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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Laurel, MS
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    What would the best way to determine if there are any feral bees in a particular area?

    I did a test about a month ago. I placed a standard entrance feeder, with 50/50 sugar water in it, on the lowered tailgate of my pickup. It was leaking a little, so sugar water was also on the tailgate. During the next 2 days, I did not see the first honey bee at the feeder. Wouldn't this indicate the there are no feral hives anywhere near me?

    [size="1"][ September 26, 2006, 08:22 PM: Message edited by: nsmith1957 ][/size]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
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    I'd give it more time and put some lemongrass oil in the "bait".

    Waya
    WayaCoyote

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    tulsa, ok usa
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    Use some honey as bait also.
    Home of the ventilated and sting resistant Ultra Breeze bee suits and jackets
    http://www.honeymoonapiaries.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
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    1,313

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    I've given this some thought too.

    I've seen situations where the bees would not even touch spilled honey when left out, so food as bait is heavily dependant on forage conditions. I assume when there is a flow on they'd rather get nectar than honey.

    I’ve also seen times when I spill a little honey and put out some sticky supers and no bees come to clean up, but the next morning I thought it was safe then to leave a box with some frames out on the tailgate for a while – and in an hour I had a thousand or more bees on the tailgate. They seem to like comb and the smell of hive parts and wax a lot more than just the honey. Lesson learned: Use frames with comb and wax and honey as bait – not just sugar water. I think if you set them in the sun to get warm and give off that nice warm wax smell is better too.

    Another page I read somewhere said that if you want to be absolutely sure that an area has NO feral bees at all then do this: Take a full hive and make it hopelessly queen less (Cage the queen for a week will do it) so that no brood can be made into a queen. Then give them a queen cell and move them to the area in question. If there are ANY feral hives with drones out there that queen will be laying eggs in a couple weeks, but if she becomes a drone layer because she did not get mated then you KNOW with pretty much certainty there are no feral hives out there. One problem with this plan is that you somehow have to be sure there are no drones or even drone cells in that hive. That might be difficult to be sure about.
    Troy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
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    --What would the best way to determine if there are any feral bees in a particular area?

    I would set up maybe 3 feeding stations so that you will be able to triangulate the beelines to the nests. Supply the feeding stations for a few days to allow the foragers from feral colonies to get accustomed to finding food there before starting the survey. You can then visit each feeding station and easily plot out how many feral colonies are in the area by the direction they are going.

    We have a few manuscripts in the Feral Bee Project on how to do this:

    Bee- Lining as a Research Technique in Ecological Study.pdf

    Bees in the Forrest Still.pdf

    Here’s the link, not sure if it will work or not. If not, you might have to join to view the manuscripts.

    http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/F...6%20Beelining/

    -- I did not see the first honey bee at the feeder. Wouldn't this indicate the there are no feral hives anywhere near me?

    If there is a flow on, they may not visit the reward. OR you can try using a more profitable source to increase atractability, like honey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Worthington, Pennsylvania USA
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    Pcolar-thanks for that tip--why didn't I think of that. Next year I will try that out.
    "Younz" have a great day, I will.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Try looking at water supplies. Creeks. Ponds. Etc. Bees are always gathering water.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
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    --Pcolar-thanks for that tip--why didn't I think of that. Next year I will try that out.

    It works best about this time of year as they go for robbing honey really well. I set some of my cappings out and then sit on a chair and mark the direction each bee is going. After a while, you can begin to distinguish several specific directions bees are flying to. This info can be recorded, then at a later date, you can do the same thing at another location to get a plot. Or you can time the bees and just take a walk in that direction and search that way.

    Also to speed up the process of finding the most nearest colonies. I will get some foragers from a distant apiary, feed them and let them loose in the area I want to find ferals in. These bees will find the nearest colonies to drift into (usually up wind), then dance the location of the reward and return quickly.

    Some related info:

    Lost bees will become accepted into a new hive.
    Read here:
    http://www.earthsky.org/shows/listen...?date=20040919

    Or listen here:
    http://www.earthsky.org/audio/listen...shows/20040919

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Worthington, Pennsylvania USA
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    Add a four wheeler atv instead of walking and just imagine how much territory one could cover. I like the idea of setting up feeders in a large pattern and checking several times a day, may discover a few wild colonies next year and if it warms up again next week maybe some this year.
    "Younz" have a great day, I will.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Laurel, MS
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    Goldenrod bloom is near its end here now. I have looked for bees around ponds near here, no bees. I have looked at the goldenrod blooms on several occasions, no bees. If there are any honey bee colonys around me, they sure do a good job a playing, "hide and go seek".

    [size="1"][ October 22, 2006, 10:03 AM: Message edited by: nsmith1957 ][/size]

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Southern Oregon
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    I like Troy's suggestion of attempting to mate a virgin in the area. This is a great technique to determine if you actually have an isolated mating yard.
    JBJ
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    tulsa, ok usa
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    It does help to bait the syrup with lemongrass oil or honey. I have done some open feeding without scenting the HFC and they don't find or pass it up. A little bit of honey or lemongrass oil will make a difference.

    Troy is correct if there is something better they won't touch it.
    Home of the ventilated and sting resistant Ultra Breeze bee suits and jackets
    http://www.honeymoonapiaries.com

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