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Re: [beemonitoring] A. mellifera in birdseed

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  • Dave Green
    Yes it happens; they are desperate for protein at this time of year - and they can be fooled sometimes - they may even collect sawdust. This time of year is
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 25 11:47 AM
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      Yes it happens; they are desperate for protein at this time of year - and they can be fooled sometimes - they may even collect sawdust.
       
      This time of year is the most dangerous of all times for honeybee colonies. They are getting a bit of stimulus from some scattered nectar sources - thus encouraging the queen to lay eggs.
       
      With increased egg laying, there is a much greater need for protein as well as sugar. With sources scant - and often interupted by unfavorable foraging weather - it is a race of competition between their need to raise brood, and their dwindling supplies. I have seen big beautiful colonies starve in mid-March here in coastal SC, even though there is bloom, because colonies had run out of stores and were living day by day on what was coming in - and a cold or rainy spell caused them to run out.
       
      Of course a good beekeeper will provide extra nutrition to them, especially at this time of year, just to be sure they do not collapse and die from a spell of poor weather.
       
      Here in coastal SC they are not "safe" until the third or fouth week of March, when the nectar starts coming in serious quantiy, and beekeepers race to keep ahead of bees that were prone to starve a week ago; now they are ready to swarm.  Allowing swarming, of course, would be akin to raising cattle and letting your calves run off to be lost in the woods.
       
      I'm not sure of the exact "safe" date in your area, but I suspect it is close to ours.
       
      Dave
       
       
       
       
      ----- Original Message -----

       

      Dear All,
      Does anyone have real information about honeybees in bird feeders. We've had a very cold winter and there isn't much blooming yet. I have seen honeybees busily rooting around in bird feeders, seeming most interested in the black oiled sunflower seeds, and others have told me about bees in their feeders and even in their chicken food.
      I know honeybees collect other things besides nectar and pollen, but are they really collecting, and feeding to their young, dust-sized bird food particles?
      I work in a Nature Center and I'd love to have a proper answer for the many questions we are getting.
      Thank You,
      Cynthia McAlister
      Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center
      Fort Davis, TX

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