Bee Feeding Update

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

While the butterflies aren't using the feeder I bought for them, the bees *love* it - even more than the flat dish I was using. Early morning, there are 3-6 scouts. Then I fill the feeder, hang it and stand back -- within a few minutes there are a dozen plus, 15-20 mins later, the feeder is covered and, at the hour mark, it looks like a rugby scrum -- see pic. Then within minutes of emptying the feeder, most have dispersed. Some drink from the birdie water dish through out the day. I could probably fill the feeder several times over but am concerned that once life here in the complex gets going, around 7:30a, even the more unobservant neighbors *might* notice the scrum and complain to the office who probably make me stop. I hate being paranoid like this, but I am. And, a friend in Ohio and one in Paris France have committed to buying feeders and feeding bees in their gardens/balconies. jo

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Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Very cool. What do you feed "your" bees? Is it the standard sugar water mixture recipe that comes with the feeder? We live on a bit of property in a rural area, and I could place something like this in a "non-people, non-canine" area and let the girls go at it. I imagine all kinds of insects might visit. We have a large number of polinating wasps and flies here that might also partake. Also, do you have a problem with ants? We live in the high desert, and ants seem to love it here. I don't mind them, but they might make cleaning the feeder a nusance. Sorry for all the questions. I'm not quite ready for a hive of my own, but thought this might be good to keep me "bee happy" in the mean time. Thanks!

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

Have been using the hummer ratio (4 water/1 sugar/boil) for the bees. While that's too strong a mix for the butterflies, they aren't using the feeder so I figured that it's ok. Any kind of really shallow dish would work -- as long as they can cling to something and put their "noses" in the water safely. I have some wasps come by now and then as well.

As to the ants: I feed the ants who are down on the ground, I'm on the 4th floor. I tell them this is so they don't have to come all the ways upstairs for food. Once in a while there will be a few ants (less than 6) in the hummer feeder. The live ones, I toss back to the ground, the dead go down the drain. Oddly enough, the days that the ants come to the feeder are the days I haven't fed them. If interspecies communication is of interest to you: check out Clive Backster's work, including his new book, Primary Perceptions - his work has been mostly with plants but the theories hold true. I also don't have flies or ants in the house (4th floor?) I don't know but ever since I quit killing insects I have had no problems with them.

Good luck and thanks for feeding the bees! jo

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

I've always found insects facinating. I've had a tarantula for about 6 years now, and she is quite an interesting girl. Funny you mention feeding the ants on the ground floor, because my son feeds them "way out back" so they won't have to visit "indoors" ! ...polinators are hard to come by out here, so maybe feeding them will help them survive when things are not in bloom. Thanks for the info!

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

Wow! I'm not alone?! Cool! Tell your son "Hey" for me -- jo

Rose Lodge, OR(Zone 8b)

I don't kill anything except mosquitoes, fleas & ticks. Occasionally a fly if I'm reading in bed & one is buzzing round & round the bedroom.

I love little creatures of all kinds. They are so much fun to watch. I even fed 4 tobacco hornworms this week & gave them a box to pupate in so I can see the hawk moths when they hatch. I haven't been able to shut my back door for a month because a mud dauber nested on the jamb.

But I've never fed ants. There is a cottonwood sapling in my veggie garden that is thick with aphids & their little "farmers."

Bolivar, TN(Zone 7a)

The bees are coming to your feeders because it is easier than flying around looking for flowers. Also at this time there may be nothing blooming and they need to build up their supplies for the winter time so they can survive. Also they need water to help keep the hive cool and for the other bees that stay in the hive. So thanks for putting out food and water for them. LIZ

Raeford, NC

The picture of the bees at the feeder I loved it. Have been wanting to get into beekeeping but am not sure how to go about it. My house is on 1.45 ac and I own a lot beside me that is 1.35 wooded so I have the space just do not know how to start. Deanna

New Madrid, MO

The best single resource to get into the hobby is "Bee Keeping for Dummies" there are lots of "how to" guides, but it is the best. I have found Brushy Mountain Bee Farm, which is also located in North Carolina, to be a great equipment supplier--they have a beginners kit. It helps to have a mentor, but if you don't the guide will tell you what you need to know--and you have all winter to study up since bees are shipped in the late spring. I use Wilbanks Apiaries as a supplier for my bees. They are in Georgia. Buy three-banded Italians. For a start up hive purchase three pounds of bees and a marked queen. Another tip--feed your bees well in to July even though they arrive during the honey flow (white blossoms) they need that extra boost. Good luck!

Raeford, NC

Thanks, Bootheel

Aptos, CA

Look for the product 'Honey B Healthy' is an additive to sugar syrup for bees...helps them along I am bees are not interested in sugar syrup as of yet...still have a flow going...thank goodness...

Kennett Square, PA

Another great and easy way to get into beekeeping is to take a beginners beekeeping course. Most local beekeeper organizations hold them to encourage the trade/hobby. Usually a day course that introduces you to all you need to know to get started. Also - you meet the people in the group who will help you as the years progress. This is a very social hobby.

Look on the internet for beekeeper groups in your town or county. Your police may keep a swarm collection list - the beekeepers on that will probably know what the local group's name is.

It is easy - fun - and good for the environment!

Gatineau, Canada

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central, MN(Zone 4b)

I put a sock on a rock, put it in a shallow water dish for the birds, and the bees love that. However, the honey bees flocked across to a neighbor's tree and she called a bee man to remove them. I would like the bee's to stay in my yard, to help polinate my apple trees. Should I put up a box for honey bees, or can I use the mason bee's to keep the bee's around to polinate the apple trees and garden? Thanks, nitygrity

No Central, AZ(Zone 7b)

I just happened across this forum. I had a bee experience recently, they started feeding from the hummingbird feeder. The feeder has been there a few years, but this is the first time I've seen this. The hummers were not happy since they were getting chased off. I have the water for all the birds under the hummers feeder and the bees and butterflies use it regularly, but when the bees took over the feeder, the birds appeared to be a little fearful of hanging around the water. The birdseed feed is only about 3 feet away and slightly higher. Those bees sucked the hummers' feeder dry (about a quart) in 2.5 days!! I haven't refilled because I thought the bees should be pollinating my veggies not getting getting drunk on sugar water!!

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

quiltygirl: are there blossoms to be pollinated this time of year? The bees are eating the sugar water because they are hungry -- it's not a preference for one type of food over another or because they *like* getting drunk. Fill a *shallow* dish with some sugar water, put a couple rocks in the dish as well so the bees who fall in the sugar water can climb out. Then the hummers can have their feeder back.


No Central, AZ(Zone 7b)

Thanks Jio1. At the time I wrote the thread, I did some summer winter squash flowers to be pollinated and there were other flowers in the garden - salvia, lantana, dianthus, alyssum, passion vine, oleander and geraniums flowering in other areas, some near the hummer's feeder. Right now the frost has accosted the lantana and geraniums, but the sugar peas, dianthus and alyssum are flowering. Don't know if peas need pollinating - I have not noticed any bees around. This week days are high 60's low 70's and we should have some 38-44 degree nights. Only slight, rooftop frost last couple nights. Seldom gets cold enough to freeze bird bath solid.

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