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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Lorain County, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    3

    Default So my neighbors are beekeepers...

    ...and I grow carnivorous plants.

    We moved into our new house over the winter and I'm trying to come up with a way for both of us to be happy once spring rolls around. I don't want my plants to eat their bees, but my plants do need lots of sunlight to grow well. I was thinking of building an enclosure to put around my plants and wrap it in 1/8" mesh hardware cloth. I know 1/8" is pretty small, but was wondering if honey bees could still crawl through mesh that tight? Do any of you honey bee enthusiasts know? I could always just use bug screen if I had to, but that would significantly reduce sunlight and would keep pretty much all bugs out, which is not what I'm going for.

    Or if anyone has any other ideas of how to keep their bees from getting eaten, let me know!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Lynchburg, Virginia
    Posts
    64

    Default Re: So my neighbors are beekeepers...

    It probably won't be an issue for most plants. Sundews might grab a few, but I don't think bees will be very interested in pitcher plants or Venus Fly traps. In any case, unless you are planting acres of bee-eating plants I doubt they'll have much of an impact on the hives' populations. Very cool to see you showing concern for them though!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Martin, Tn
    Posts
    75

    Default Re: So my neighbors are beekeepers...

    i agree with AChabot, probably wont be a big deal. A queen can lay over a thousand eggs a day. Thats really cool you grow carniverous plants, they have always amazed me. To specifically answer your question 1/8 mesh is bee tight but like i said you wont need it.
    Jason Young

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,408

    Default Re: So my neighbors are beekeepers...

    Bees face all kinds of threats, including some birds that eat bees. In foraging weather hundreds of bees from each hive expire (from old age, if nothing else gets them) in a single day. It hardly seems likely that your plants could eat enough bees to make a difference to your neighboring beekeeper.

    However, please try to avoid insecticides that are toxic to bees, or at least apply them at times that bees are not flying.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,771

    Default Re: So my neighbors are beekeepers...

    Agreeing with the previous posters regarding the minimal effects of the plants but regarding your question, I think that 1/8" cloth would be fine. We use that size to close in bees during transportation, etc. I might just let things go first to see what happens and use the screen as a fallback approach!
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Lorain County, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: So my neighbors are beekeepers...

    Thanks for all the responses! Glad to know my set up shouldn't endanger their bees! The neighbors are really nice and even gave us a jar of honey when we moved in, so I felt especially bad about it.

    It was the pitcher plants I was most worried about eating bees. Venus flytraps could only eat maybe 1 bee every week or so, and the bees would be too strong to get eaten by a sundew or butterwort (they can only catch smaller bugs like gnats and mosquitos). But pitcher plants could probably eat several per day, they're kinda gluttons

    But if a queen is making over 1000 eggs per day, It would seem my little 4 foot garden wouldn't have any significant impact.

    I'll probably still put the mesh around them just to spare a few bees.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    530

    Default Re: So my neighbors are beekeepers...

    Now this must be a first. I've seen many threads where folks are wondering what plants to put in for the bees. First time I've seen a thread about having bees as plant food......

    How many bee-eating plants do you have ? And how many bees would each eat in a day ? This ofc assumes, the bees will visit those plants in the first place. If the combined numbers (plants x bees per day) total less than a few hundred, and the hive count next door is greater than one, then in all likelihood, it wont even be noticed. Keep in mind also, how a hive works.

    Scouts go out, and find nectar sources, then return to the hive with the good news, and directions to the source. At that point, the main workforce heads out to that location. If a scout never returns from your plants, because it was eaten by the plant, then very few bees will actually show up at those plants. The main force of nectar gathering workers, will be headed elsewhere, based on scouts that do return to the hive.

    So, after all that, if you are still worried about it, based on your posting here to ask, I'm going to guess you are on good terms with the neighbor, so, there is a more cost effective way to deal with the problem of how many bees your plants may eat. It'll cost quite a bit to buy enough screening etc, but your neighbor probably has a spare box, and a few spare frames. Make a deal, get the neighbor to put a couple frames of bees into a spare box, and you pony up 20 bucks to buy a queen and place it with those bees. You have just created a nuc, which will supply far more new bees than your plants will ever eat. When the nuc has built up to overflowing, neighbor can steal a frame of brood out of it, and resupply fresh brood into hives that have taken a hit due to the plants. It's an inexpensive win-win for everybody. You dont have to fuss with netting, and that queen will produce more bees than your plants will ever eat, everybody is ahead on the deal.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Pickaway/Fairfield Cty, OH
    Posts
    108

    Default Re: So my neighbors are beekeepers...

    My understanding of pitcher plants is that they smell like rotten meat and attract flies. Bees are not going to go for that, they like sweet stuff, nectar primarily. I wouldn't even worry about the mesh. Wouldn't that keep the flies out and deprive the plants of whatever nutrition they get from insects?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,404

    Default Re: So my neighbors are beekeepers...

    4x4 garden of insect eating plants...........I say let them eat! There are roughly 60,000 bees to a good hive, with more being made everyday! It was nice of you to worry about it, but I wouldn't! Cars going up and down your street will probably kill more bees than your plants!
    Coyote Creek Bees

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,395

    Default Re: So my neighbors are beekeepers...

