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HELP! Carpenter bees agitating my brand new colony!

 
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BaltimoreUrbanBee
House Bee


Joined: 19 Dec 2013
Posts: 12
Location: USA, Baltimore City, Maryland

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:09 pm    Post subject: HELP! Carpenter bees agitating my brand new colony! Reply with quote

I installed a brand new 3lb package of honeybees in my top bar hive yesterday and all went well. Today, I noticed several carpenter bees swooping around and chasing my honey bees around the hive and vice versa! There is a large volume of honey bees outside the entrance and they seem a bit frantic. I am deeply concerned that this will make my bees aggressive and/or abscond from the hive.

There is not much I can do about it because the carpenter bees are attracted to my neighbor's wooden siding that needs repair- I can't exactly demand that she repair it. The hive cannot be moved from it's current location. What can I do?
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Bugscouter
Silver Bee


Joined: 19 Mar 2012
Posts: 808
Location: USA/California/ Sacramento

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try reducing the size of the entrance. Carpenter Bees like an entrance of at least 1/2 inch. Your bees need at least 3/8 inch. It'll look crowded, but they'll still be able to use the entrance.
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BaltimoreUrbanBee
House Bee


Joined: 19 Dec 2013
Posts: 12
Location: USA, Baltimore City, Maryland

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bugscouter wrote:
Try reducing the size of the entrance. Carpenter Bees like an entrance of at least 1/2 inch. Your bees need at least 3/8 inch. It'll look crowded, but they'll still be able to use the entrance.


Thank you. The entrance is definitely under 1/2 inch. The carpenter bees don't seem to be interested in the hive itself. They are just constantly hovering around. The honeybees will either chase them or be chased by them. I'm not sure if it's because they have been here for just over 24 hours, but it seems like there are more bees outside of the hive than there should be- and I'm afraid they're using too many resources to defend the hive rather than building it.

Obviously, the honeybees outnumber the carpenter bees by a huge margin, so I'm not concerned about them losing the battle. I am concerned that this constant battle for territory will entice them to abscond or worse, become aggressive. So far they have been an absolute joy- very docile. Thanks again.
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Bugscouter
Silver Bee


Joined: 19 Mar 2012
Posts: 808
Location: USA/California/ Sacramento

PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got it. I thought they were chasing around the inside of the hive.

These are probably male carpenter bees. They are territorial and will harass any body or any insect that gets to close to their nest. If the hive can not be moved, then it may be time to set up a carpenter bee trap the way we set up wasp nests. It kinda goes against our philosophy, but this harassment will continue as long as the nest is active. You may have to choose between one bee or the other.

Moving the hive would be a good first choice, otherwise there are a lot of trap plans on YouTube and the rest of the net.

Good luck.

Ron
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BaltimoreUrbanBee
House Bee


Joined: 19 Dec 2013
Posts: 12
Location: USA, Baltimore City, Maryland

PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Ron. I probably should have been more clear about where the chasing was taking place, LOL. Mad

It is now day 5 since installation and it appears that the honeybees have won the territorial dispute. The carpenter bees have an invisible line that they do not cross. This is by far one of the most unexpected and interesting things I have witnessed with bees.

I did a little more research and found all the information you talked about (male carpenter bees, bee traps, etc.). You are right- those bee traps look ghastly and I would never resort to using those. The carpenter bees were an awful nuisance, but they definitely do not deserve a slow and cruel death. We need all the pollinators we can get!

Just for the record, my hive cannot be moved unless it is empty. I live in a very urban setting and my hive is on the roof of the 2nd floor addition to my townhouse (a door from the third floor gives me access). We have these kids that like to trespass and my yard is very small. I would have to take the hive through the house and down three flights of stairs just to get it moved to another unsafe location- not ideal! LOL

Things appear to be going very well now. I will be removing the queen cage later today. Wish me luck and thanks again!

-Roy
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Bugscouter
Silver Bee


Joined: 19 Mar 2012
Posts: 808
Location: USA/California/ Sacramento

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad to hear they worked it out.

Ron
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