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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    248

    Default Bees "eating" bird seed

    I received a phone call from a neighbor this afternoon about bees going after the seed in his bird feeder. I knew of no explanation but with a web search I found one comment on a gardeing site that says the bees think the dust on the seed (from gathering, milling, packaging, & handling) is pollen. Actually I wouldn't be surprised if there is some trace amount of pollen in that dust. He sent me some close up pictures and they are defininetly honey bees and it looks like they may actually be filling their pollen sacs. Anyone ever seen or heard of this happening?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,319

    Default

    They are using it for pollen. I don't think they "mistake" it they just know it's the best thing they can find right now.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Lexington, KY, USA
    Posts
    504

    Default Bees "eating" bird seed

    Hi all, last year, I think it was in the spring, I panicked when I found lots of white "eggs" of maybe another pest on the sticky board. Well, after I calmed down and wrote to this forum I was told that it was only bird seed. Am I jumpy or what? Take care and have fun.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Port Orchard, WA USA
    Posts
    208

    Default

    we had a warm day 'bout a week ago, bees were all out flying around, saw a few bringing back something that looked like pollen. Couldn't figure out what the heck they could be foraging on. Now it makes sense! I'll bet a hundred bucks it was from the bird feeders. Next time I see this I'll go look at the feeders and confirm....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Pasco, Wa.
    Posts
    109

    Default

    Whenever the temp gets near 50 the last few weeks, my bees seem to make a beeline for our compost pile....coffee grounds, fruit peels, etc.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,462

    Default

    Bees will roll up and take home lots of things we wouldn't associate with honeybees. Yes, dust in bird feeders. They take home White Millet seeds, too. Also, high moisture corn from ag-bags, saw dust from the bunker, and manure from the barn floor gutter.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Hungry bees

    Now you know how open feeding of pollen substitute works.
    You might consider feeding pollen patties if it's not to early in your area.
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
    Posts
    2,479

    Default

    Here in Calif bees have been collecting sulphur from the piles in the orchards waiting to be spread, also have seen them collecting sawdust from aromatic pine.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    248

    Default

    I always thought of bees as being pretty focused on pollen and nectar. From reading these posts I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see them hauling a burger and fries back to the hive.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Sawyer, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,115

    Default

    Many bird feeds also have cracked corn in it which has protein in it, millet seed is high in protein as well. And like MB mentioned its the best thing available.
    The Busy Bee teaches two lessons: One is not to be idle and the other is not to get stung.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    franklinton,la.
    Posts
    169

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl F View Post
    I always thought of bees as being pretty focused on pollen and nectar. From reading these posts I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see them hauling a burger and fries back to the hive.
    Now that was funny, I don't care who you are.

  12. #12

    Default

    If you want to have fun - place some cracked corn on the ground. It's almost like watching a swarm in action. The bees go crazy over it in early Spring when nothing is in bloom. Use sunflower seeds and cracked corn and the bees raid the bird feeding area.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    New Stanton, Pa
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Bees "eating" bird seed

    Be careful with the bees around your compost..They are possibly (ground bees) and will attack you. We had them last year and my Husband got attacked when we went to turn the compost.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,319

    Default Re: Bees "eating" bird seed

    >I always thought of bees as being pretty focused on pollen and nectar. From reading these posts I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see them hauling a burger and fries back to the hive

    Only if there's no pollen available...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Aberdeen, Idaho
    Posts
    496

    Default Re: Bees "eating" bird seed

    When our bees are in this early season collect anything mode, we put out shallow trays of dry pollen substitute. It gives them something healthy to collect, keeps them out of the neighbors feeders, and helps dramatically with spring buildup. Fifteen hives will take a gallon of substitute a day with 6 hours of flying time.
    Dave

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