Bees in pine needles, being sap gathered for propolis?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Argyle, TX, USA
    Posts
    11

    Default Bees in pine needles, being sap gathered for propolis?

    We went to change feeder bottles on our hives this morning and the check the status of the group (Echo) that we caught over the weekend. All was good, and as my wife finished changing out the last of the bottles, I collected pine needles from under some of our pine trees to use in our smoker.

    Hand raking pine needles gets you needles, leaves from other trees, and various grasses and/or weeds. So I like to look for downed limb sections that have pine needles still on the limb. I can break off nice bunches of needles without getting a lot of the other detritus raking gets you.

    I picked up one small limb with 3 good bunches of needles still on it and noted that bees were in 2 of the 3 bunches. I shook the off, harvested the needles, and moved on to the next limb and found something similar. Long about this time, the bees were getting pretty annoyed with and we had a bucket of needles and so I called it quits.

    Finding the bees in the needles attached to downed limbs made me wonder if that wasn't a source for them to get sap for making propolis. It seems reasonable, but I have no idea. Thoughts?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,906

    Default Re: Bees in pine needles, being sap gathered for propolis?

    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleNaughtSpy View Post
    ..........
    Finding the bees in the needles attached to downed limbs made me wonder if that wasn't a source for them to get sap for making propolis. It seems reasonable, but I have no idea. Thoughts?
    Actually, did you notice any wasps and yellow jackets in the same vicinity?
    They very well may be there too collecting the same sap.
    It is sweet - one of of the sources of so-called "honey dew" honey and bad for the bees.

    Just few days ago I observed a similar activity at one of my yards - tons of wasps licking off sap off the white pine needles and almost swarming around the pines.
    Not good - the bees could be doing the same and taking the junk into the hives.
    Better feed sugar syrup then, to at least dilute the stuff.

    PS: if you are in TX, less critical; up here - more critical; last winter I lost bees to, possibly, bad honey.
    Last edited by GregV; 10-03-2019 at 09:41 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    Argyle, TX, USA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Bees in pine needles, being sap gathered for propolis?

    I did not notice any other insects. To be honest, we have gathered pine needles several times and I had never noticed bees before either, but this was the first time I have gathered them in the morning (if that matters?).

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,906

    Default Re: Bees in pine needles, being sap gathered for propolis?

    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleNaughtSpy View Post
    I did not notice any other insects. To be honest, we have gathered pine needles several times and I had never noticed bees before either, but this was the first time I have gathered them in the morning (if that matters?).
    Try the sap for its taste and see.
    Just lick it; it is not toxic to you.


    For sure, the wasps/YJs don't harvest propolis.
    But they do need the carbs and that tells you something.
    Look for them too and see what are they up to.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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