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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Kirkland, WA, USA
    Posts
    1,020

    Default Bees in a compost pile?

    Got some mail from a woman who claimed she had bees in her compost pile. Most often up here that's wasps or bumble bees (in about equal distributions). Today she sent me a picture of the side of the compost pile and there is what looks like honeycomb sticking out of one side. It's weathered and stained but if I saw it on a branch there's no question I'd immediately label it honeycomb. Her husband went out to dig up the compost pile and backed away when "the entire thing started humming". I guess anything's possible.

    Anyone seen honeybees in a compost pile before?
    http://www.voiceofthehive.com - Tales of Beekeeping and Honeybees

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Posts
    3,598

    Default

    I see bees "on" my compost pile all the time, presumably collecting moisture.
    you seem to be saying they're "in" it as in building a colony in there
    my compost pile wouldn't have a cavity in it for that to happen. my guess is they're just seeing foragers gathering moisture

    Dave

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pocahontas County, West Virginia, USA
    Posts
    216

    Default

    My hives are 25 yards from my compost piles and the bees flock there. Drobbins is probably right that it's the moisture. Odd place for a colony though..
    "Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys." - P.J. O'Rourke

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    91

    Default

    I see mine in our compost piles all the time- they are collecting minerals and salts from the compost material. never seen one build comb in a compost pile before though.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Posts
    3,598

    Default

    I've actually heard that a five gallon bucket full of compost and water makes a REALLY good water source for bees if you're trying to make them leave you neighbors swimming pool alone

    Dave

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Kirkland, WA, USA
    Posts
    1,020

    Default

    Ok - so, the short story is: Not honeybees.

    A year before the previous owner had a swarm land in some tulips and build up some substantial comb. Then died due to picking a really lousy spot. Comb and tulips was thrown into the compost bin. Dozens of small black bumble bees moved in under tulips with comb.

    So, pictures show honeycomb half buried.
    Homeowner sees a lot of bees, some of which seem to be on comb.
    Not a swarm of honeybees.

    At least they paid for gas.
    http://www.voiceofthehive.com - Tales of Beekeeping and Honeybees

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Seattle, Washington State
    Posts
    4,398

    Default

    thats nice that they paid for gas. I got a swarm call this evening from Vashon Island. Waaaayyyy to far!!
    Chef Isaac..Culinary Arts and Honey are a sweet mix! http://www.sweetascanbeehoneyfarm.com & http://www.adoptahive.info

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Kirkland, WA, USA
    Posts
    1,020

    Default

    Yeah. Found the remains of the parent colony that threw the swarm as well (also dead). I have the number of a beekeeper on Vashon if you need it.
    http://www.voiceofthehive.com - Tales of Beekeeping and Honeybees

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    colo springs,CO,U.S.A.
    Posts
    57

    Wink swarms in compost

    3 years in a row I've caught a swarm of bees i a persons compost bin. They got in in a hole that the lock hooked into. This year I placed a swarm trat there on top of it and caught another swarm!!!
    practice random acts of kindness; for emily

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Milton, FL
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Bees in a compost pile?

    Quote Originally Posted by xC0000005 View Post
    Got some mail from a woman who claimed she had bees in her compost pile. Most often up here that's wasps or bumble bees (in about equal distributions). Today she sent me a picture of the side of the compost pile and there is what looks like honeycomb sticking out of one side. It's weathered and stained but if I saw it on a branch there's no question I'd immediately label it honeycomb. Her husband went out to dig up the compost pile and backed away when "the entire thing started humming". I guess anything's possible.

    Anyone seen honeybees in a compost pile before?
    I also have bees and honeycomb in my compost pile.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morris Plains, NJ USA
    Posts
    250

    Default Re: Bees in a compost pile?

    My compost heap attracts yellow jackets but next week it's going to be tilled; I think I'd better play it safe and suit-up before tilling starts. The hives are thirty feet away but the bees show no interest.

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