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Old 03-12-2009, 10:19 PM   #1
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Location: Olympia, WA
Default I've seen honeybees!

I saw them last weekend on black cherry flowers. I was delighted, but on second thought ...

I haven't seen honeybees in several years, so these were a surprise. I thought the feral honeybees were all gone. I'm not in an agricultural area, so I don't know where these came from. I wonder if they could be killer bees? (They have made it to this area.)
Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
-- Kahlil Gibran
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Old 03-13-2009, 06:41 AM   #2
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Cincinnati, OH USA
Default honeybees

Honeybees in my area have been making a comeback; I've had more of them the past couple years. I haven't seen any yet, being in a colder climate, but in past years I have noticed the honeybees out very early in the spring when not so many other insects were around and late into the fall. The honeybees are more visible when there's few other insects. I don't know if they get pushed out of habitat once the bumblebees, carpenter bees and everybody else comes out or if I just don't notice them as much.
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Old 03-13-2009, 05:52 PM   #3
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Location: Southeastern Nebraska

I saw some honeybees cleansing themselves out a couple of weeks ago in SE Nebraska. A very warm and beautiful day. Our maple trees are swelling up, around here, I believe that they may be one of their first food sources.
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Old 03-14-2009, 10:23 PM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2008

Italian honeybees for me. They were buzzing around crocus.
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
- Dr. Seuss
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Old 03-15-2009, 04:50 PM   #5
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Location: Rogersville, TN USA

Honeybees began to die out 20 years ago due to a number of cumulative problems, not the least of which was beekeepers who did not use good practices to control mites in their colonies. The bees in nature generally have pretty good defenses to to the mites, but over zealous beekeepers who have to have the newest latest greatest started going to chemical means to control the mites in earnest. Add to that the un natural foundation-ie plastic and even natural beeswax prepressed into sheets for the bees to draw out. Now please understand, I do keep bees, and while I am not into thousands of hives nor do I transport my hives anywhere, those that do are usually forced to use chemicals to control mites and viruses when crossing state line. Add to that the herbicide spraying to remove "weeds"-ie plants that provide nector and pollen for the bees and we began seeing "weaker" italian bees being produced. Yes there are a lot of other reasons why the bees started dying off in droves almost to the point of extinction, but the good news is they are on their way back.

Back yard beekeepers are taking more natural methods for controling various problems. If you can find a ferel colony of bees, these generally do not have the health problems that the "kept" bees do. I myself am somewhat torn about whether to use natural foundation or let the bees build their own. Never will I use plastic, even though it helps keep the wax moth pest down. I think a healthy colony of bees do a good job of patroling their own hive, against various natural co existing creatures.

Everytime mankind tinkers with nature we end up screwing it up.
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Old 03-18-2009, 02:58 PM   #6
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Location: The South

Honeybees on my peach blossoms yesterday afternoon! Plus one mason bee (I think, big and fuzzy and about 20 feet up...)
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:52 AM   #7
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Chicago Illinois USA

No bees in Chicago yet. At least not here. April is the earliest with the cherry blossoms and other early trees. The hellebores should set seed this year as they are not open yet,should coincide with pollinators. Some years they open way too early. I have never seen the bees at the flowers though maybe its flies or ants doing the pollinating.

Picture from last April...
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Old 03-19-2009, 11:26 AM   #8
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Location: Franklin, Massachusetts, United States

Originally Posted by JennyC View Post
Plus one mason bee (I think, big and fuzzy and about 20 feet up...)
Orchard mason bees are smaller than honey bees, and not hairy. Perhaps that was a carpenter bee you saw? (If so, make sure they aren't burrowing into your house!)
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Old 03-19-2009, 11:37 PM   #9
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I wonder if some of the earliest blooming hellebores are wind pollinated or self-pollinating.
"In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; we will understand only what we have been taught."
-Baba Dioum, Senegalese ecologist
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Old 03-20-2009, 09:19 AM   #10
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Location: Chicago Illinois USA

Lorax, being curious I went looking to see just how the hellebores are pollinated. Seems bees are the primary pollinators with a few wasps and beetles also present.
They can be self fertile as a secondary back-up so to speak.Guess I should be more observant this year.

Sexually speaking, hellebore flowers are protogynus, which means the stigmas are receptive
before the stamens in the same flower shed their pollen.
This adaptation generally keeps a flower from fertilizing itself and encourages cross-fertilization.
The flowers can be self-fertile, however,
and the pollen from a single flower can fertilize the same flower " if "the stigma is still receptive.
More commonly in nature, pollen from one flower fertilizes another flower on the same plant.
Ants are after the fleshy seeds...

The seeds of some species possess fleshy arils called elaiosomes, which encourage ants to distribute them.
This dispersal mechanism is called myrmecochory. Sex pheromone mimics are exuded by the eliasomes to lure ants to the ripe seeds.
The plants win because the seeds are taken away from the parent, and with less competition they have a better chance of survival.
The ant, for its part, gets some fats and starch from the elaiosome — not a bad deal for all involved.
From Hellebores A,Comprehensive Guide by Burrell, Tyler, Burrell
Hellebores, C. Colston Burrell, Book - Barnes & Noble


Interesting how plants interact within a community...
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