Bees and mealworms

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davewithington
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Bees and mealworms

Post by davewithington »

Just thought you might like to see what I found when I moved a shelf unit in the old garage I'm demolishing.

The first picture shows the back of the unit



The white stuff is paint pulled off the wall in the garage. The cupboard was stuck to the wall.

If you look closely you can see the Bumblebee colony under the cupboard. Behind the wall paint was this





Larvae of Tenebrio Molitor, a black beetle, or giant mealworms. Jane hates anything like this. She shuddered and ran off.

Under the cupboard was a Bumblebee colony. I'd seen them going in and out of a crack in the outside wall, but I didn't expect this




Pity it had to be moved, but the garage will be flat in a couple of days.
MikeT
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Post by MikeT »

Are they honey bees?
If you've still got them and if you can find a local beekeeper, he'll be only too happy to take them off your hands.
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CitroJim
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Post by CitroJim »

Lord Alive Dave, If I'd have been there you would have seen me disappearing at a rate of knots I can tell you.. I'm not really very good with things like that and those mealworms look revolting...

I could cope wit the mealworms but anything with a sting in it's tail is a different matter for me; I'm bloody petrified of them :twisted:

Bumble bees I can cope with because I know if you keep out of their way, they'll keep out of yours but I'm not sure they'll take kindly to having their nest disturbed.

You're a brave man Dave :lol:

Did they show any displeasure toward you?

Glad I'm finding nothing like that in my decorating exploits this week. Just made a few spiders homeless.

Now how do you account for that, I have no trouble with spiders at all. I've even stroked a Tarantula. In fact I rather like them despite once being hospitalised in Australia following a redback bite!

Bees and wasps, terrified! I think that's something from years back. Dad kept bees and both he and I eventually became sensitised to stings and now forever have to be careful not to get stung...

Shame really, I used to love the beekeeping until stings were having a dramatic effect; I had to abandon it then.

Damm good job you can't get sensitised to LHM :lol:
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Paul-R
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Post by Paul-R »

They're bumble bees, not honey bees, so I'm afraid beekeepers aren't interested.

As a beekeeper myself I've been called in to move a few bumble bee nests over the years. They are an endangered species so I always try to move the complete nest to another location protected from the rain as best as I can.

Most beekeepers will charge for moving the nest as they can sting although human skin is fairly tough to bumble bees.
addo
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Post by addo »

Jim - how the heck did you end up in hospital for a redback? Allergy? Bet the swelling/redness/wrinkling scared everyone who saw that limb...
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Xaccers
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Post by Xaccers »

Paul-R wrote: As a beekeeper myself I've been called in to move a few bumble bee nests over the years. They are an endangered species so I always try to move the complete nest to another location protected from the rain as best as I can.
Maybe you can answer something for me?
We have a lot of lavender in our front garden which is always covered in bees, I presume from two different hives as one lot are yellow while the other is more orange.
We've had a few barely moving in the flowers, and one or two that are certainly dead but still clinging onto the flowers.
Do they try and work until they die on the job or could something (parasite/other bee) be killing them?
davewithington
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Post by davewithington »

I moved the complete nest to a quiet position under one of my hedges with a very large plastic container over the top, having made an access hole for the bees.

Several bees were still looking for the nest in my old garage yesterday, so last night, when they were cold and sleepy, I gathered them up in a jar and put jar and contents under the container, in the hope they'd wake up this morning to find themselves suddenly transported home. I've seen one near the nest today, so I hope they are OK.

Jane and I have just built a series of steps down the the garden, and we've left holes and crevices for Bumblebees and toads to nest in (we have toads and frogs as well)

I know very little about bees, but I'm quite interested in a hive. We have lots of flowering plants - in fact the Bumblebees seem to love Majoram, which we've got everywhere - so could have another colony next year all being well.
Julz
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Post by Julz »

hw big are those larvae? They look rather fat for meal worms.
They look rather like leatherjackets to me (crane fly larvae) but I thought they only lived in the soil.

