Bananas and bees
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  1. #1
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    May 2011
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    Kingsville, OH
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    955

    Default Bananas and bees

    I once heard bees don't like the smell of bananas, is this true?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Casey, Il, USA
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    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    alarm pheremone smells KINDA like bananas, although it has been claimed there is a connection, I don't think there is any concrete evidence that bananas trigger the same response as alarm pheremone does

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    New York City, NY
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    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    It's banana oil.

    I avoid eating bananas, or drinking anything with bananas in it, if I think that I'll work with the hives.

    I heard that juicyfruit gum had the oil in it, so I haven't chewed it in a while.

    There's a way to find out though...

  5. #4
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    May 2009
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    Bloomington In
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    770

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    I seen a video, where a man used artificial banana on a piece of cloth, he put it in front of the hive. The bee's went after it. Don't know where I found it.

  6. #5
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    Sep 2012
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    Lutz, FL, USA
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    77

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Birdman View Post
    I seen a video, where a man used artificial banana on a piece of cloth
    I guess bees don't like plastic bananas, not the smell Don't walk around the hive with an unpeeled banana!

  7. #6
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    Jun 2011
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    Olympia, Washington
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    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    I had heard that too, so I suited up and peeled a banana in front of a hive.

    The bees didn't care.
    At all.

    So I crushed some the the flesh.
    They still didn't care.
    So I sat down on my hive watching crate, took my veil off, and enjoyed a snack while I watched bees for a bit.

    Bananas have no apparent effect on my bees.

    My bees are not your bees.
    Your bees live in a different place, and may be a different race.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Davie, Florida, USA
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    825

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    We occasionally hire some local labor to help us do some of the more heavy work around our yard. One afternoon, he got popped 3 times...nobody else was stung. He came back to help us the next month, and he got nailed 5 times....again nobody else got stung. My husband even mowed, and weed whacked, with no stings at all. After he left, I spotted banana peels in the trash can. The next time he came, I told him he could not eat his banana snack. He didn't get stung that day. Coincidence? Very possible. Will I eat bananas and visit my hives? No.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Yuba City, CA, USA
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    71

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    Apparently the compounds in both the pheromone and bananas are very similar. My first experience with bananas and bees came when I was using a fancy wax on my car that contained 'banana wax' among other things. Bees were flying onto my car trying to give it a stinger. It was interesting to say the least.

    Bottom line, avoid bananas around the bees.

  10. #9
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    Nov 2009
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    Winooski, Vermont
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    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    It's artificial banana flavor - not real banana. Artificial banana flavoring is similar to bee alarm...

  11. #10
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    Nov 2012
    Location
    Springfield, Ohio, USA
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    641

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    Artificial banana flavor/scent is a pure compound called isoamyl acetate. Bananas also contain the same substance (plus many others) and the amount lessens as the fruit ripens (green bananas contain more, freckled less). Isoamyl acetate is also one of the two known alarm pheromones of A. mellifera.
    Pete. New 2013, 12 hives, zone 6a
    To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous.

  12. #11
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    May 2002
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    San Mateo, CA
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    6,770

    Default

    I just split a hive. They got a bit stingy. I sat down 20 feet away and ate my lunch. A few bees were pestering me. I opened my banana. Bees all over me. Moved back into the open garage. A bee on my open banana. Ate my banana with bees still pestering me. Finished my banana. No more bothersome bees. Lesson learned. Don't eat bananas near bothered bees.
    All of my opinions and suggestions are based on my five decades of actual beekeeping,
    not so much on book learning, watching YouTube videos nor reading internet sites.

  13. #12
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    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
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    7,793

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    Someone once told me banana would help cure chalkbrood. As I layed a piece of banana on the topbars of a previously unajatated colony, my hand turned gray with stinging bees! I was sure I had been had and would have applied rapid pressure to suggesters nose if it had been available.
    Do not mix banana and beekeeping. It could have a bad end. .

  14. #13
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    Dec 2006
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    St. Albans, Vermont
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    8,106

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    Well, I know beekeepers in Mexico and Columbia that feed "ripe" bananas to their bees. Cheap source of carbohydrates. I've seen the videos and no evidence of aggressiveness.
    Last edited by Michael Palmer; 02-06-2018 at 04:43 PM.

