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Author Topic: Barn Swallows Swallowing Our Bees!  (Read 8216 times)
Michael Bush
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« Reply #40 on: June 04, 2010, 12:43:40 AM »

I love swallows.  They clean up the mosquitoes and flies.  So if they eat a few bees, that's life.  And I love to watch them fly.  And they always tell me when it's going to rain...
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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luvin honey
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« Reply #41 on: June 04, 2010, 06:39:29 PM »

I love swallows.  They clean up the mosquitoes and flies.  So if they eat a few bees, that's life.  And I love to watch them fly.  And they always tell me when it's going to rain...
Isn't that the truth? I'm keen on them, too, as they swoop over my gardens, hopefully only getting the annoying bugs and not the ones I actually want there...
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
greenbtree
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« Reply #42 on: June 05, 2010, 12:04:02 PM »

kathyp - you can shoot the pigeons if you want - they are not protected as they are an alien introduced species.   You seem knowledgeable and probably already know that, but you might not know that they are quite tasty roasted with pan gravy... evil

On the other topic, I'm glad knocking down the nests seems to be working.  Swallows are such useful happy little birds.  Knocking down the nests won't even slow them down that much - they will just rebuild somewhere else and still have time to raise their chicks.  Plus then they will be busy somewhere away from your bees!

JC
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« Reply #43 on: June 05, 2010, 12:30:04 PM »

i have heard that they are good to eat.  to my knowledge, i have not tasted them, but i have eaten things that i didn't feel comfortable asking about.

i have knocked the swallow nests out of my barn for years.  they don't nest there anymore.  they have not move far as they are out there twice a day filling up on the bees.  the problem i have, is that they come back year after year and bring their ever increasing clans with them. 
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #44 on: June 05, 2010, 07:48:34 PM »

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cam
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« Reply #45 on: June 06, 2010, 07:13:51 PM »

Studies have been done on this subject. Seems that swallows only eat drones or queens because they have tender mouths and don't want the stings. Also drones and queens fly higher on mating flights and are more vulnerable to predation.

Like Michael Bush I love swallows, love to see them fly and have an out yard that has multiple swallow nests and bluebirds. It's a great place to work bees and take a few minutes to enjoy another part of nature.
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circle7 honey and pollination
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« Reply #46 on: June 06, 2010, 07:23:42 PM »

gotta love studies.  and what would be the explanation for their swooping over my hives and fields before i had drones flying? 
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
MacfromNS
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« Reply #47 on: June 06, 2010, 09:43:52 PM »

I've seen them take horse flies right beside my head..
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« Reply #48 on: June 06, 2010, 10:35:44 PM »

I just set a hive a bees at a new yard next to a open farm machine shed.  I seen some barn swallows which will be less than 20 yards away.  I hope they dont do to much damage.

We used to have them in the barn every year.  We would shut the barn doors at night with them in it and open them in the morning and they would fly out.  I remember them flying in and out as they constantly feed there young while we feed and milked the cows.  I really had a liking for them and still do.  I really hope they dont end up being a real problem.  I have not noticed a problem in another yard a mile away.  I did see a bird on my fence wire a couple times last year but I have no Idea what it was and as soon as I was worried about it I did not see it any more.  I wonder if moving the hives away from the building helps any.  There is a big swamp near that should have plenty of insects for them to eat if its closer than the bees.

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luvin honey
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« Reply #49 on: June 07, 2010, 06:19:34 PM »

gotta love studies.  and what would be the explanation for their swooping over my hives and fields before i had drones flying? 
All the other bugs they eat around your fields and hives?
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
beee farmer
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« Reply #50 on: June 07, 2010, 11:33:44 PM »

I would venture to say they eat dozens of flys for each bee they consume.  Not to mention mosquetoes.
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« Reply #51 on: June 08, 2010, 02:39:19 AM »

Before drones fly, there is not much if anything flying besides honeybees.
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« Reply #52 on: June 08, 2010, 08:52:39 AM »

