Honey Bees in Compost Bin

San Angelo, TX

I took the lid off my compost bin and was instantly surrounded by honey bees. They weren't aggressive and I didn't get any stings. My best guess for why they are there was the fruit peelings that I had deposited the day before and not stirred in. It was also warm in the black bin.

I left the lid off to discourage the bees from moving in although I don't mind them feeding there while getting ready for winter.

Has anyone else had this happen with their compost? Does anyone have suggestions for anything else to do to keep them from making a home in my compost bin?

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

I used to keep honeybees many years ago.

The behavour you described does seem unusual for them, but I think you are correct in assuming they are getting something from the fruit peelings.

It would be most unusual for honeybees to make a home in a compost bin. They prefer small cracks that open into a larger area, like the inside of walls. If the DO move in, call your local extention agent and have them recommend a local beekeeper to remove them. Once they establish a "nest" they will become agressive to protect their home.

Honeybees that are away from home are not usually agressive. Personally I enjoy their gentle buzzing sound when I'm working in the vegetable garden.

I am assuming you are correct, and that they are honeybees. If they are yellow jackets, then they could very well be looking for a new home in your compost bin. Yellow jackets can be very agressive.

San Angelo, TX

Thank you for the reassurance, HoneybeeNC. They are definitely honeybees. We see lots of them. The flowering bushes that they usually hang around are about 25 ft away and the flowers are almost gone.

I run screaming from yellow jackets at the best of times. :-)

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

The flowering bushes that they usually hang around are about 25 ft away and the flowers are almost gone.

The above quote is also a hint. Honeybees tell each other where to find nectar producing flowers. The bees that have been visiting the flowers are probably now looking elsewhere and finding your compost bin goodies.

The honeybees should move on over the next few days.

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