Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Las Cruces, NM USA
    Posts
    20

    Post

    It's not just hype; the bees are gone.

    I took my truck over for repairs and decided to walk home thru' the lovely back alleys of my town. Back yards and alleyways were festooned with large banks of blooming bushes, flowers and trees. I_did_not_see_one_bee! I saw a wasp on a prickly pear cactus,a couple small butterflies and a humming bird , but no bees. There are beekeepers 2 or 3 miles from here across the valley, but they probably find enough forage for them selves close to their hives. A large bank of honeysuckle about 100yards long, didn't have a polinator on it. Even if they are not giving off necter, I would assume a few bees would be checking them. Roses, cottonwood, alfalfa and all manner of blooming plants without bees. It's very disturbing.

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    Linc

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Post

    There are definitely less bees than there used to be.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    parker county, tx
    Posts
    7,923

    Post

    Well, according to several articles I have read, it is estimated that 90-95% of the wild hives have died out from mites, so basically, that means that beekeepers' hives are the great majority of bees in the country except for the wild hives that originated from beekeeper hives, and who knows how many of them survive in the wild. I never realized until the past 5 or so years, how many feral hives there were.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Las Cruces, NM USA
    Posts
    20

    Post

    I would imagine that feral bees have always accounted for at least half of the pollination. Are the farmers hiring more hives for their fields? I often see large fields of alfalfa here, without a hive in sight during bloom. Is that a curtural thing with farmers that don't want to spend on pollinations services, or are they turning to other pollinators like leaf-cutter bees? Do pollination services command a higher price now?

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    Linc

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Post

    If you are rasing alfalfa for hay, pollenation is irelevant. If you're raising alfalfa seed, honey bees are irrelevant. Honey bees have TOO long a tongue and can suck the nectar out without getting into the flower. Leafcutter bees and alkali bees do a much better job. Of course, I still hate to see all that nectar go to waste.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Mineral, Virginia
    Posts
    188

    Post

    I had noticed the same thing over the last two years and I live in the "country". Mostly what we had been seeing in the garden and feilds are the small, bumblebee, often refered to as a bleuberry bumblebee.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Post

    For several years there I didn't see any bees around at all, unless they were mine. When I first moved to the country, before I moved my bees I didn't see any. After I moved my bees out from town, I occasionally notices small black honey bees, especially on my russian sage. I think there are still very few feral bees but they are starting to make a comeback now.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico
    Posts
    6,572

    Post

    There was an article in this mornings Farmington paper about Africanized bees in New Mexico. Seems Dona Ana county has their fair share. I wonder if this has anything to do with it. I'm also guessing that because LC and surrounding arable land is concentrated in the valley that any pesticide use will only compound the problem.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Las Cruces, NM USA
    Posts
    20

    Post

    Coyote, the AHB has been well documented here. I have been here for 5 years but have no personal experience with any africanized bees. Thing is, if they are mite resistant and more aggressive than feral or domestic honey bees, you should be able to see them in the field. Admittedly, I would not be able to tell them from regular honey bees, since they are not likely to be especially aggressive when out foraging. You are also probably right about chemicals the farmers use-it can't be helping them.

    This morning I went down by the Rio Grande to see if I could find some feral bees. It is a wild area with a lot of old hollow cottonwoods offering good housing for wild bees. I finally found a large bush all the pollinators were working heavily. Mostly I saw large wasps and millers but eventually identified leaf cutter bees. I finally saw a feral bee. It was loaded with pollen and had a short bulbous black abdomen with white down the sides. I was surprised at how agile it was as compared to a regular mellifera. It wouldn't let me approach too closely. There were also a few very tiney grey colored bees that were exceptionally agile and had a habit of hovering-they were intirely too tiney to be of the honey bee family. I saw another bee that I identified as probably a honey bee, with its typical pendulous flight.

    On the way out from the river, I past the New Mexico University research labs and they had 4 or 5 hives on the edge of one of their experimental crop fields. I guess their bees had enough forage in front of their landing board to bother with slim pickings down by the river.

    I would like to find a feral nest so that I could put them in a nuc' and requeen with good domestic stock. It don't look like it's going to be that easy , though. It's late in the year, but we have a long growing season and I could probably get them up to strength before winter.



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    Linc

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Post

    The true feral bees around here are significantly smaller than typical domestic bees. Probably just natural sized cells, but still noticably smaller. I'd say about 3/8" long. (between 9 and 10 mm) They are proportiond like a regular honey bee, so they are not "wasp like" nor fat and "bumble bee like".

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Las Cruces, NM USA
    Posts
    20

    Post

    Michael, I am not an expert in this, but I am pretty sure I saw a feral bee. As you say the size is maybe 1/2 or 5/8ths of a regular honey bee. The foreparts were pretty much like a carnica, with very similar hair pattern and coloring . Overall, the shape of the abdomen was not as graceful as a honeybee. with the section meeting the thorax slightly larger. It looked like a pigmy honeybee with a black abdomen. It did not have ,at all, the shape of a bumble bee.

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    Linc

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,113

    Post

    The ones here look black at first sight. If the light catches them right they have dark reddish stripes, but these are not apparent. I've had them drift into my observation hive and live with my other small cell bees. They were still smaller than them (at the time mine were on 5.15mm cell size). Up until then I wasn't entirely sure that they were honey bees because of their size.

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