Monday, September 6, 2010

No Nectar For the Hummers-The Honeybees Got It All

It has been extremely dry here in my Tennessee garden and I think all the animals and insects are beginning to notice. The dryness is about the only explanation I can find for the swarm of honeybees that enjoyed a full hummingbird feeder of sugar water. Surely they did not get the word that today is Labor Day?

At first the hummers would just move to another feeding spot on the feeder and avoided the bees. It then got so bad that not even the hummers could get a drink. I was a bit nervous for my well being filming all the honey bees. I have since removed the feeders because the swarm of bees was just too much and too close to our back door. It was amazing to watch though and I thought you all might enjoy the show....

in the garden....

Other than bee guards is there another way to dissuade the bees? I have poured water over the feeder and that seems to help for a bit but the bees drink way more than the hummers. They have not harmed us in any way but were none too happy when I removed both feeders they were swarming.







video


Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden

24 comments:

  1. Oh dear, I've never heard of this problem! I did kind of give up on the feeders a while ago due to ants - just enjoy the hummers sipping at the various flowers now...

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  2. Never seen that! I have the "flying saucer" shaped feeders that are sort of flat and round.

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  3. It's been really dry and I have seen photos around the blogdom of bees visiting bird baths~Not like this though! gail

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  4. Cyndy, It has gotten so bad with the honeybees I had to remove two hummer feeders. Funny thing there were no ants anywhere, I guess due to the bees. I liked that.

    Cameron, I have another kind of feeder that does not allow the bees to drink so I'm thinking it is time for a change. I've seen those saucer shaped ones so I'll look for that.

    Gail, It was a mess. They still swarmed all day yesterday looking for the 'honey'. Finally I hope they are gone as the location was out my back door on my deck. Not good at all.

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  5. Wow, I've never seen them swarm like that one a hummingbird feeder. I was just thinking that some bee keeper somewhere will be making sugar water honey and not their intended type!

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  6. Ohmigosh, Tina, you weren't kidding about a swarm! I've never seen bees on my hummingbird feeders, just a lot of ants that I would like to get rid of.

    It's been so dry here the past two months, too, that my garden is really suffering. We had a nice rain last week, but I can see it wasn't enough, because the soil is bone dry again.

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  7. Okay, I had a comment and blogger would not take it and I lost all I had written. Grrrr. I will see if this goes before I write again....

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  8. It took this one so now I am even madder at blogger as I dont know why it happened. Lets see if I can remember what I wrote….

    Wow, I have never seen anything like these bees on a hummer feeder before! Looking at the bees bring back the stings from the swarm that attacked me back in late June. Ouch, that was something I will not soon forget. That swarm was about 20 feet from one of our hummingbird feeders and they never got on the thing. So I assume they had plenty of food elsewhere. I have seen a few bees on the hummer feeders in the late fall when the hummers have pretty much left town though but nothing like a swarm but rather a few here and there…

    How ironic, as I type this a hummer is looking in the window at me as he hovers! That is awesome talking about them and one looking at me. As though, they know I am talking about them. Too cool….

    Everyone have a great Labor Day…

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  9. I have my feeders in the tree that is surrounded by zinnias. The bees flock to the flowers, not the hummers food. I sometimes have problems with ants, but just use cooking oil rubbed on the hangers to eliminate that problem. I think the hummers are about ready to fly away for the winter--makes me so sad. Mother had such trouble with bees and her hummingbird feeders, she decided to plant flowers for them and discontinue the use of a feeder.
    BTW--have been off-line for a while-welcome home to Christine! So thankful she is back safe and sound!

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  10. Oh my that is a real WOWSER!!! That is a lot of bees near your door. Never saw that before but I did have to stop filling my feeders this summer as, of all things, a squirrel would empty it within an hour of me filling it and I could not keep up with it. I even had peanuts out for the darn thing. For some crazy reason he was just drawn to the hummer feeder.

