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Author Topic: Sawdust gathering bees  (Read 527 times)
Duane
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« on: February 23, 2014, 12:16:57 PM »

I was cutting some hedge, Osage Orange, and noticed bees flying around.  I thought, how nice, my bees love me and are following me around the field.   Then I thought maybe they are getting the sticky sap to repair their beebox seal their beekeeper messed up some months ago the last time it was warm.  Then I noticed they weren't gathering the sap, but flying next to the sawdust.  They even had sawdust in their pollen baskets.  I have noticed no pollen being brought in yet.

A search reveals others have noticed bees in sawdust, but I never found out the answer as to why.  If the bees are dumb enough to think it is pollen, what would happen if they fed their larva sawdust?  I really can't believe bees are that dumb, but could not find out the answer as to what it's purpose is.  While some sawdust from some sources may have something useful in it, if anyone knows about fresh cut hedge, it is very hard, and I would not think very digestible, if some sort of protein is the purpose.
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GSF
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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2014, 08:09:37 PM »

It means you still gonna need a fireplace this winter  grin

I could only take a shot in the dark, but maybe there's some type of sugar in the wood. Then again they probably would harvest the sugar and leave the sawdust lay.
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splitrock
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« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2014, 08:14:53 PM »

When I've had a few beefs around to fatten, I have see them loading up with corn dust from the feed bunk when there was nothing else available.

 I think they just like to be busy.
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sc-bee
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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2014, 08:16:27 PM »

Just being busy as a bee!
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Duane
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2014, 02:15:06 PM »

That reminds me of my idea of what's going on with wash-boarding.

'Get out there and clean the porch.'
'It's already clean.'
'Well, clean it again!'

'Get out there and gather some pollen.'
'There's nothing blooming.'
'Well, get out there and gather something!'


I'm not sure I could spot yellow hedge dust among yellow pollen in my hive.  It'd be good to have some sort of distinguishing color of wood, and then see if it's ever incorporated into the hive or taken out as trash.
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Duane
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« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2014, 01:16:05 PM »

Along similar lines of bees gathering strange stuff, this fall I noticed a lot of bees flying around the top of one oak tree.  It wasn't a swarm but they seemed to be flying around the tips of the branches gathering something.  It was too tall to see what was up there, and way past bloom time.

A previous year, prior to starting to keep bees, I noticed another oak tree which had some branches next to the ground I could inspect.  Not being interested in bees at that time, so I don't really remember if any bees were flying around, but I did see a bunch of scale insects on the stems of the oak tree.  Obviously something attracted my attention, whether bees or flies, I don't remember.  I had never seen scale in such large numbers on a tree outside.  I think it was a year later that lightning picked that tree, which was not the tallest, out of a lineup and sent large pieces of wood flying a hundred feet away.  And this set of trees was much lower than the hillsides on both sides.  Caused me to have more respect for lightning!

Anyway, do bees gather scale....uh, "waste"....?  Could that be what they were gathering this fall in the other oak tree?  Is that a good thing for them to put in honey or are they using it for other purposes?  I can't seem to have a desire to eat it.
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tjc1
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2014, 08:32:25 PM »

My wife brought me honey from France that is gathered by bees from aphids living on fir trees, so maybe its that same kind of thing with the scale bugs? When I looked into it, it said that they only get a harvest of this honey 'miel de sapin' in years when there are lots of the aphids.
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GSF
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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2014, 08:44:04 PM »

Don't some ants "milk" aphids for the nectar or something?
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2014, 12:38:28 AM »

I have had my bees fill the cells, in the observation hive, with black dust that I suspect was coal dust. They never used it, just sealed it in the cells. Only did I once.
Jim
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T Beek
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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2014, 07:52:47 AM »

We've been using a corn based 'organic' (?) Cat Litter for several years.  The used litter is spread around the perimeters of our 4 large gardens as a rodent deterrent. 

BEFORE pollen is available in Spring we've regularly caught our bees rolling around in the (fresher?) stuff.  We assume they are attracted to the minerals in the urine (?). 

That all stops once pollen is available  Smiley.
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Edgy
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« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2014, 09:03:00 AM »

 

BEFORE pollen is available in Spring we've regularly caught our bees rolling around in the (fresher?) stuff.   

That's hilarious!
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T Beek
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2014, 09:59:36 AM »

'Hilarious' is indeed the word  laugh.  

While observing they 'seem' to be actually playing and rolling around in the stuff and do bring some of it back to the hives.  Crazy, heh?  Once the Willows begin they'll ignore it for the rest of the year, even in the Fall after a hard/killing frost.  I guess one could call it a Spring Feast?  laugh

Frankly, I've never seen such odd behavior from my bees with any other substance, but it has become something we watch for every Spring…. Smiley  (we used a clay- based litter before using this 'corn-based' stuff and we never witness them exhibiting similar behavior  Undecided
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sc-bee
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« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2014, 12:20:15 PM »

Along similar lines of bees gathering strange stuff, this fall I noticed a lot of bees flying around the top of one oak tree.  It wasn't a swarm but they seemed to be flying around the tips of the branches gathering something.  It was too tall to see what was up there, and way past bloom time.

Anyway, do bees gather scale....uh, "waste"....?  Could that be what they were gathering this fall in the other oak tree?  Is that a good thing for them to put in honey or are they using it for other purposes?  I can't seem to have a desire to eat it.


It is called honeydew (insect secretions) and yes they gather it.

http://www.honeytraveler.com/types-of-honey/honeydew-forest-honey/
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