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no honeybees, worried about pollination...

Posted by fabaceae_native z6 NM (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 28, 12 at 10:32

I've kept honeybees since 2008, and barring the odd winter die off, have had no problems... until now.

In late winter I noticed one of the two hives was vacant and its honey was being robbed by the second colony. Then last week as I went to harvest from the vacated hive, I noticed the second one was suddenly empty: no honey, no dead bees, nothing. Worse yet, the droves of bees swarming all over the silver maple a couple weeks ago are gone and can not be found on the blooming apricot trees, OR grape, or anything else that would normally entice them.

I fear this is the mysterious honeybee disappearance (it does not look like any particular disease) that folks have been talking about for years now, I just hoped we were somehow immune here in NM. All the local beekeepers are experiencing the same thing this spring unfortunately. In any event, if we end up escaping any damaging late frosts we may still be out of luck for fruit if the honeybee population is too low to pollinate effectively. I've not seen any native bees either... Maybe it's time to pollinate by hand like the Chinese are doing (they've killed off their bees with pesticides I've read).

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: no honeybees, worried about pollination...

I read the other day in a bee keepers article that the writer believes there are no native bees left due to the diseases and bugs brought in wit imported bees and other sources,

On a side note, our local bee keeper and seller of queens in our small town posted a $10,000 reward recently for information leading to the arrest of the people that stole his bees.

RE: no honeybees, worried about pollination...

Perhaps time to try lure bumbles into your yard with nest boxes,
[see link]

Here is a link that might be useful: Bumble bees

RE: no honeybees, worried about pollination...

Randy: Obviously the author of that article you read and I mean something different by native bees. I'm talking about the many thousands of species of bees native to North America that certainly still exist to lend their pollination services (but not honey necessarily). Two groups in particular, the Orchard Mason Bees, and the Leafcutter Bees are starting to be managed specifically for pollination on a large scale. Native Bumblebees and Alkali Bees are also important to commercial agriculture.

The Honeybee is not native here, but I'm sure the author must have been referring to wild or feral populations of the honeybee. They may be quite scarce indeed, but then again, up until 500 years ago they were non existent anyway. If I'm not mistaken though, feral Africanized honeybees are not uncommon in places like Southern Arizona and California.

In any event, losses of pollinators of all kinds is becoming a serious concern worldwide...

RE: no honeybees, worried about pollination...

Thanks konrad,
I need some Bumblebees for the Blueberries. Brady

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