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Discussion Starter #1
I have managed to get myself all kinds of confused. Too much research without enough straight talk has caused this or I'm just especially dense today (as opposed to any other day).

I have in the front yard of the house a really nice Northern Catalpa tree. I really like this tree except it's not of the southern variety. I like the blooms that it puts on. They smell good, they are pretty, they don't last very long when they fall off...... but they are not right for my bees. The girls just don't seem to work them but just a little. However, they really do love the back side of the leaves. I was just walking up to the hives a little bit ago and the catalpa tree was buzzing. The girls are only working the back side of the leaves and only on the major vein of the leaf.

Here is where I am confused.........What are they getting from this spot? We have plenty of water and it is not on the underside of the leaf. Nectar doesn't seem right to my way of thinking? Propolis? Logically, that seems like the right answer, but I am not sure.

I am still digging through reference material trying to find my own answer, but I thought I would post up here because I can at least understand what you guys write.

Scott
 

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Could be minerals they need, I have seen mine in the little patch of grass in the seam tween the road and curb just going to town all the way down the street. Are there any bugs on the tree...if so they could be collecting honeydew. Maybe the sap is quite sweet and they are going for that...not an easy one to answer.
 

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check out the back side of the leaves (ones they are working) to see if they have aphids on them. That is where the honey dew comes from.
 

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park you car under it if is honeydew it will get on it you will know for sure

but it will mean a trip to the car wash

WOULD SAY IT HONEYDEW
 

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Catalpa,,,,,AKA "Indian Cigar Tree" (cause of the long cigar like seed pods) is notorious for fouling up cars parked under them. Most people think it is sap, well, it sorta is, it is the dew dew of Aphids. Aphids feed on tree liquid and through their system, "reduce" it so to speak. They reduce more than they can use so the rest is excrement ed and contains sugars. This is what fouls up the paint on cars. Most likely, there will be ants associated with the aphids as they relish the sweetness too. The ants will defend their aphid farm. Might be entertaining to watch if that is the case.:sleep: sorry
rick from SoMd
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hmmmmmmm........aphids?

Ok, so I go get the magnifying glass out of the bee tool box and go look. I've asked nicely, pleaded, grumped and stopped short of cussing but I can't get the girls to be still long enough for me to look at what they are doing.

So I settled for looking at the exact spot one just left. Aphids must be pretty small. I can see the hairs on the back of the leaf, but I don't see any little bugs. Aphids seems like a reasonable answer, meaning it would make the most logical sense but I don't see any. Checked four or five leaves that just had bees on them. Didn't see a thing. Girls must have been having a good time watching me, it probably was funny looking from their point of view.

Oh well, I guess I could just add it to the list of other things that bees do that I don't understand. The smarter I get, the more things I realize that I do not know. :D

Rick, I have watched one hive fight with some big red ants when I hung a leaky boardman feed on after re-queening. The girls were having fits and the ants couldn't get to the leak for fighting off the bees. It really was fun to watch.

Scott
 

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Gota love it:D If I was a little more sadistic,,,,,,,,,,I'd toss disable creatures(at my on hand) to watch. EEEwww.
Maybe it is propolis. If it was on the top of the leaves, then I'd say drip down. Last time I checked, aphids still had to abide by the laws of gravity. Are the undersides of the leaves "hairy". Can't remember. Possible the leaves exude moisture especially in the am.
Keep us posted. Inquiring minds want know:D
Rick
 

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I'm going to guess that the tree has been attacked by some "Leaf Suckers", and where they peirced the vien of the leaf they have left little holes which might be whoozing slightly.

Check for caterpillars, the main pest of this tree.

Bryn
 

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I'm at the office, so I can't grab my magazines, but seems like there was a recent article in either "Gleanings" or the ABJ about different trees secreting honey dew, and bees collecting it. Perhaps more technical information on your tree will indicate it secretes honey dew from the underside of it's leaves?
Regards,
Steven
 

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In Frank Pellett's book on honey plants, he states Catalpa trees have nectaries on the under side of the leaves. They produce even after the flowers have fallen off.
 

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I don't know alot about these trees the nectareries sounds interesting. I'm going to have to do some reading on them.

I do know that those catapillars make very good fishing bait.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
....blah,blah,blah,not important, ........

I have in the front yard of the house a really nice Northern Catalpa tree. I really like this tree except it's not of the southern variety. .......blah,blah,no longer important........
Had a BIG nasty MO storm roll through this afternoon. Was walking up to check on the hives after the sun came back out. The Catalpa tree was buzzing again. I still don't know what the bees are getting, but wait......what's that? Why yes, Virginia those are Catalpa worms. I've owned this tree for several years and have never had worms on it. Being born in the South (Mississippi) and raised there ( a lot, I got shipped from southern MO to Alabama so much, I knew the roads to take better than anybody) I have a very great fondness for Catalpa worms and their great fishing powers.

The bees, county fair, pseudo work and everybody else can just deal with themselves for a couple of days, I'm GOIN' FISHING!!!!!!!!

<<<<<Insert really big happy dance smilie here>>>>> The banana just ain't good enough.

Scott
 
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