  15. #14
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    Feb 2016
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    Covington County, Alabama, USA
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    1,507

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    Someone has already said it, but the Koschevinikov gland produces many different compounds that make up the alarm pheromone that accompanies a sting, with Isoamyl acetate being one of them -- perhaps a primary one, I am not sure. I also am unsure if that pheromone can be produced in the absence of a sting (basically scented into the air like the Nasonov gland). If anyone knows the answer to that, please post.

  16. #15
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    Aug 2015
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    Bergen County, NJ
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    904

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    I ate bananas before opening hives, dangled banana peel in front the hives, on top bars etc, with no effect at all. I like ripe banana, so could be that.

  17. #16
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    Jun 2014
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    Palos Verdes, CA, USA
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    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    $10 for a 15 ml from amazon, just in case someone wants to do some science.
    Painted Peacock Manor, Palos Verdes, CA

  18. #17
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    Jan 2017
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    Leominster, MA, USA
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    3

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Well, I know beekeepers in Mexico and Columbia that feed "ripe" bananas to their bees. Cheap source of carbohydrates. I've seen the videos and no evidence of aggressiveness.
    My bees LOVE ripe bananas! My recommendations to avoid problems:
    * Feed only a 1/2 banana to a hive at a time. Too much of a good thing can invite bad players.
    * Feed directly over/into a large cluster of bees inside the hive, so they attack/consume all of it quickly -
    * Do not put it out front of the hive or inside the inner cover,
    those spots will only invite hive beetles,
    wasps and other pests to come and feast as well.

    Bananas provide a variety of vitamins and minerals:
    B6, Manganese, C, Potassium, Protien, Magnesium, Folate, Riboflaven, Niancin, A, and Iron.
    https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/271157.php

    Great food for developing brood.
    -enjoy
    ...Don...

  19. #18

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Franklin View Post
    I once heard bees don't like the smell of bananas, is this true?
    isoamyl acetate is a pheromone given off by bees that are stressed, a hive that is queenless or by the fermentation of pollen when small hive beetles (SHB) inoculate pollen with yeast in the hive. Banana oil is essentially isoamyl acetate. I suspect the reaction is because they are assuming a banana is small hive beetles.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Cumberland County, NC
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    5

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    C-banana boat.jpgC-Bananas About Bees.jpg

    Full disclosure: I'm a newbie-keeper. Still, I'd like to add my 2 cents.

    I found a youtube video where a BK sits between 2 hives, eating a banana. Not one bee bothered him. Given that bees' sense of smell FAR exceeds our own, "smelling like bananas" didn't seem to register as nearly close enough for bees in my book. Like this BK says, other factors - and there are many possibilities - must have been at play if you were attacked by bees "because of bananas".

    I was shocked to discover fellow beekeepers feeding bananas to their bees so I researched it a bit. It turns out that, in Australian, they use banana peels to help fend off chalk brood. They also say it has an impact on Varroa mites and individual bee health. Now, this may or may not be purely anecdotal, but it made me want to dig deeper. The science of it would have something to do with ethylene gas. The gas emitted by ripening bananas. Again, though, I couldn't find a good study on the matter but it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

    Curiosity got the best of me. . . What I wouldn't do to help my yellow-striped, winged friends. . .

    This thread aptly points to all the good nutrients found in bananas. As a former ultra distance athlete, I know how important bananas - LOTS of bananas - can be during an event. The way I see it, bees are little athletes in a league of their own. I thought it logical that they, too, might benefit from a truly amazing fruit, if they would have it. I got into beekeeping to help the bees first and foremost. Why wouldn't I look into a win-win situation where not only nutrition, but also health were both provided by one cheap solution? I thought it was definitely worth trying.

    After 2 hours of installing 2 banana halves on my feed rack, the bees had covered them both in layers of bees. Within 48 hours, they had done a great job showing me that, not only did they find the food source great, they also found their way through the peel. I removed the carcasses to replace them with fresh. Those pics were taken a good bit after I was done feeding the hive. Yet, those bees remained on my original banana halves . .

    There can only been one conclusion in my mind - though anecdotal as it may be - I'm going to keep using bananas as food source when feeding is in order.

    Hope this helps!

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,146

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    i use over ripe banana juice as an attractant in my small hive beetle traps. i've not noticed any reaction by the bees to the banana scent one way or the other.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

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