Bumble bee "Hive"

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Ruby Red

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Bumble bee "Hive"
« on: March 20, 2011, 09:24 »
I read an article in my local paper about a "beehive " as such for bumblebees you can buy on the internet.Its called a Beepol.If Im not allowed to put the info on then please remove that bit.  It is basically a box with eggs and a queen .They are being sold to help with pollination  and also , as far as I can see would also help with preserving the bees. Ive just got a small niggle that part of it is cruel.Wouldnt the queen possibly stay if its ideal for her. And therefore would getting a new queen disrupt things. Is there anyone on here who has a better knowledge of bees than me and can put my mind at rest. I would love one of these as purely giving them a helping hand. I already have 10 tubes of 32 inners with masonry bees. Thats a possible number of 1500 bees next month. !
Oh for those halcyon days of England long ago

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Ma and Pa Snip

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Re: Bumble bee "Hive"
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2011, 09:41 »
We saw something very similar to this at the Edible Garden Show and decided against it on a number of counts.

1. The 'hive' (for want of a better word) is very small, think lunchbox,  and is nothing like the nests that have been made previously in our garden by natural bumble bee inhabitants.

2. We felt it better to plant more 'bee attractant' flowers rather than artificially introducing bumble bees.

3. One of the marketing claims of this type of product is that you can see the bees in the 'hive', to do that the box would have to be kept in a place that we thought would be unnatural to the bees normal nesting habits.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2011, 09:44 by Ma and Pa Snip »
Unless otherwise stated it can be assumed ALL posts are by Pa Snip

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kevinp

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Re: Bumble bee "Hive"
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2011, 14:53 »
I can tell you a bit about these bees if I am allowed as we supply the wooden hives for the beepol to sit into.

You will find that the queen will only stay for that year, she will raise the brood she has in the beepol lay more eggs and then at the end of the season she will up and go to find another hole to live in. I wouldn't say its cruel as the bumble bee naturally lives in mouse holes if it can find them or any other hole, and leaves at the end of the year.

Just so you know the bees that are supplied are uk natural bees so there is no risk of foreign bees getting into our eco system. This is not the same as bees that are used in intensive polytunnels these are normally a foreign type,and normally live and die in the polytunnels

On the beepol box if you have seen one there are three openings one which allows the bees to come and go as they please, another you can open to only let the bees into the hive, this would only be used if you had to move the hive. The third option is to remove the top of the hive altogether allowing the bees to do what they want this is what we do.


Here is a nice site with lots of info on bumbles  http://www.bumblebee.org/  

We should all be doing everything we can to help the bumbles and honey bees by making sure that foreign imports are stopped, and by supplying boxes making your own or buying them and places for them to live.

Another good link .  http://www.bumblebeeconservation.org.uk/index.htm
« Last Edit: March 20, 2011, 15:24 by kevinp »

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Trillium

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Re: Bumble bee "Hive"
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2011, 15:12 »
I built two of these boxes last year: http://tomclothier.hort.net/page38.html

I painted the exterior a mud colour to blend into the hedging (other than the bright flowered entry hole) and I also set them both up on short stilts to avoid splashup of rain and mouse invasion.

By the time I set them up I think it was a bit late for nesting queens last year, but I'm sure the queens will find them this year. We're also planting 2 large stretches of wildflower gardens close by for the bumblers and also the mason bees, for whom I've also built 2 custom next boxes in my orchard. I'd barely got the latter up when bees started visiting and filling up the holes.

http://montanawildlifegardener.blogspot.com/2010/06/build-mason-bee-house-in-5-minutes.html
This is quite similar to mine, except I screwed three 2x6" cut offs together and put the roof on top. It's important to face mason bee houses east for morning sun which they prefer.

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kevinp

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Re: Bumble bee "Hive"
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2011, 15:24 »
If you are lucky  .... or unlucky to find a mouse nest you can put this into you box Trillium this will greatly increase your chances. Another way is to link the front of your box with a length of hose pipe say around 12inches bury the hose under ground or just cover it with earth so just the end is showing, Bumbles like small holes to get into, the hose pipe represents the entrance to the mouse nest.

With the mason bee box the best  hole depth for these is 6 inches, she prefers this depth.

