Permaculture forum: Native Bees vs. Honey Bees

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Name: Jewell
South Puget Sound (Zone 7a)
Ferns Region: Pacific Northwest Cottage Gardener Hellebores Dragonflies Ponds
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Jewell
Apr 24, 2015 7:37 AM CST
We had always had a lot of bumblebees and a variety of native bees and pollinating flies in our yard but I have noticed much fewer this spring. Like hardly any. Last year there were several domestic hives in the area so my garden had tons of honey bees visiting which was unusual. We have also had a dry, mild winter and exceptional early spring. No six inch slugs to beat off.

Just curious, and I know there are a lot of variables, but do honey bees greatly impact native pollinators. What are the pros and cons of having honey bees in the neighborhood? There are tons of flowering fruit trees and bushes but fewer bumble bees and no honeybees (my guess is they moved living in an urban area, backyard hobbyists come and go) that are working so I am somewhat concerned. Any ideas on the subject or resources?
[Last edited by Jewell - Apr 24, 2015 7:39 AM (+)]
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Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
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Mindy03
Apr 29, 2015 10:22 AM CST
We have honey bees here and also plenty of the natives.
We also have a huge variety of plants some of which are shared by all of the pollinators.
My guess is there may not be enough variety of plants in the neighborhood.
Pollinators need more than fruit trees to survive.
Here my task is to introduce more plants that flower and produce forage during the summer. I'm selecting herbs for that. I don't think honey bees have too much impact on other pollinators on a large scale.

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hazelnut
Apr 29, 2015 1:28 PM CST
Dont know the difference between bumble bees and honey bees. Do Bumble Bees produce honey?

Of course honey bees are disappearing globally due to colony collapse disorder.

http://science.time.com/2013/05/07/beepocalypse-redux-honey-...

I guess the cause is still not known but glyphosate is blamed.

Several years ago I was curator of a local historic property. (1840s). One of the outbuildings because infested with bees. Actually I thought they were wasps of some kind. But a visitor happened to be a bee keeper, and said they were honey bees. And apparently this was a cyclical event because other visitors remember the bees covering the back corner of this building, and filling the space between the siding and interior plaster with honey. Fearing for the safety of the building, I was ordered to kill the bees. Fortunately, I the bees were saved by the local bee keeper, and I was spared the distasteful act of having to kill them. I don't know why the bees would be attracted to this particular building and I don't believe there were especially any pollinators in the area. But then I don't know what pollinators would have attracted them--other then the historic presence of the building that had hosted bee colonies in the past.
Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Beekeeper
Seed Starter Permaculture Region: Kentucky Garden Ideas: Master Level
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Mindy03
Apr 29, 2015 2:23 PM CST
Here is a link that shows and tells of the differences between bumblebees and honey bees.
http://bumblebeeconservation.org/about-bees/faqs/honeybees-v...

The cyclic event would be a swarm which is when a colony splits up to increase the number of bees in the area.
Honey bees do not prey on other pollinators though they sometimes fight with them.

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hazelnut
May 2, 2015 1:56 PM CST
Thanks Mindy. The local bee keeper was happy to capture them. At least that swarm is saved for now. The outbuilding that was engulfed by the swarm is an 1840s tenant house on a historic property. So at one time the building was located at the rear of a farm field, with plenty of trees--especially pecans (don't know if those are useful to bees) and near a barn. Today there is an empty mowed field behind that outbuilding, and a highway. So Im sure, much fewer pollinators than in the past.
[Last edited by hazelnut - May 2, 2015 2:00 PM (+)]
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Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Beekeeper
Seed Starter Permaculture Region: Kentucky Garden Ideas: Master Level
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Mindy03
May 3, 2015 7:34 AM CST
Pecans are one of the trees honey bees forage.
When honey bees swarm they will only fly about 3 feet before stopping to let the queen rest. She has weak flying muscles due to not doing much flying prior as to the swarming.
They will choose an object in that 3 feet range which can be anything from a shrub to a human.
As long as the queen is not threatened the swarm will not be aggressive.

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hazelnut
May 15, 2015 9:38 AM CST
I have pecans and there is another old pecan grove down the road. I haven't noticed honey bees. Is there anything else they would be attracted to, that I could plant near my pecans that would be attractive to bees?
Name: Margaret
Delta KY
I'm A Charley's Girl For Sure
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Beekeeper
Seed Starter Permaculture Region: Kentucky Garden Ideas: Master Level
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Mindy03
May 15, 2015 1:34 PM CST
If you check my profile page and scroll down to the list of articles I've done you will find plenty of plants to choose from.
Just look for plants that bloom when your pecans do.

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