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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,408

    Default Lessons not learned

    I thought I'd learned this lesson before, but I guess I needed a refresher.

    I was out checking to be sure my queens had emerged and were resident - but I got called away for a short - urgent need back at the house. I had just pulled the frame with the queen cell mounted on it and I am fairly certain I saw the emerged virgin queen, but when I got the call from the house I set one end of this frame on the ground and the other end against the front of the hive. When I came back there were two large toads stationed about four inches away from the frame and were taking turns snatching bees from the frame with their tongues. I quickly snatched the frame from their reach and noticed that the virgin was not present, and about half of the initial quantity of young bees was also absent from this frame. Note to self: never rest frames on the ground if you are not going to be present to defend them. :mad:
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    goshen, ma
    Posts
    359

    Default that stinks

    Boy am I glad I dont have any bee loving toads around my house

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,408

    Default

    Looks like somehow I got a double post of the same topic. :confused:
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Sparta, Tennessee
    Posts
    2,139

    Default

    Joe, that's one thing I have never seen. Must be your part of the country. I have seen snakes working the hives, but never a toad. And after a snake living under the hive for awhile, the bees were a tad bit torqued.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Fairfield, Connecticut
    Posts
    597

    Default

    Nice double post Don't worry I won't leave any frames unattended
    If it isn't broken, don't try to fix it. If you build it, they will fill it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    6,586

    Default

    yikes!
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Cedar Bluff, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    141

    Default

    Wow that stinks! I hope the toads were the type you can bread up and fry uuummm. If not that's even worse. Man i feel for you hopefully she flew away and came back.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Perkasie, PA
    Posts
    1,998

    Default

    No worries. I have yet to encounter the colony that raises only one queen, unless it was something that I planned for them. Incidentally, why don't the toads bother with the front of the hive?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,408

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Aspera View Post
    No worries. I have yet to encounter the colony that raises only one queen, unless it was something that I planned for them. Incidentally, why don't the toads bother with the front of the hive?
    The lost virgin was from one of my cultured queen cells, fortunately I had one of her sisters, less than a day different in age (she had emerged into a queen cage) available for substitution and she was accepted immediately by direct release.

    Probably because I replaced all my bottom entrances with closed screens (all they let in or out is air). Though some toads have been industrious enough to hop on top of the lowest hives and sit there gobbling bees from their top entrances. Fortunately only two colonies were low enough to permit this (I have since raised them to safer heights). These toads are voracious, ravenous, and relentless. They are hardly intimidated by my presence - if anything, my presence causes them to follow me around the apiary collecting any bees that fall while I am manipulating combs. The behaviors of some colonies that I am endeavoring to requeen, where they scramble around their combs and fall off repeatedly in small clusters - reminiscent of lemmings running into the sea, certainly is a delight for these always hungry toads.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 08-04-2008 at 10:56 PM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,408

    Default

    Okay, I went out with my red LED headlight (it seems they can't see the red light) and a reach extender - I carefully snuck around the Nuc yard and honey yard, plucking them one at a time and placing them into a tall kitchen trash can (I snagged almost fifty of them), then I drove them seven miles downhill and dropped them off. It should take them until next season to get back, if they even do.

    After I returned I looked around my bee yards again. Already about a dozen more had come out to feed. It looks like I will need to repeat my round-ups until I make a dent in the toad hoards.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Venango/Crawford Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,712

    Default

    I had someone tell me that they don't like Ammonia and to spray out and around...also Skunks and Bears do not like the smell of Ammonia and it keeps them away...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,408

    Default

    Thanks Eaglerock, I'll try that to see.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,869

    Default

    Sounds to me like a good sci-fi movie! You wouldn't happen to have any contacts in hollywood?
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,313

    Default

    Joe,

    I'm curious if they really take that long to get back.

    If you are curious too, why not dab some of that queen paint on them before you release them.

    I'll bet they come back within a month.
    Troy

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,408

    Default

    Troy,
    I was just thinking about a way to mark the toads, so I would know if I was being revisited by any that were formerly relocated. Since they are famous for having skins that secrete a defensive slime - I'm afraid any paint wouldn't adhere sufficiently so I was thinking of using poultry leg rings. And I just happen to have some leftover leg rings I could use.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
    Posts
    2,479

    Default Toads

    I used to move bees for an old fellow here in Cal., hives on bottom boards. One eve on our way out to load, he told me something like "...bit of a problem with toads..." Started picking them up and under each colony were 3,4,5 of the biggest fattest toads you can imagine. I mean there were easy a hundred of them.

    Sometime it would be interesting to post all of the predators of bees that we've encountered. I think the list would be remarkably long!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Barry, TX USA
    Posts
    861

    Default Bait and Switch

    I'm not sure this would work but it's worth a try. I've come into a bug zapper that someone thought I would want to fix. The light works but the zapper doesn't zap. I have no need for a bug zapper but I do want toads in my garden. I plugged the bug zapper in near the garden, attracting many bugs. Under the bug zapper I attracted many toads. Perhaps strategically placing a dead bug zapper or black light would attract bugs and then toads away from your hives.

    The crazy things I come up with...

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ennis, TX USA
    Posts
    5,124

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Joseph Clemens View Post
    Troy,
    I was just thinking about a way to mark the toads, so I would know if I was being revisited by any that were formerly relocated. Since they are famous for having skins that secrete a defensive slime - I'm afraid any paint wouldn't adhere sufficiently so I was thinking of using poultry leg rings. And I just happen to have some leftover leg rings I could use.

    Nail polish works good for marking. And I'm sure we are talking about the common american toad. They will only secrete the slime in situations like a snake trying to swallow them. Right behind there head are 2 wart looking spots. Catch one and squeeze it. Thats the secretion they use. Just try it once. Not a nasty as it sounds.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,408

    Default

    These are what they call, Colorado River Toads, Bufo alvarius.

    If I didn't see it with my own eyes, I would have a hard time believing that these amphibians could be so successfully adapted to life in this desert.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Rosedale, IN
    Posts
    501

    Default

    We are always learning lessons with the bees (and toads in your case). Just when we get cocky they knock us down a peg or two.

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