How long is a bee's tongue?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Park County, Montana, USA
    Posts
    464

    Default How long is a bee's tongue?

    I have mutt bees in Montana, queens from all over. I want to feed in a screened shim. If their tongues are 7 mm, or a quarter inch I can just drill some holes in a regular mason jar lid, stick it on some #8 hardware cloth and feed away. Last year I lessened the distance between the underside of the hardware cloth to the syrup by scraping down the rim of the jar lid, wondering it that's necessary. What say you, great bee gurus?
    5 Production colonies, 1 side by side 5 frame nuc for support- 7 working queens is all I want.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hamilton, Alabama
    Posts
    3,049

    Default Re: How long is a bee's tongue?

    Bee tongues have been measured because length contributes to ability to collect nectar from some plants such as red clover. The range is about 5 mm up to about 8 mm with most between 5 and 6.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    10,857

    Default Re: How long is a bee's tongue?

    >> some holes in a regular mason jar lid

    If you are referring to a 2-part (canning) lid, normally the flat part is somewhat indented (the part that 'pops' when the jar seal is broken.) You can reverse the flat part so the indentation goes the other way and brings the holes closer to the screen wire.

    The one-piece lids are generally flat, so that is not an issue.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  5. #4

    Default Re: How long is a bee's tongue?

    I use the method you are asking about and I use a rubber mallet to invert the lid a bit so I can still use the seal and the center area of the lid contacts the #8 wire. Works like a charm in the inner cover modified to a feeder with a super then outer cover. and easy to add food since bees can not exit. I also do not feed in center of inner cover I modified for our hives, but to a back corner to keep any leaked drops from getting into brood area....
    Cheers Bill
    zone 9b

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    5,400

    Default Re: How long is a bee's tongue?

    You need the Gene Simmons breed of bees. They have 10mm tongues.

    I place Helmond mayonnaise jars with holes drilled in them on top of #8 hardware cloth to feed my Observation hives. and the bees have no trouble accessing the syrup.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    2,275

    Default Re: How long is a bee's tongue?

    the old, now all but extinct german "english" black bees were short tounged. they could not work a few species of flowers. so as usual the answer is: it depends. these old black bees could not work red clover.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Park County, Montana, USA
    Posts
    464

    Default Re: How long is a bee's tongue?

    Thank you, everyone. I've been using the plastic storage lids with the rim scraped down, the problem is that I seem to get a few that drain away. I'll switch back to the two piece lid which seals better.
    5 Production colonies, 1 side by side 5 frame nuc for support- 7 working queens is all I want.

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