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Discussion in 'Conversations' started by Aussiebob, Mar 19, 2007.
damn those genetically modified plants !
It's disturbing to read about the role of humans in the demise of the honeybee: Bee Not Afraid.
are the not alternative ways to pollinate plants?
if so then what are they?
i havna seen many bees this year, maybe 4 or 5 so my plants are suffering.
Not really, no. Think of walking round a large field, visiting each and every flower, and pollinating it by hand . . . it would require a huge army of people (and the crop would get trampled to death!).
And then on to the next large field, and the next, and the next . . .
Hassin, I'm going to take your question literally, and answer differently.
Q1 & 2. Are there not alternatives to honeybees to pollinate plants?
Answer: Indeed there are. Some work much better (than honeybees). In the State of Maine and in our Province of New Brunswick, there are many express strong preference for alfalfa leafcutter bees for pollination of native blueberries.
And (shameless plug) Alberta is a major producer of alfalfa leafcutter bees. These bees seldom sting.
For much, much more to answer your question in the affirmative, Hassin, here's a book ! While it was first printed in 1976, USDA says it's in constant update.
And you'll note that pollination doesn't stop with bees. Butterflies, moths, and vertebrates also serve.
Also, you wrote: "i havna seen many bees this year, maybe 4 or 5 so my plants are suffering."
Wow. That sounds bad. How are butterflies and moths doing? I saw a wee butterfly (black edges on brown wings) t'other day on a big dandelion flower, and got down and watched at close quarters. Its probe was constantly busy, being drawn out of one floret and thrust into another. What a joy !
Here in central Alberta, clover only broke into bloom on July 1st. And when I looked, I saw (as I expected) a modest number of bumblebees in clover.
You might like to check out a field of clover also.
Finally, while you're "oot & aboot", check prunus and ash and rose (and other) trees for signs of leafcutter bee work. They cut roundy pieces out of leaves (annoying rose lovers) and fly them away to their "nests".
Well i havna got a field, its just a few pvc greenhouses oot in the garden with tomatoes, salsa tomatoes, chilies and bell peppers (and some inside). the normal tomatoes are fruiting but nothing on the salsa ones except nice yellow flowers.
I have tried getting a dew feathers and just touching the flower bud to see if i could pollinate it that way but no luck.
The weathers been in the early F60's at the most, so its a very mild summer, nothing like last year when it was in the high F80's
But thanks for the link to the book, maybe ill find some answers in there =)
A possible explanation for bee disappearances: Asian parasite killing Western bees: scientist.
I was told, and naively believed the story teller,a UBC student that the bees were getting a type of cold.t
The virus would constrict their throat and they suffocate.
I bought it, jejejeje.
The discover magizine July 2007 has a good artical on the subject worth taking a look at from a gardening perspective.
Last year (2006) I hardly saw a bee of any variety. This year, the garden has been (literally) buzzing. Honey bees, several differnt sorts of bumble bees - a huge increase in butterflies - spotted 8 varieties - I live in an urban environment, but make my garden as eco friendly to all insects. Have a pond, and saw 3 diff damsell flies and 2 Dragon flies. Large numbers of Rose chafers and a whole load of other beasts I have never seen before.
So, whilst I have seen a huge increase in all sorts of insect life, some plants havent done so well. The long rainy spell at the start of the summer - which meant a lack of sunlight - did my tomatoes no good at all. My chillis grew, but to only 1/4 the size last year. low yields, and very little heat.
What did well? The Dahlias, Evening Primrose, Mallow, Borrage and the natursiums grew everywhere. - even to the top of my neighbours apple tree.
Going to make a couple of bee boxes and hope some bumble bees will over winter with me and get an early start next year.
I noticed a decline in the bees AND butterflies beginning about 2005 and it has progressively gotten worse; this year I had very little activity from these insects during the 2007 growing season!
ginsenghampster. First of all anyone who goes into winter after the first of Sept. with hives of more than one brood chamber is asking to lose his hives. The size of the box is exactly that which those bees in their natural habitat[south Europe] go into winter with. You could have a freight box full of honey but if the space around those bees is too large you may well lose them. As far as gardeners finding bees to be prevalent one year and not the next is probably determined by a beekeeper moving his bees. I lose an average of 25% of my bees every winter no matter what I do. Some years more, some years less. I have found that if I strip my hives of everything in August, including nectar, and begin feeding them sugar syrup [ time enough for them to make it into honey and store it] the survival rate is much higher. Why? I dont know. The empty hive syndrome hasnt hit us yet but it will. Meanwhile we have everything else. Thirty years ago we put more drugs into bees than was healthy for them or us. Untill a few years ago Mites were only known on Bali. A Japanese beekeeper decided to extend his season and moved his hives to Bali. From Japan another beekeeper moved his hives to Peru. From that point the movement of mites around the world never stopped untill this year they reached Hawaii. I believe there is an experiment going on up country to develope a B.C. bee. Hopefully it works.
