Bees in my feed corn

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by Pat, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. Pat

    Pat Well-Known Member

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    Arkansas
    Last week (when we were in the 60's) I noticed 150 - 200 bees in the feed containers for the sheep and pigs. I feed sheep corn chops and whole kernel corn, the pigs get the same with a sow ration supplement (nothing sweet).

    I kept bees for about 10 years when I lived in Houston (but no other animals so never had corn out), and my grandfather (whom I learned bee keeping from) had long since quit having other animals. I called a neighbor who also keeps bees (he has 10 hives and I have 2), and he never head of it either (he only keeps bees, so he isn't feeding corn).

    I did feed them some sugar water last week (and again this week - soon as the temperature break 50 they are back in the corn... so bad the pigs don't mess with them, and eat in the early morning or evening after they return to the hive). Only idea I have is the couple threads recently about geese flying north, and robin sightings in Kentucky (maybe early spring, and they are already starting to build the swarm back up).

    Can anyone tell me what's going on, and what (if anything) I should do for them? (guess I should say the obvious, there isn't anything in bloom here in the Arkansas Ozarks).

    Pat
     
  2. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Well, I have heard of bees going after animal feed for the protien, but I thought that was for the higher protien rations. You might try a little soy flour on them: they might like it better and your pigs might be able to eat in peace.

    In a couple of weeks I will offer some to my hives, in case they want it. Pollen is a MUCH better source of protien than soy flour is, but since there are no flowers blooming they may not have enough pollen left to get their brood off to a good start. Since you are South of me, your queens are probably already laying. And, every baby bee requiress one cell of honey and one cell of pollen.

    I have a pound of soy flour in my freezer: I bought it in the grocery store. *IF* they like it I will get them more.
     

  3. Pat

    Pat Well-Known Member

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    I had read the thread on the soy flour after I posted. Was wondering the same thing. This is their first spring (so maybe they didn't get enough pollen put up last year). I got them as 2 Nuc's last May... around here the honey flow stops in late June, and there isn't a fall honey flow. I've been thinking on planting buckwheat for as a early fall cover crop in my garden for them. (I don't care for buckwheat honey, but would be a good source for both pollen and honey for them for the winter). One of the bee keepers in the local bee keeping club gorws buckwheat for his bees (he's the only one... don't know if he sells the honey or just uses it for winter feed). No one seems to raise anything for mid summer / early fall / mid fall for their bees. I've also been thinking on putting in a row or 2 of sun flowers to get more for them to work during that time. (and something I like the flavor of)

    Next time I go shopping, I'll pick up some soy flour to try! Thanks for the idea.
     
  4. rainesridgefarm

    rainesridgefarm Well-Known Member

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    Davis IL
    They are looking for pollen and will take the corn dust and put it in the pollen basket on the side of the legs. I have seen them roll in saw dust trying to find protien to feed the larva back at the hive. put out some soy flour and they will eat it up. It is a good sign that means the queen is laying and the hives are healthy.