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Thread: Swallows

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Ellensburg, Washington, USA East Edges of the Cascades
    Posts
    61

    Post

    There are about 15 swallows that are flying about 75 feet from my 3 hives all day and I am afraid that they might be eating bees to fast for them to build up from packages, is this somthing to worry about?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,384

    Post

    There are a lot of swallows that live not far from my house. I've never seen them eating bees. Has anyone else?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    They say they do.
    http://sites.state.pa.us/PA_Exec/PGC...es/chimney.htm
    http://www.pgc.state.pa.us/pgc/lib/p...f/swallows.pdf
    http://www.swallowschool.it/ingl/lea...arning_02.html

    What swallows eat
    Like all its relatives in the Hirundinidae family, the swallow is an insectivorous bird which catches its prey in flight and needs wide open spaces for its aerial manoeuvres. Sometimes it can be seen skimming past walls and over treetops, because in this way it makes the insects resting there take off so it can then intercept them. It can also catch spiders sitting in their webs.

    The swallow's prey consists of insects with a thin hard outer layer (exoskeleton) belonging principally to the order of Diptera, i.e. flies and mosquitoes. These account for 60 to 90% of the swallow's diet, but its "menu" can also include tiny green aphids (Homoptera), large beetles (Coleoptera), bees and wasps (Hymenoptera), colourful butterflies (Lepidoptera) and stink-bugs (Heteroptera). All prey is swallowed whole (swallows have no teeth!).

    The diet changes in winter when swallows move to Africa and the wide variety of insects is reduced to flies (Chironomidae, Sepsidae, Tachinidae), butterflies (Lepidoptera), wasps (Ichneumonoidea), ants (Hymenoptera) and termites (Isoptera). Swallows favour the larger, fatter insects, because their higher energy content makes up for the greater energy expenditure in catching them.


    Swallows hunt both alone and in large groups, which concentrate along watercourses or near livestock pens, i.e. where insects are most abundant. It should be noted that feeding is severely affected by adverse weather: persistent rain and cold spells sharply reduce the abundancy of insects. In such conditions swallows concentrate on the areas where insects take shelter, such as standing water and at ground level, while in fine weather they follow their prey high up in the air.



    With their feeding habits, swallows act as a kind of natural insecticide. A swallow is estimated to catch seven or eight times its own body weight in insects (up to 170 grams) per day. Hence in Italy swallows destroy from 12 to 31 thousand tons of flies and mosquitoes a year, in a perfectly ecological and pollution-free way.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Bradenton, FL, and Davenport, IA, USA
    Posts
    930

    Post

    I dont' think the swallows could eat enough bees from a hive to damage the population. Hives can produce up to 1,500 bees per day if the queen has the space and the cluster is large enough to surround that much comb.

    I have Cuban Anoles here which are small insectivorous lizards. They have found my beehives and you see them picking off the bees occasionally.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Twig, Minnesota USA
    Posts
    66

    Post

    I too have many Swallows in and around my home. I actually try to attract them, to help keep down the skeeter problem here in MN. I have seen them occasionally take a bee or too.

    Matter of fact, I have seen dragonflies take many more bees in front of my hives without population lose to the colonies. Well, at least the bees haven't complained about it. Yet!

    So, I guess I am saying don't worry.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    The Scenic Flint Hills , KS
    Posts
    5,159

    Post

    >I actually try to attract them, to help keep down the skeeter problem here in MN.

    I heard that the skeeter is the state bird for Minnesota.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Winnipeg Manitoba
    Posts
    311

    Post

    I've been having the same problem of late.
    I find that if you hang streamers and pie plates on twine near the hives and the trees the birds rest in, they become discouraged.
    Once spring progresses and more types of insects emerge they usualy go after slower
    insects, or larger ones.
    They can cause quite a bit of an inpact on your spring build up. These birds are nesting and feeding young besides themselves. Established hives can crank out 1500 replacements a day but newly hived packages cannot. If all else fails, there are farm supply stores that sell "thumpers"
    wich are basicaly bigg *** noisemakers that go off every 5 min. or so. These are designed to keep geese away from grain fields. That, or shoot them.

    J.R.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA USA
    Posts
    119

    Post

    Here's a predator I didn't count on: http://www.blackcatnetworkhelp.net/s...pider_grab.jpg

    [This message has been edited by mnist (edited May 14, 2004).]

    [This message has been edited by mnist (edited May 14, 2004).]

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
    Posts
    1,914

    Question

    African or European?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,384

    Post

    Laden or unladen? (coconuts maybe?)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,384

    Post

    I've had huge garden spiders taking advantage of the bees. I thought they were so beautiful, I just moved them.

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