Seems to me that a good queen will lay in excess of 1500 eggs/day. A few hundred bees from 5 - 10 hives doesn't appear to be able to damage them that much.
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circle7 honey and pollination
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« Reply #53 on: June 08, 2010, 12:01:33 PM »

Im sure a nesting pair of barn swallows will take the path of lest resistance to feed there young.  At a demand of up to 400 feedings per day that will probably put a single colonies resources at a deficit if they are feeding primarily on them.  If you have ever fished under a bridge you likely have seen up to a hundred or more nesting pairs of barn swallows constantly coming and going feeding there young.  If you are near a barn swallow nesting area and they eat bees, you are going to take a hit if there is not a comparable, better, or easier source of protein for there young.  Its just common sense.  For those of you who do not live in the country, you can speculate all you want.  If you grew up on a farm, raised live stock or the like, you know what a fox can do to a chicken coop, a cougar can do to horses, calf's, same with wolfs and on and on.  Insects can destroy whole plantations or crops.  A single bear can destroy acres of corn.  Why should it seem so inconceivable that birds can raise heck with a bee yard.  Seems more than plausible to me.  When you open your hives and see no progress and no disease or other explanation and a few Barn swallow coming and going from the area then it might make sense to you.  I myself have a very hard time believing Kathy has exaggerated the issue and take her word for it.
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The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory

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luvin honey
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« Reply #54 on: June 08, 2010, 12:30:36 PM »

Don't forget what coons can do to a sweetcorn patch in a single night!

I don't think anybody is suggesting meadfarm is lying or exaggerating. He just asked how worried he should be. Some of us in the county with swallows have not seen it to be a problem. Some of us in the country with swallows have. Some just have other ideas for handling it other than shooting the birds... Smiley

I do and have had livestock and more than an acre of vegetables to protect. Sometimes problems can be dealt with in unique ways, which is what people have been offering. As for nothing else flying before drones, that's certainly not what I am seeing around here. We have tons of moths, butterflies, flies, wasps, hornets, mosquitos, lightning bugs, bumblebees and other flying creatures, but I have yet to see the drones fly.
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
cam
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« Reply #55 on: July 29, 2010, 04:00:05 PM »

Update: I put 5 new nucs in a field where there are bird houses with swallows and bluebirds. I have yet to see the birds feeding on the bees. The nucs are building up nicely, have been there for over a month. Bluebirds are raising young at this time, and no noticeable problems with the nucs. 
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circle7 honey and pollination
podius
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« Reply #56 on: July 29, 2010, 09:47:52 PM »

Swallows in my case are a problem. I suspected it last year and did a trial yard away from the swallow population. My trial yard has boomed, lots of bees. My other yard next to a barn has low numbers and not much honey. Every time I'm out there, there's trillions of swallows swooping down flying back and forth over my hives-the sun is blocked occasionally. OK so maybe it's not that bad, but it's close. I think I will move them far away from any buildings this winter  cool
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John VT
Spooner, WI(Northwest WI-up in the nose)
equipment---All medium 10 frame boxes, top entrance's, no foundation frames and mann lake pf 120's (7 hives)
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« Reply #57 on: July 30, 2010, 01:35:23 AM »

I put a five frame nuc right next to a machinery shed with swallows in it two months ago and just pulled and extracted 66 pounds of honey last weekend.  Its now three deeps and two mediums full of bees.  Not sure what happend to the two nucs I brought there a few weeks ago with queen cells.  Cant find queens and bad brood patterns.  Im worried the ride was to rough when transporting them an hurt the cells but maybe swallows got them.  Not sure.  I hope to find better results on next inspection.
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Thomas Jefferson
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« Reply #58 on: July 30, 2010, 06:02:20 AM »

In the study I read swallows feed on drones and queens because they don't sting and tend to fly higher. They may have gobbled up your queens if they were virgins. I am avoiding putting virgin queens in my yard with the swallows for that reason.
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circle7 honey and pollination
nella
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« Reply #59 on: July 30, 2010, 07:46:36 AM »

I don't see the barn swallows(about 12 nests) at my farm feeding on the bees.
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