re: A sad day for my native bees
« Reply #28 on: March 10, 2017, 09:36:41 PM »
Sadly got a mixed bag of news on my bees, first lets have some good news.

I recently rescued a nest of Austroplebeia magna which is great since before I only owned Tetragonula mellipes hives so its a good change.

All my hives are active including the one that got broken into and all have very healthy queens, some even recently replaced their queens and I got to watch a few mating flights.

Bad news is my hives need to be moved yet again as their not getting enough floral so some hives are not doing as well being outdone by my larger hives.

I've also been having ant and rat problems on some of my hives the rats keep chewing up the bee entrance forcing them to rebuild it almost everyday and the ants attack my hives so I'm forced to have moats under them which stops most ant attacks but not all.

The worse news being my budding hive connected up to a wall which I've been taking step by step pictures of for the past year came crashing down during a large storm and my hive got smashed after dropping from the upper level of the house it was attached to.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2017, 10:41:32 PM by Barlon »

 

anything