P/S You should use a mouse excluder. The entrance excluder is not small enough. either block the bottom entrance entirely or reduce it to 8mm x 8mm. Even in winter I think there should be an air flow. I would suggest 8mm.
I seem to have an excess down here which is great. They are very busy. (clear warm spring weather) Maybe they have gone down under on the trade winds. :)
I agree with you fully with the size of the hive. Two deeps or three dadants is the way to go. I like each hive to have more than 60 lbs in reserve. Of course I feed them too from a syrup feeder placed just outside the bee yard so the girls can go and feed to keep the hive 'topped off'. Having feeders on the entrance board invites pesky hornets another cause of hive kill if the hornet colonies are strong. I lost hives in the past because of hornets and I wasn't the only beekeeper to suffer similar loses. Currently the hives are too strong to reduce the entrance to the dimensions you suggested....some of the hives still have resident drones. Yes, I've given the hives their apistan and nosema meds already. Its true that varroa will suck the life out a strong hive. I checked the hives today and all look great, are calm, and are busting with capped honey. We will see what unfolds in the spring.
May your honey extractor work overtime next harvest.
I believe you misunderstood me. I never go into winter with more than a brood chamber. I use an inside feeder the size of one frame. With one box they need at least four full frames of honey and two frames of pollen. I did a 24 hr blast of Formic acid in mid july and a 21 day treatment from the first of Sept. on Dec. 1st, as there is no brood in the hive I will treat them with Oxalic acid. I allso wrap my hives over winter. I use insullation underneath turned over inner covers under the box. I allso keep my hives on benches 14 inches above the ground. 8 mm galvanized mesh is the best mouse guard. If there is any syrup left in the feeder on Dec 1st I empty it as the moisture can bring on more problems over winter. After Dec 1st I cross my fingers!
They also say that the bees are just tired. The bees are being shipped all over the USA to pollunate different crops all year round. I'd take a vacation too would'nt you?
I had a year of famine, with regards to bees, year before last - hardly a one to be seen - But last year, they were everywhere. Bumble bees, honey bees, the garden was abuzz with them.
It's all down to mites - more than one I believe - could be wrong. I think all we can do is to provide just the best habitat we can for them. Plant the flowers that will provide them with the best sources of food and do what we can.
Don't be frightened of bees - I have stood in the middle of my dahlias photographing bees - surrounded by bumble bees - never been stung. Just be quiet -move gently - and get some great pictures.
However, doesn't work with wasps!
The best scientific evidence right now points to a virous carried by the Varoa mite. Nothing to do with cell phones, genetic engineering or tired bees. In the active season a bees life is about forty days.
The rise and fall of the number of bees in your garden from one year to the next is most likely due to beekeepers moving their bees.
On the local PBS station (KCTS, Channel 9) tonight at 8:00pm:
Nature: Silence of the Bees.
Just moved to a new home late last summer (2007), and my garden here is full of bees this year. I have quite a few California Lilac bushes around the property and the are literally full of the honey bees - you can hear the humming from them many feet away. I'm told that these lilac bushes attract bees just as the Butterfly Weed bush attracts butterflies.
In case some folks don't know I will relate the following story: I captured what I thought was a big fly. However, it seemed to have "bee legs", so I showed it to a local expert who told me it was a Mason bee and that I was lucky to have them. Apparently they are expert pollinators - will pollinate far more than the humble honey bee. They are generally "loners" and don't sting, however, I find that honey bees don't sting either - as long as you move quitely around them.
I haven't noticed anything unusual in the past but this year there are fewer bees in the garden.
I've never been stung by a bee and would walk past many on my way to wherever. I wish I could say the same about mosquitoes :( I read somewhere that bees and wasps are not agressive until late summer because they are busy collecting nectar earlier on but later in the summer they feed on the fruit and berries and become drunk and more agressive. I don't even see wasps in the garden until the end of summer so they must be very shy ordinarily.
Some babies and parents.
I heard about this recently and how this can be very bad for us in the future.