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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Albany, CA, USA
    Posts
    194

    Default Scrub Jay eating bees

    There is a scrub jay in my apiary that waits for the bees to return and then swoops down on them and devours them for a snack or feeds it to her baby. Does anyone know of any deterrents? I tried hanging CDs in the trees and moving them around every day, so the bird would be surprised, but that didn't work. Any other ideas? Thanks.
    Mil Apostol - Chef, Beekeeper, Gardener, Forager, and Geocacher
    http://www.UrbanFarmAndBeehives.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,379

    Default Re: Scrub Jay eating bees

    Let it eat and be merry, your hives will make more bees!! Even if it ate 30 per day that would only be roughly 900 per month, in that time your hive should have produced around 15,000 at the least. It would probably amaze you how many of your bees dont make it back home from cars, preying insects, other birds, insecticides and fly swatters!!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    965

    Default Re: Scrub Jay eating bees

    If you live in the country, a .410 gauge shotgun works pretty well and prevents recurrence.

    In town, a .177 or .22 caliber air rifle will serve the same purpose, but might take slightly longer.

    Both methods, when successful, provide organic fertilizer.

    Have fun.
    Enjoy your bees.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,334

    Default Re: Scrub Jay eating bees

    I have several Jays who dine on my rooftop apiary. BeeGhost is right, they don't eat enough to be a serious threat. They're omnivorous so bees aren't their main diet. However, if it makes you feel better, do what Beregondo suggests.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,464

    Default Re: Scrub Jay eating bees

    I had the same problem but even worse. I had a Jay, who was basically a pet - he was eating from my hands, demands food, took a bath a feet away from me etc... One day I discovered that he is eating my bees! I felt so betrayed... squirrels are eating my fruits, ants are eating the whole hill with the house and NOW Jay. Also - phoebe, eat bees too! I took this bee-business seriously and show to Jay my airgun, which I am keeping for squirrels (no effect on squirrels at all). Jay made a huge deal out of the gun and relocated with scandal. Phoebe is still eating bees... Interestingly, phoebe is just sitting and waiting in front of the hive, than pick one and fly away. I am hoping, may be he is catching drones? They are bigger, right? Regarding amount of eaten bees. My wife told me that phoebe make a special small noise every time he eat insect. All her family all about birds. Anyway, based on this phoebe noise, he eats a lot - he made this noise every 10 seconds... I also noticed the reduction of bees population in the hive attended by birds. Sergey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Pleasant Prairie, Wisonsin, USA
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Scrub Jay eating bees

    I've got the same problem here although the offenders are barn swallows. I'm really glad to hear they won't make any sizable dent in our hive population. Sometimes I have ten or more swallows swooping, diving, criss crossing and doing aerial acrobatics as I manipulate the hives. I'm amazed I haven't been clobbered by one of these birds. I may need to wear a crash helmet yet! I think they know if they see a white garbed person lumbering into the rear pasture w/ smoker, it's dinner time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    South Weber, UT
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Scrub Jay eating bees

    We feed our scrub jay peanuts in the shell. We haven't had too many problems with them eating bees but they are feeding kids now so they need something. I don't think they can take enough to make a difference. One beek I know would say they are taking the old foragers that have nosema and you are better off without them anyway.

    Good luck!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,464

    Default Re: Scrub Jay eating bees

    My Jay had Swiss cheese every morning for his wife (first) and than for himself! So, he has a lot of protein. I do not know why he decided to eat bees. I suspect he learned from phoebe. I have no problem if bird eat unhealthy or old bees, but how I could know? I feel sorry he relocated. Sergey

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Albany, CA, USA
    Posts
    194

    Default Re: Scrub Jay eating bees

    Thanks for the entertaining replies! I, personally, am fine with Jay eating the bees as we have a healthy population, but someone asked me about birds (and they were really annoyed) and wanted an answer.

    Our mommy Jay is seasonal. She is only around when she has to feed the babies. I don't mind her as I am quite amused by her antics.

    Thanks again!
    Mil Apostol - Chef, Beekeeper, Gardener, Forager, and Geocacher
    http://www.UrbanFarmAndBeehives.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Dent/Texas County, Missouri
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Scrub Jay eating bees

    Take a trip to the dollar store or toy store and get some fake snakes. Put one on top of hive for air strike prevention and one or two on ground around enterance.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Novato, CA
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: Scrub Jay eating bees

    I have them two and they come and go. If it really bothers you get some plastic screening like deer fence and throw over the hive, at least the flight area to make it harder. But, they probably get plenty of bees away from the hive too, just part of nature.

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