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Tropical Zone Gardening: Bumble Bees

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Molamola
Christiansted, VI
(Zone 11)

January 30, 2010
12:37 AM

Post #7510286

Hi, everyone.

I am going to 'shotgun' this post, so it's the same on all the forums that I frequent.

I want to build bumble bee hives. Anyone know much about these guys?

thanks in advance...

Melissa
tropicbreeze
noonamah
Australia

January 30, 2010
12:48 PM

Post #7511453

Bumble Bees are a controversial topic here. Some agricultural groups were trying to get them introduced but they ran into a wall of opposition. Being a large insect they cause havoc with flowers that have evolved with small pollinators. They WILL collect the nectar and pollen, but generally damage the flower in the process so that there's no reproduction/seeds. If they're already part of the natural system there's no problem. But introducing them could be the start of a bigger problem.
westraad
Xai Xai
Mozambique

February 3, 2010
4:21 PM

Post #7525696

if you do continue with the project, Melissa, please let us know how it goes!!!
isaac
Molamola
Christiansted, VI
(Zone 11)

February 3, 2010
5:14 PM

Post #7525848

They do puncture flowers from the outside of the ?? outside, anyway. Pollination must be achieved by a bee or insect going into a flower the proper way?

I want to have a pollinator for green beans. I tried pole beans a few years ago, and they were underdeveloped because there were only one or two beans-seeds in each pod.
tropicbreeze
noonamah
Australia

February 4, 2010
12:23 AM

Post #7527134

I always thought beans did pretty well on their own. But there are some crops that Bumblebees are good for. It's apparently something to do with the 'vibratory'(?) way they go about their job. But there are many pollinators around, it's a matter of attracting them to the garden. Planting lots of flowers ensures the pollinators'll have a good range of options and keep hanging around in larger numbers. There are many species (even genus) of bees of all sizes. Wasps do a lot of pollinating. And quite a few other insects will do it as well.

Here when the mangos are flowering there's a sudden flush of untold billions of flowers without much time for pollinators to build up numbers. Some of the mango orchardists hang animal carcases in the orchards which attracts flies and other carrion appreciative flying insects. These also visit the flowers for the nectar. A bit of an extraordinary approach to ensuring pollination, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

A lot of insects need a 'fix' of carbohydrates, and a 'fix' of protein. They get the carbohydrate from the nectar of flowers. How they get their protein varies. Flies will get it from carrion, etc. Wasps will mostly get it from eating other insects. March flies get it from sucking blood from animals (and people). Bees and some wasps get it from pollen. There is one Trigona species bee that gets it from carrion. But the common point is the nectar, and the pollination that occurs as a result.

Now I'm sure you won't want to hang old dead carcases around your beans, flowers would be far more appealing ;O)
Molamola
Christiansted, VI
(Zone 11)

February 4, 2010
12:27 AM

Post #7527153

Freaky. This afternoon I was looking at my Mango, in bloom, and my cashew, in bloom, and there were one or two honey bees .

Oh, my.
Braveheartsmom
Hillsborough , NC
(Zone 7a)

February 4, 2010
4:44 AM

Post #7527879

We have quite a few carpenter bees here and they seem to do a great job pollinating, but I hate what they do to my wooden structures!

No dead animals in my mangos!
tropicbreeze
noonamah
Australia

February 4, 2010
6:03 AM

Post #7528025

Our largest native bees are Carpenter Bees, Xylocopa species.

This is a media release on the prohibition of the importation of Bumblebees into Australia, it has some interesting comments on the threat they pose to the environment:

http://www.environment.gov.au/minister/garrett/2008/mr20081026.html
westraad
Xai Xai
Mozambique

February 4, 2010
11:07 AM

Post #7528231

carpenter bees!! they are what i call PESTS!!!!
i am sure they are great pollinators, but its a mission to keep them out of you wooden structures!!!
Molamola
Christiansted, VI
(Zone 11)

February 4, 2010
11:10 AM

Post #7528232

There are few wooden structures in the Caribbean, they've all been blown away by hurricanes. all wood imported is treated, so the bees don't have human prey.

Stop back by once in a while, if you leave DG for other places...
westraad
Xai Xai
Mozambique

February 8, 2010
5:32 PM

Post #7541831

i am not leaving right now Melissa, just checking out Dave's new site. only if DG really becomes unpleasant will i leave.
isaac
Molamola
Christiansted, VI
(Zone 11)

February 8, 2010
6:11 PM

Post #7541961

Here's one bee(??) I have, took him outside after the photo

Thumbnail by Molamola
Click the image for an enlarged view.

westraad
Xai Xai
Mozambique

February 8, 2010
6:24 PM

Post #7542026

ouch, looks like he can sting!
Molamola
Christiansted, VI
(Zone 11)

February 8, 2010
6:35 PM

Post #7542076

Well, probably, but gentle and very happy to get back outside. Bees and wasps have to be aggravated to sting.
westraad
Xai Xai
Mozambique

February 10, 2010
10:02 AM

Post #7547061

Thats true, since i work among honeybees in my flowerbed. there are some plants i have that really attract them, and if i work gently they don't do me any harm.
Zinnia1
Clinton Township, MI
(Zone 5b)

February 11, 2010
9:18 AM

Post #7550215

I completely agree with tropicbreeze -- only introduce them if they are native to where you live. Introducing non-native insects can have a devastating effect to the native flora and fauna and can wipe out entire species of natives. Most countries forbid non-native species of insects from being imported and entering the country. In the US, importing non-native species is a federal offense and millions are spent each year to prevent non-native insects from entering the country. Why do you want to introduce bumble bees, for what purpose? If you are looking to produce honey, you want honey bees, not the vicious bumble bee!
Molamola
Christiansted, VI
(Zone 11)

February 11, 2010
12:25 PM

Post #7550375

Whoa! I do not want to introduce bumble bees! I just want to find out if I can help the population of the bees that are already here! They do not attack me.

And I know that Australia has a disaster going on with the introduced Cane Toad, an amazing creature that can grow to five pounds or more, is poisonous, and is eating everything it can get in it's mouth.

Lionfish were released into the Atlantic and Caribbean by Aquarists who would buy a three inch baby that grew to a foot long in one year. Too bad the pet shops weren't required to buy back the big fish. This is an unseen disaster, the fish are changing the character of the sea, eating everything, and reproducing freely, having no predators. Oh, well, I won't get up on that soapbox.

Ah, well, it's a terrible thing that restrictions and regulations weren't in place back in the year 1350.

Melissa
westraad
Xai Xai
Mozambique

February 13, 2010
6:23 PM

Post #7556448

Lol, i doubt people realized back then what some of their actions were doing to our environment!

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