    This is such a cool thread. I want to get a few of those plants also to get the fruit flys when my wife forgets to throw away the older bananas. I would think they would be hardier then a house plant also. Plus it bites back if you piss it off. How cool is that. My wife has a bird that I would love to get stuck in one of those plants. How many gallon plant I would need to get rid of a Quaker parrot.?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Lorain County, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: So my neighbors are beekeepers...

    Well the screen is actually serving two purposes: in addition to keeping bees out, it will also keep squirrels out. There are tons of squirrels around and they dig up everything. If I was only concerned about squirrels, I'd use a wider mesh, like 1/2" or maybe 1" since it would let more sun and bugs in. I actually already have some screen terrarium lids that I'm going to cut up for the screen, so cost isn't a big concern for me. And not getting enough bugs as food is not a big concern either. These plants can survive indefinitely without eating bugs, it just makes them bigger and healthier, kinda like fertilizer for a normal plant. I was also kinda thinking about taking the lids off at night and putting a flashlight inside the box for awhile then taking the light and putting the lids back on. I'm sure there'd be plenty of bugs in there for awhile after that.

    Oh and the neighbors have 3 boxes so there should be plenty of bees. That's interesting that the bees wouldn't be returning to tell the others where to go, and thus wouldn't have as many going back. I think the plants are close enough to the boxes that many would find it though, they're only going to be maybe 200 feet or so apart. Maybe when the plants flower I'll take the lid off and see what happens. It would help pollinate the plants I guess.

    And bees are attracted to most of these plants. They emit some kind of insect-luring smell or something, and several have nectar out in the open to lead bugs into their traps. This will be my first year growing them outside, so I can't say for sure what all they'll catch, but I know pretty much all of them draw bees.

    @EastSideBuzz: Most are tricky to grow indoors. There are some very specific needs that almost all carnivorous plants have in common: lots of sunlight (or an artificial growlight), very mineral-poor soil like peat moss, and mineral-free water (distilled or reverse osmosis ONLY! anything else will kill the plants). If you, or anyone else, is interested in learning more about carnivorous plants, there's a forum I use sometimes here: http://www.flytrapcare.com/phpBB3/ you could check out. The guy who runs the board also sells really awesome venus flytraps too, like the best I've found on the web. Check it out if you're interested.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Springfield,VA
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: So my neighbors are beekeepers...

    EternitySmile, I have two hives and have had carnivorous plants the last two summers..
    They have never gotten a bee!
    Last summer, the sundews caught about a dozen flies over the entire season..

    Unfortunately, I can't seem to over winter the plants...

    I think your bee neighbors should be happy to have you in the neighborhood! I know I would!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: So my neighbors are beekeepers...

    I'm a beekeeper...and I grow carnivorous plants! Nice to meet you Eternity. Yeah, I agree with the above that you'll have no problems.

    Eastside, most carnivorous plants are best outside (don't even require any winter protection around here), as Eternity says. There are a few that do well inside as long as you've got decent light, though in my experience they don't catch enough fruit flies to make a serious dent in the infestations. We should chat sometime since we're neighbors and all

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: So my neighbors are beekeepers...

    Another beekeeper here who also raises carnivorous plants... I have a bog garden containing flytraps, huge clumps of pitcher plants, sundews, and other insect eating plants but have never noticed a single bee captured. The small pond and water plants right next to the bog garden receive frequent visits from the bees but they have no interest in my bog plants even though some of them have flowers.

    VAMON, are you growing hardy varieties rather than tropical ones? I'm further north and have no problem over wintering even the flytraps with no special treatment.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,167

    Default Re: So my neighbors are beekeepers...

    Sounds like the neighbors raising a nice food supply for you're plants, if you're concern is the bees I wouldn't worry about it.
    Bees might be attracted to the ones that use sweet nectar to attract insects, but not the ones that use rotten meat.

    I'm from Avon, where in Lorain county are you?
    Dan

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: So my neighbors are beekeepers...

    As a side note...pretty much all carnivorous plants that "bait" insects do so with a sweet nectar of some sort. I actually can't think of any carnivorous plants that smell like rotten meat. Certainly not any of the commonly cultivated ones (nepenthes, drosera, sarracenia, pinguicula, flytraps). I don't have personal experience with cephalotus, heliamphora, or darlingtonia, but I've never heard of a bad smell from any of them.

    Voodoo lily flowers smell like rotten meat, but they're not actually carnivorous.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,505

    Default Re: So my neighbors are beekeepers...

    Given the rate at which carnivorous plants consume insects, I'd not worry. A bee or three a week isn't going to depopulate a hive.

    Peter

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    2,001

    Default Re: So my neighbors are beekeepers...

    Wait a minute!!!! Ya'll are badly, badly WRONG!!!!!

    Haven't ya'll seen that commercial where that giant venus flytrap is eating that golfer???? Think of how many bees it'd take to feed that thing!!!! Gee, doesn't anybody watch TV anymore?????






  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: So my neighbors are beekeepers...

    A prominent and pivotal member of a nearby county beekeeping club raises Venus fly traps on the top covers. I wouldn't worry about it.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    2,001

    Default Re: So my neighbors are beekeepers...

    throrope, now that could be a unique shb trap!!!!!

    Ed

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