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Author Topic: Barn Swallows Swallowing Our Bees!  (Read 8211 times)
MeadFarm
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« on: June 02, 2010, 12:07:38 PM »

We have six hives set up in what seemed to be a perfect place behind our garage - wind protected, full sun, with southern exposure. Unfortunately the barn swallows (dozens of them) have returned as they do every year, and set up camp in the eves. They seem to be eating our bees constantly. From what I understand these little avian insectivores can eat twice their weight a day and feed their young up to 400 times a day!
We are new to beekeeping but have been doing math for a while. I'm figuring that this might not bode well for our colonies. I'm not thrilled about the thought of moving the hives but I'm less thrilled with losing the colonies.
Are my fears well founded, or should I just enjoy watching this natural wonder? Does anyone have any experience with this kind of situation?
Thanks!
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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2010, 12:13:10 PM »

yup.  it's a real problem.  they eat and eat and will reduce your hive population.  there really isn't much you can do about them except try to make sure your hives are really strong.  they are pretty hard to shoot.
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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
wd
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2010, 12:30:19 PM »

You could always give em hard time, remove nests, netting, etc.
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kathyp
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2010, 12:33:40 PM »

i have already knocked down the nests.  been doing that for years.  they just nest in someone else's barn.  as for netting, they eat on the fly.  the swoop over the field near the hives and scoop up bees.
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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
MeadFarm
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2010, 12:43:55 PM »

I used to tolerate them and even appreciate them. Now, not so much. Some say they will only be here for a short time, but it's the same time the bees are the most active. They are a protected species, so shooting them or knocking them down is frowned upon. Though it's our property and they are making me mad so...I don't want to incriminate myself.
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D Coates
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2010, 12:53:26 PM »

Is there any way to set up some fishing line from your barn through their main feeding flight paths?  They do this in Florida to keep gulls from hangin out in certain areas (open air bars and restaraunts).  It doesn't kill them to my knowledge but makes them unwilling to fly in that area.  I haven't tried this myself so I don't know if it will work but it may be a low cost deterent.  Just an idea.
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Irwin
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2010, 01:01:00 PM »

Problem solved grin


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AllenF
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« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2010, 01:01:49 PM »

The fishing line sounds fun to watch
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kathyp
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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2010, 01:06:25 PM »

i'd be stringing fishing line across acres of my pasture.  have gone out with the pellet gun, but those suckers are fast.  shotgun might work, but haven't tried it yet.
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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 #9 on: June 02, 2010, 01:17:25 PM »

Winchester 1300, modified choke, and trap loads.  If you hit them right, there's nothing left to clean up.
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MeadFarm
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« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2010, 02:13:24 PM »

Such violence from such peaceful people! evil
Though I did consider adding a tennis racquet to my beekeeping tool box. They may be fast, but if I connected - they'd know it.
The fishing line idea had occurred to me, as did netting, though I'd need a heck of a lot of it. Plus I'd have to set up something to attach it to. I imagine they'd hang out just outside the perimeter and pick my girls off.
I'm hoping they'll choose to nest elsewhere as their current choice is no longer there.
Who knows, I may end up going for a shotgun someday if I don't get any honey!
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wd
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« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2010, 02:54:22 PM »

Swallows are common under bridges around here. Rice growers use propane exploders for blackbirds, they just move 50 to 100 yards or so, I don't think that would well with swallows. just a mention.
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danno
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« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2010, 03:14:48 PM »

It should be mentioned here the Barn Swallows are protected.  The list of protected birds are on the link below but to save you time the only ones  you can legally shoot are pigeons, Starling and house sparrows

http://www.pacificwildlife.org/info/Online%20Docs/fmbtaList.pdf
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2010, 09:39:26 PM »

You guys are quick to pick up the guns and want to kill something! I can understand the frustration but remember they, like the bees, are an animal and if we actually take the time to sit and watch them they're fearcely protective of their young and they're beautiful to watch catching insects mid-flight. If you have kids they too love being able to look at the babies poking their heads over the edge of the nest and then flying around with their parents - we protect and nurture the bees! why should our attitude to the birds be any different?

a practice that has long been used in farming is sacrifice for the greater good - it takes effort but it means that everybody can live harmoniously and no one has to go and spread blood and guts everywhere...

In farming areas where the farmer actually cares they often plant a few acres more than they need... it's an additoonal cost yes but they sacrifice some to save the majority. Why not consider leaving one hive where the swallows are and move the rest? You could even make that hive a double queen hive to keep the numbers up... in that scenario the swallows won't go searching out your other hives when they literally have food at their doorstep. Yes, they will eat your bees, yes your hive may not produce as much honey over the short time that the swallows are in residence - but it will allow your other hives to operate at full capacity. Swallows only nest for a short period of time - once they move out you can move your hives back. I mean at the end of the day we rob the bees of their honey that they have put a lot of work and effort in to - they don't come at us guns blazing (although some would debate that hahaha).

Just a thought
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kathyp
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« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2010, 09:50:51 PM »

it brought me to tears.  i think i'll go find a tree to hug.   Cry
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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
kathyp
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« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2010, 09:55:31 PM »

when they showed up a few years ago, there were two.  then there were five, then 12....
this year, even though they are  hard to count, there are easily 15.

how many should i enjoy?
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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
mvanek
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« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2010, 10:00:24 PM »

Just a quick thought...

If you kill the swallows for eating your bees, there won't be anything keeping down the other insect populations, like flies and mosquitoes...

I'd look for a less violent way to deal with the swallows.
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hardwood
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« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2010, 10:03:40 PM »

Guess I gotta open another, more robust bank account for the government to feed on. Maybe they'll start leaving the others alone.

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

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OzBuzz
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« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2010, 10:05:55 PM »

Guess I gotta open another, more robust bank account for the government to feed on. Maybe they'll start leaving the others alone.

Scott

That's called taxes - they don't take more than they're allowed to by law (atleast not here in OZ)
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2010, 10:06:33 PM »

Just a quick thought...

If you kill the swallows for eating your bees, there won't be anything keeping down the other insect populations, like flies and mosquitoes...

I'd look for a less violent way to deal with the swallows.

I'm with you Kathy!
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