Bananas and bees - Page 2
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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Cumberland County, NC
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Skyesbees View Post
    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.
    I'd like to know where you got this information. My digging into your affirmations led me to the following.

    Per Wikipedia definition about the chemical composition of "Banana Oil" is as follows:

    "Isoamyl acetate, also known as isopentyl acetate, is an organic compound that is the ester formed from isoamyl alcohol and acetic acid. It is a colorless liquid that is only slightly soluble in water, but very soluble in most organic solvents. Isoamyl acetate has a strong odor which is also described as similar to both banana and pear.[3] Pure isoamyl acetate, or mixtures of isoamyl acetate, amyl acetate, and other flavors may be referred to as Banana oil.[4]"

    "Esters are formed by the reactions of organic acids and alcohols created during fermentation. In fact, the naming convention for esters is alcohol for the first word and acid for the second word, hence isoamyl is the alcohol part of the reaction during fermentation and acetate is the acid."

    Banana Nutrition Facts:
    Serving Size 1 medium (7" to 7-7/8" long) (118 g)
    Per Serving % Daily Value*
    • Calories 105
    • Calories from Fat 4
    • Total Fat 0.4g 1%
    • Saturated Fat 0.1g 1%
    • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g
    • Monounsaturated Fat 0g
    • Cholesterol 0mg 0%
    • Sodium 1mg 0%
    • Potassium 422.44mg 12%
    • Carbohydrates 27g 9%
    • Dietary Fiber 3.1g 12%
    • Sugars 14.4g
    • Protein 1.3g
    • Vitamin A 2% Vitamin C 17%
    • Calcium 1% Iron 2%
    • *Based on a 2,000 calorie diet


    Conclusion: to say that "Banana oil is essentially isoamyl acetate" seems true, but such "oil" is not present in bananas that I can tell. I'm attaching a link to an actual research paper on "General Stress Responses in the Honey Bee", dated from 2012. A quick word search on the paper did not reveal any occurences of the words: isoamyl or acetate". Maybe someone else can add to this.

    https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4450/3/4/1271/htm

    While banana oil can be used to artificially flavor foods and such, because we humans essentially can't tell the difference, my bet is that the bees can. . . and they don't care about the real bananas smell one iota! In other words: synthetic banana smell = bee stress hormone smell but not = to real banana smell.

    Hypothesis: if isoamyl acetate is in fact stress hormones generated by bees, and we know that real bananas don't contain any isoamyl acetate at all, then we might conclude that bees like bananas, and the adverse reactions while feeding ripe bananas are the result of something else.

    Thanks for the opportunity to discover more about this topic.
    Last edited by luelle; 09-01-2019 at 05:36 PM.

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  3. #22
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,733

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    Luelle, firstly, welcome to Beesource. I appreciate the little experiment. I have a handfull of overripe bananas in the freezer that are normally reserved for banana bread. I am going to see what the bees do with them tomorrow in an open feeding situation. I am hoping to replicate your results. I may try the green banana (no spots) thing also at a later date.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Cumberland County, NC
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    Very cool! Looking forward to your results.

    For the record, my banana was still edible - not overripe. I cut both ends off, then sliced it in the middle on the inside of the bend so I had two "smiley faces", so to speak.

    Standing by. . . Thanks for the warm welcome!

  5. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Cumberland County, NC
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    Adding to this thread with my continued study of "The Banana Phenomena".

    Went to the hive to feed the bees again yesterday. Since I was also planning on treating for Varroa, I removed my second banana and placed it at the front entrance directly from my feed rack. It was a precautionary measure to avoid contaminating the banana in some strange, unknown way.

    The bees never moved and appeared to have stayed there for most of the day. See photos for Sep 4th.

    Then the rain came overnight. It rained most of the night due to Dorian. Yet, the bees are still there. . . See droplets of rain on the ramp.



    If the bees were exhibiting a hygienic behavior by eating away at the banana WHILE INSIDE THE HIVE, why do they continue to chew away at it at the entrance?

    Hygienic behavior would predicate that they would be happy to throw those remnants "overboard", and push them off the ramp. But they didn't in a 24hrs period, even in the rain.

    Conclusions - anecdotal but still: Bees are "bananas" about banana!

    Sep 4th, 2019-before rain.1.jpgSep 4th, 2019-before rain.2.jpgSep 5th, 2019,-during rain.jpg

  6. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Houston, TX, USA
    Posts
    646

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    I think they will take anything sweet in a dearth. Or, it may be an opportunistic source. They will also go for old figs if there is nothing else around.

    However, back to the original question if the thread about behavior, they don't care if you eat bananas. If they are attracted to a ripe banana it is probably a food source, not an alarm.

  7. #26
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,733

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    Well, I placed two very ripe peeled bananas on a plate in the back deck table. There was some bees activity, along with a few yellow jackets, but overall not the feeding frenzy I had expected. There are other nectar sources available so that may have had an impact, as well as proximity to the hives. The banana in this case was about 200 feet away from the apiary. Going to try pieces on the landing boards as luelle did.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Parthenon, Ar,USA
    Posts
    268

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Beregondo View Post
    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.
    I had a similar experience. I ate the whole banana in the apiary. A few curious bees came around to check it out but there wasn't any hostility. Perhaps smelling like alarm pheromone to us (humans) doesn't smell the same to them.

    I also thought I would see if mine would eat bananas so I placed a few overripe ones in the beeyard and split them down the center. They didn't touch them for two days but when they did notice them they devoured all of the fruit. Evidentally the skin was of no interest.
    Neill
    Herbhome Farm USDA zone 7a

  9. #28
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,733

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    Tried something a little different today. I had some cut up bananas and strawberries mixed with sugar that had been for my son's smoothies. Berries started to go bad so what the heck, puree and give to bees. I think they like it.

    20190922_131510.jpg
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  10. #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Cumberland County, NC
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Bananas and bees

    Hey! Thanks for sharing information.

    I tried something with an overripe banana yesterday. Though I can't say that I was very persistent with it. I could have tried it a few more times to see if the behavior repeated but didn't. Here's what I did.

    I'm treating for Varroa so I'm refraining from feeding open food sources inside the hive - just precautionary. So I peeled the banana and put it on a piece of wax paper, cut in 2 length wise. I gently placed it at the hive entrance and waited a few minutes to see the bees climb on the banana, about a dozen of them within a minute. Then I took the whole paper, banana and bees, placed the whole thing about 4-5 feet away in the front of the hive, next to a water feature my bees visit daily.

    Unlike the other banana in my previous experiment, this one was not dried up. Nor was it over ripe. Maybe that has something to do with the difference in behavior.

    A few hours later, I went back out to check on the banana. Flies had taken it over. The bees had vanished. They were still visiting the water hole, but the banana didn't keep their interest. It's been very dry here for the later part of the day - below 40% humidity. That, too, may play a role.

    I will attempt this again momentarily - I have a few more overripe bananas still. Out of curiosity, because I don't expect much activity. I've been feeding them heavy syrup. It's 88F with 42% humidity right now. My guess is that their lack of interest will be repeated but why not give it a try?

    Stay tuned! For fun. . .

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