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Trillium

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Re: Bumble bee "Hive"
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2011, 00:30 »
I followed the hive building directions and inserted the specific sized hose into the opening so it would lead into the back of the first chamber (social area) where the hole to the brood chamber was. In the brood chamber, I put in a fair bit of uncarded pure cotton for the eggs as stipulated on many sites. It's very soft and natural and I was sure to fluff it up so they wouldn't get tangled.

I built mine so I could open it up each year and clean out any messes, etc.

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kevinp

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Re: Bumble bee "Hive"
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2011, 07:12 »
All of mine have lids with hinges on so they can be checked if needed there is a piece of perspex under the lid. I also put the cotton material in mine as mouse nests are hard to come by :lol: and the stink !

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Trillium

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Re: Bumble bee "Hive"
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2011, 22:59 »
...mouse nests are hard to come by :lol: and the stink !

You said it! Once smelled, never forgotten. Pee-ew!  :D

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Ruby Red

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Re: Bumble bee "Hive"
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2011, 08:30 »
I can tell you a bit about these bees if I am allowed as we supply the wooden hives for the beepol to sit into.

You will find that the queen will only stay for that year, she will raise the brood she has in the beepol lay more eggs and then at the end of the season she will up and go to find another hole to live in. I wouldn't say its cruel as the bumble bee naturally lives in mouse holes if it can find them or any other hole, and leaves at the end of the year.

Just so you know the bees that are supplied are uk natural bees so there is no risk of foreign bees getting into our eco system. This is not the same as bees that are used in intensive polytunnels these are normally a foreign type,and normally live and die in the polytunnels

On the beepol box if you have seen one there are three openings one which allows the bees to come and go as they please, another you can open to only let the bees into the hive, this would only be used if you had to move the hive. The third option is to remove the top of the hive altogether allowing the bees to do what they want this is what we do.


Here is a nice site with lots of info on bumbles  http://www.bumblebee.org/  

We should all be doing everything we can to help the bumbles and honey bees by making sure that foreign imports are stopped, and by supplying boxes making your own or buying them and places for them to live.

Another good link .  http://www.bumblebeeconservation.org.uk/index.htm

 
 Thank you for yor reply. It will be with me in a couple of days. I have a sight ready facing south east.Does it come with lots of instructions because I want to make sure I get it spot on. Do I definately have to replace the hive every year. Wouldnt another female perhaps take to it.

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Trillium

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Re: Bumble bee "Hive"
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2011, 15:41 »
I don't know the beepol at all but I've sited my bee houses to face east as my prevailing wind is from the west, so that's your real consideration - the opening must face the opposite of your local wind. I've also sited mine in some shade so the box doesn't heat up. For winter, I threw down a pile of rotting leaves close to the hive so the queen could winter in the leaves and desert the rest of the colony who will die off.

Hard to predict whether or not the queen will return to the same box. I personally don't care just as long as a queen takes up residence in each box. But I will check out the interior soon to see if it needs cleaning out in any way.

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kevinp

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Re: Bumble bee "Hive"
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2011, 18:51 »
I have only seen and used the pre production ones but they do have a website that you will have to look for. It is very easy to set up you just take it out of the delivery box and let them settle for a while as they will be a bit angry as you can not guarantee how they have been moved around in transport, they are very well packed though. Inside the delivery box is another box with a lid that you remove and then a little plastic door under this

here is a picture of the plastic box


The one I set up last week is doing well they have a good round comb in there and lots of activity and pollen coming into the hive. They are nice to watch and a fantastic insect to have in the garden. Remember that they can sting more than once so try to not disturb them to much we have a camera set into our outer box.

Its up to you but I would suggest either making some bumble bee boxes or buying a couple more and placing these around your garden, this may well catch the queen again.

here are some plans of free and cheap ones http://www.bumblebee.org/nestbox_plans.htm

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joyfull

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Re: Bumble bee "Hive"
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2011, 22:21 »
wow that link has some easy plans there, thanks Kevin  :)
Staffies are softer than you think.

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Babstreefern

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Re: Bumble bee "Hive"
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2011, 17:27 »
I saw this on The Horticultural Channel on Sunday, 17 April on the Allotment time (9:00 to 9:30am), it seemed very good, but I would ask if its cruel.  Where do the bees come from (in the programme there didn't seem to be any eggs, although I couldn't quite see, there just seemed to be few bees.  Also how much do they cost?
Babs



 

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