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  11. Wow! Do you reckon the queen was in there somewhere? I'm not an apiarist but I thought they didn't swarm unless they were on some type of queen bee excursion. Oh well, I'd be askeered to get as close as you did filming them, I'm allergic to bee stings! OUCH!

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  12. Hi Tina. I have never had a problem with my hummingbird feeder and the honey bees which is really strange if I think about it. They need sugar when other sources are low. One year they scattered out of a birdfeeder all of the seed getting the sugar from the seeds which was a first for me so I had to research about it online. They will maybe leave yours alone when they get what they need for the hive.
    I am so glad to hear also that your daughter has made it back safe from Iraq.So glad that is slowly coming to an end. You must be very proud of her.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

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  13. This isn't a bad thing to know about for people who are trying to colonize bees. They do seem a little frenzied though. That would scare me away from trying to collect them for a hive, I think.

    Hey congrats on your daughter's return! A day to celebrate for sure xox

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  14. What is a bee guard? We are trying to offer sugar water to our sun birds but they prefer the flowers. We have had a few bees. Had to put a little piece of sponge in the spout, as some of them slipped in and got trapped. The weavers like to slurf sugar water too!

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  15. Wow, that's a bit frightening! It would seem to be a temporary swarm, perhaps on their way to somewhere else? Yikes! I'd get up early and take the feeders down till they forget about it. I spoke too soon on the rain, we've now been dry for weeks! I can't win.

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  16. I've never seen anything like that before. I usually start seeing wasps on ours during the end of the summer, but usually just one or two. I think I'd leave it down too. Wonder what is up with them?

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  17. The problem is your feeders.
    I am a beekeeper, and I also enjoy hummingbirds, so I have addressed this issue for many friends.

    Your feeders lack long enough tubes to prevent the bees from feeding.

    Bees have proboscis lengths that range from 5 mm to 7 mm long. Hummingbird beaks are much, much longer, so a well-designed feeder will stop the bees cold. You have to also not over-fill the feeders and not let the nectar solution drip on the outside of the feeder to avoid attracting the bees.

    If you search for feeders that are claimed to be "bee-proof", you will find several, and you will be surprised to find that they are no more expensive than the poorly-designed ones that can be raided by bees.

    jim

    Gotham City Honey Co-Op

    NYC Beekeeping Meetup

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  18. You asked about our sunbirds? http://elephantseyegarden.blogspot.com/2010/03/father-and-son-sunbirds.html and there's another link there to Bathsheba in her bath ON a fig leaf.

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  19. This is a new one on me too! I can't even get the hummers to visit my feeders, they are more interested in the garden itself. Guess that's okay huh? ;)

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  20. Jim, That explains it then and makes perfect sense since my hummingbird feeders are the most inexpensive ones I could find:( I guess they weren't much of a bargain. Thanks so much for letting us all know how to prevent the bees from taking over. I'll be looking for some with longer feeder ports hopefully today. Thanks again!

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  21. Greedy bees! Be careful...they can be mad at you when you take their sugar away....kind of like my kids.

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  22. It seems we have the same problem. I purchased a new feeder to replace one that was leaking. It looks just like yours and is covered with honeybees. They can suck er dry in no time! The hummers dont get to drink much. I have been told its the yellow around the feeder ports that attract bees. I moved it three times hoping to fool them but so far bees 3...Jean 0.

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  23. Rosey, Lucky for me they weren't too aggressive as I kept my cool and didn't panic. Whew!

    Jean, Hello and welcome! Thanks so much for leaving a comment and weighing in on the bees. They can be pesky indeed. Look for a feeder with longer ports like Jim says and see if that helps. I'll be doing the same soon but today is gardening as tomorrow it might rain-yahoo! Do you have a blog Jean? If so I'd love to visit it just let me know the url either on here on by email. Thanks!

    Back to the garden now...

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  24. I am having the same problem.Last wk it was raccoons emptying all my feeders....got the little bugger on camera....today...the bees are there.... humming bird feeders as well as my oriel feeders.......

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