I hope the bumblebees like their new home :)
davewithington
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Post by davewithington »

According to what I can find on the net - I've no reference books on insects, they don't have wheels or (fixed) wings - these are the giant mealworm, about 25-30mm in length, and fatter than the usual, bit like caterpillars in hard hats.
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Post by MikeT »

Paul-R wrote:...They are an endangered species so I always try to move the complete nest to another location protected from the rain as best as I can.
Most beekeepers will charge for moving the nest as they can sting although human skin is fairly tough to bumble bees.
According to our local keeper, due to them becoming rare, he'll gladly collect any FOC. He's suffered massive losses over the recent years due to whatever reason for their decline.
Xac wrote:Maybe you can answer something for me?
We have a lot of lavender in our front garden which is always covered in bees, I presume from two different hives as one lot are yellow while the other is more orange.
We've had a few barely moving in the flowers, and one or two that are certainly dead but still clinging onto the flowers.
Do they try and work until they die on the job or could something (parasite/other bee) be killing them?
I've seen them brought down by parasites but they also die from lack of fuel if blown off course by heavy winds for instance. If you see one walking or just resting, chances are it's out of energy. A feed of something sugary (I'll often use jam) and within a few minutes they'll restart their engines and buzz off. 8-)
Julz
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Post by Julz »

MikeT wrote: If you see one walking or just resting, chances are it's out of energy. A feed of something sugary (I'll often use jam) and within a few minutes they'll restart their engines and buzz off. 8-)
That's interesting, I'll bear that in mind next time I see one looking worse for wear.
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Paul-R
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Post by Paul-R »

Xac wrote:Maybe you can answer something for me?
We have a lot of lavender in our front garden which is always covered in bees, I presume from two different hives as one lot are yellow while the other is more orange.
We've had a few barely moving in the flowers, and one or two that are certainly dead but still clinging onto the flowers.
Do they try and work until they die on the job or could something (parasite/other bee) be killing them?
All bees work till they drop. Usually it's because their wings get so knackered that they can't lift their body with a load of nectar as well. They set out for their final flight, fill up and can't get back. If you can, check the condition of the wings and see if they're "holey".

Honey bees are certainly under attack from various sources. The latest is so-called colony collapse disorder (CCD). CCD manifests itself as hives which have been abandoned and the colony can't be found. This is especially prevalent in the USA where they have a large business moving thousands of hives around the country in order to pollinate various crops. This is the profitable business - honey is almost a by-product,

My personal opinion is that it's complex mix of stress, disease, parasite attack and environment pressure but a lot of time and money is being spent on finding out.

It's not really prevalent in the UK but here, as in Europe, honey bees colonies have been hugely reduced in number by a parasitic mite named Varroa. This sucks the haemolymph (the bees' equivalent to blood) in both the grub and adult stage. This could be the final factor in killing off the ones you see alrady dead.

That's assuming they are honey bees! If they're bumble bees I don't think varroa affects them as they have a different development time. They're just as vulnerable to pesticides though and there are a fair few of those around.
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Paul-R
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Post by Paul-R »

davewithington wrote:I moved the complete nest to a quiet position under one of my hedges with a very large plastic container over the top, having made an access hole for the bees.

Several bees were still looking for the nest in my old garage yesterday,
When honey bees in a hive are moved then you should either move them no more than about three feet or more than three miles.

A honey bee can fly up to about a mile and a half in search of a good nectar or pollen source. If their new position is too close to the old one then can end up at a previously found site and return to where they used to be. Similarly if you're moving htem around the garden they can become a bit confused if the new position isn't within their tolerance zone for location.

Bumble bees will be similar although I don't know what their maximum flight range is. Just to be sure I always used to move them about five miles.
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Post by Sid_the_Squid »

Tell me Paul-R how does one become a bee keeper, I've always been rather taken with the idea of bee keeping, but have no idea how one would go about starting a bee hive or collection thereof.
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Paul-R
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Post by Paul-R »

In our case we were at a exhibition showing peopple who were shortly to retire all the things that were available for them to do. One of the other exhibitors was the local beekeeping group...

There will almost certainly be a local beekeeping group near to you. If you have a look at the British Beekeepers' Association site http://www.britishbee.org.uk/ you might find a group near to you, if not send them a message. Have a look around the site anyway to give you an idea.

I have to say this is not a particularly good time to start the hobby. There are so many to buy and they aren't cheap. On the other hand you may find someone giving up and has everything to sell! It's also difficult with the Varroa problem and everyone's fearful about CCD. There are still the old problems of Accarine Mite, European Foul Brood and American Foul Brood around as well.

Have I depressed you enough?