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Beekeeping: Sleepy bees?

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catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

June 26, 2008
12:33 PM

Post #5161760

Good morning,
I'm looking for some insight, as I have no idea if this behaviour is normal, or not.

I had seen no honeybees, and few Bumbles this spring. Worried me, of course, as last year there had been plenty. Flowering plants and shrubs and fruit trees that were "full" last year were empty this year. Something is pollinating as I have apples, but it didn't seem to be bees.
Monday I went to see about hand pollinating my squash. I'd done one, and figured it would be ready to pick. When I had worked with the first flowers, they had been full of ants, but no sign of any bees.
This time the male flowers were full of bees, literally. But they weren't doing anything. Not moving, nothing. Some upside down at the bottom. The female flower was empty. This was at 9 am, and it was quite warm, 75-80 maybe. I decided that it would probably not be in anyones best interest to dump the bees out and try to pollinate myself, so I let them be. Later, I went back and they were "waking up". One flew away. An hour later the flowers were empty. Apparently their work was done at some time, as the squash is growing, and should be ready tomorrow. I've seen a couple of bees since, but not many.
Any thoughts? Anything I can do to help them?
Margo
p.s. No pesticides or chemicals have been used in 3 years.
jylgaskin
Williamsburg, MI
(Zone 4b)

June 26, 2008
2:20 PM

Post #5162280

I wonder if the bees had gotten into something fermented. I found a whole bunch on my porch one morning . They were laying around and walking slowly in circles. Later I went to refill the oeiole bird feeder and found out my brew was fermenting!

There are a lot fewer wild honey bees around, but the populations of native bees is still fairly strong. Perhaps someone moves hives into your area up to three miles) for polination of annother crop and then moved them out when done. Frequently, people will have lots of bees for a few weeks, then they all dissapear. It's usually due to comercil hives coming and going.

We used to have lots of hiney bees, then they dissapeared in the area, I went two years with charpenter and other bees doing the polination. They did a pretty good job, but we have added our own hives now, and have more bees than you can shake a stick at.
gone2seed
Milton, FL
(Zone 8a)

June 26, 2008
2:52 PM

Post #5162420

Sometimes bees will sleep in flowers if they are caught out late in the evening.It's usually just one bee per flower so I would suspect something else here.Perhaps jylgaskin is right,drunken party.
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

June 26, 2008
5:14 PM

Post #5163176

Hmm. Wonder what they were partying on. I'll have to check:)
I'd been thinking maybe commercial hives, but I can't find anything anywhere near that would need them. I'm pretty rural, but not much farming, except cows and goats.
Thanks for the ideas, I'll check for intoxicants. Today everyone seems lively, and the Bumbles are out in force.
margo
jylgaskin
Williamsburg, MI
(Zone 4b)

June 27, 2008
1:17 AM

Post #5165496

I really need to get a new keyboard. I've never quite gotten used to this one and just noticed that I have hiney bees (is that a bee with a big butt?)and charpenter bees (who knows what they are.) Sorry
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

June 27, 2008
12:20 PM

Post #5167250

Actually, the "hiney" bees made me smile. Seems like that's what I see most of, so it seemed appropriate:). I didn't even notice the "h", just read as "carpenter".
There were plenty of all kinds of bees yesterday, so maybe they were just sleeping late this year.
Thanks again

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