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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Contrary to what the internet says, I have 4 sparrows that are robbing my bees. They seem to be very smart in their approach to this. They fly in behind the hive and land underneath. They then head to the front and wait for an opportunity. I have seen them snatch them off of the landing ramp, and also grab them mid flight. They then fly a short distance away and munch on them. They seem to be picking on one hive in particular which happens to be my established, strongest hive.
Should I be worried about hive losses(They seem to be getting approx. 1 every minute) and if so, any ideas on how to stop them.

Ed
 

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What kind of sparrows? If English sparrows I'd just shoot them. Other native sparrows, I'd probably put up with them and enjoy watching.

If it gets to be a problem with weakening the hive, put up a 'scarecrow' of some kind. Hawk or owl statue may work. My grandfather used to hang an old rabbit skin. He claimed sparrows would see the fur and shy away.
 

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If they eat a virgin queen going on a mating flight, it can be pretty serious. You can legally shoot European House Sparrows at least where I live. Check your state laws though. Another options people recommend is reflective tape or disposable pie pans that blow in the wind. The only thing that helps in my orchard is a propane cannon, but that gets real annoying really fast.
 

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Only 4? I have a bunch of sparrows that bounce between my chicken coop and my hives.I also see gray catbirds feeding off the carpets around my hives.I think mostly they feed on the dead bees that are hauled out or bees that crash land.Must be a sweet treat during a flow.I have never seen them on the landing board . I have lost a few virgin Qs but such is life.I can't complain about the birds and feed them when snow is on the ground.They do a good job on the mosquitos,black flies and ticks.To compensate,I just made up a few extra hives.
Last week I saw a first. A chipmunk on it's haunches holding a bee by it's head and thorax and chewing on the abdomen.Munch,munch ,drop it ,on to the next.Seems like there's hundreds this year.
 

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Over the years a colony of Phoebes has grown near my backyard beeyard. I see them flying back and forth in front of the hives, beaks clacking as they snap up flying bees. For the most part I give them a pass. They can’t possibly consume enough bees to make a dent in the populations. Having said that, I do suspect that they have had an impact on queens. In the past I estimated that I had nearly 90% queen mating success. Now it runs closer to 80…or possibly less. I suspect that queens are a bit easier to catch. Just a guess on my part.
 

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I haven't noticed a problem with sparrows or any other birds in my yards.

I'm actually at war with the sparrows. They are an invasive non-native species that destroys native populations of many birds, such as bluebirds.

I used to tolerate them until i had a pair of field swallows nesting in a box by my garden. They were beautiful and would float over me just out of reach while I was weeding. They would snatch up any bugs I turned up.

Then, one day they were gone. When I checked their nest box I found all the babies killed and both parents dead with their eyes torn out. A known pattern of English Sparrows. Been at war since.

Bluebirds eat insects but I haven't had any problems with them. I'm not sure if they care for honeybees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for the replies.

At first I was worried they would eat my whole hive. I started keeping bees 5 years ago and this is my only hive that has survived more than 1 year. I did some math and figured if they stayed busy, they could eat approx. 600 bees a day. But today I noticed they weren't around as much, so maybe they went to snack on something else.(maybe something a little less defensive)

I thought about something moving that would scare them away, but I think that would also serve to make the bees more aggressive.

For now, I will just keep an eye on things, and my bb gun loaded.

Ed
 

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Could your birds be Tanagers.The females can look similar to sparrows.They visit my house everyday to get a belly full of bees.There is over 50 hives so I am not losing a lot of bees.I will be having queens coming off in a couple weeks so they will have to move on or I will have to move them on myself.
 

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The biggest danger are people mowing their clover lawns down into the dirt.

Mowers are the biggest danger to bees.

If you're gonna go after anyone, go after the people mowing their lawns.
 

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While the English Sparrows are to be destroyed (here I am talking as former Eastern Blue Bird enthusiast - don't get me started),
I don't think the sparrows are at fault here.
These sparrows are very much vegetarians to be catching and eating your bees.
If anything, they could be taking the bees to feed their young, but NOT be eating the bees themselves and on the spot.

I am pretty confident this has nothing to do with English Sparrows (technically Finches) or ANY sparrows for that matter.
 

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I have nut storing jays that pick off my bees. They fly down from the oak tree and perch on the plum tree near my hives. Then they swoop in, grab a bee out of the air and continue back to the oak to eat. Then repeat. At first I tried to stop them by hanging flash tape near the hives but now I just let them be.
 
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