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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I try and raise a few queens for myself. In the past I have had pretty good luck, but this year I have less than 50% of my queens returning from mating. Normally I have about 80% return. I have been at a loss trying to figure out what was the problem, but now I think I know.

Today I noticed a red bird (cardinal) setting on a hive landing board gobbling up bees as fast as they landed. I ran him off and he just flew to another hive and started the same thing. I am thinking he has probably been catching my queens and no telling how many worker bees he has eaten.

I hate to kill birds, but I don't know of any other way of dealing with him. I can't let him keep eating my bees and most probably my young queens, too.

Does anyone have any workable ideas other than a well placed 22?
 

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I've used the birds and bees in "THE TALK", but never considered that the birds and the bees may not fully "get it" themselves!:lpf:
 

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I find it interesting that people can think wild animals can learn and differentiate right from wrong . Chase the bird off and he will return when you are not there. He likes his free slot machine meal. Try scaring him off with a sling shot...

If he is the only culprit consider yourself lucky. If you want to solve the problem give him two warning shots to the back of the head.
 

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If you put up some mirrors he will probably kill himself running into them. The cardinals broke out every window in my garage trying to kill their reflections and more than a few died doing it. At least one broke a mirror on one of my old cars. I don't think he lived through it either.
 

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Use inexpensive materials like pvc pipe driven in ground and bird / deer netting to make a large safe area around the hive or even a tent, backing the bird well off of the bee concentration point on the landing board. Add some plastic bags or tie some rags to help bird see the netting or let him hit it and he may decide it's not such a nice place to hang out? Edited to add - assuming netting big enough for bees to negotiate through or leave opening for them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm not going to a lot of effort to save the bird. I'll just take my 22 with me when I go to the hives tomorrow and end both mine and his problem. I will quit losing bees and he won't be hungry any more. My closest neighbor is 1/2 mile away and I live on a private road, so I'm not concerned with the sound of the shot. I just hate killing a bird, but I hate it more losing my queens. In Kentucky you can kill any wild animal if it is destroying your crops, and he is definitely destroying my crop of bees. I was just hoping someone had a quick easy fix other than killing him.
 

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The quick easy fix takes place in your mind.

:w: Here we go again. Like Mark said, raise more queens. Beekeepers tend to be a special interest group. They think "their" bees are more important than all other living creatures. Be a grown up and learn to coexist with the rest of nature. Besides, it's against the law to kill songbirds.

"In Kentucky you can kill any wild animal if it is destroying your crops, and he is definitely destroying my crop of bees."

Twist it anyway you want, but your a hobby beekeeper with 20 hives.
 

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I wondered about that, birds being protected. Expressing your intent on the internet can be used against you in Court, should it come to that.
 

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not to mention that cardinals are typically seed eaters. you might want to check what the bird is actually eating before you go shooting at it. a well placed bird feeder might be a better option
 

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As mentioned already cardinals are large seed eaters. Maybe try putting a bird feeder with sunflower seeds, shelled corn, wheat or oats away from your hives and take the attention from them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I know what I saw and I saw that bird catch about 10 bees and swallow them in about as many seconds. If he is a seed eater then why set on the bee landing and catch bees. As far as the law goes (and I have checked) it is legal to kill an animal that is destroying livestock or crops. So legally I'm within my rights to kill it. I was just being nice hoping someone could give me an intelligent alternative to destroying the bird, but one way or another the bee eating is going to stop. Instead of trying to be so cute with the answers how about actually trying to help with a real solution. A friend and bee keeper actually came up with what I hope will be a workable solution. He thinks if I get a couple of those dummy owl statutes I can scare the bird away. So we are going to try that for now.
 

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I know what I saw and I saw that bird catch about 10 bees and swallow them in about as many seconds. If he is a seed eater then why set on the bee landing and catch bees. As far as the law goes (and I have checked) it is legal to kill an animal that is destroying livestock or crops. So legally I'm within my rights to kill it. I was just being nice hoping someone could give me an intelligent alternative to destroying the bird, but one way or another the bee eating is going to stop. Instead of trying to be so cute with the answers how about actually trying to help with a real solution. A friend and bee keeper actually came up with what I hope will be a workable solution. He thinks if I get a couple of those dummy owl statutes I can scare the bird away. So we are going to try that for now.
I think it's quite alright to take out the bird if it's destructive. We are becoming way too concerned about a bird here. It's pretty, but the world will keep turning if one doesn't exist anymore. If you determine another solution, that's great, but don't fret about one bird. I wouldn't talk around about it though.
 

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Go to a bicycle shop and get some flat highway type tubes. Place them stragically around the hives. The birds will see snake and leave. You can also go to a toy store and place a real looking snake on top. I use them every year on my blueberry bushes. You have to rearrange them every 3 days due to scout birds becomeing accustomed to them
 

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I deal with woodpeckers professionally and always do real well with this product.
The Attack Spider
I see no reason it won't work great for your situation as well.
Place it on the top side of the hive. When the Redbird lands, it activates and the bird gets scared off. Best of all - they do not learn and get used to the device.
 

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I think it's funny that you think there's only one cardinal in the area.

How many do you plan on killing?
 
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