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neighbor getting bees - question re: bat houses

Post in 'The Green Room' started by sgcsalsero, Jan 7, 2007.

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  1. sgcsalsero

    sgcsalsero Feeling the Heat

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    I think I read a couple posts on bees and beekeeping here, so hoping to get a little input. Our next door neighbor is planning to get bees this year, but that's I know. We live in a 'village', most plots here do not exceed a 1/3 of an acre (like mine). They want them primarily to help with blooming (perennials, shrubs, veggies). Are there a couple of quickfire questions that I should be asking before long, any input appreciated.

    I'm not adverse to the idea, but I have three small kids that like to play in the backyard, so feel like some minimum conversation is in order .. . . . . . . . .

    Thank you, Steve C.

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  2. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    I wish my neighbor would get bees. I bet my veggie garden would double output.

    Tell your kids not to play with the bees.

    I kinda think bat houses are a cool idea.

    Matt
  3. PAJerry

    PAJerry Member

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    I kept bees for about 12 years. First had them at the farm where I grew up then moved 2 hives to our current home. My kids were fascinated with them and often helped me 'work' them, never getting stung. These were by my garden and only about 30 ft. from the house. My wife made me give it up after I developed an allergy to stings - yeah, I got stung a few times, mostly my own fault for working them late in the afternoon after I got home from work. Timing is everything with bees.

    Don't let your kids become afraid of bees. They are one of the most amazing and industrious creatures on earth and we need more of them. If your neighbor is good with kids, maybe he could teach them about bees and let them watch him work them. Bright, sunny day with lots of things in bloom is the best time to observe them. God bless your neighbor for bringing them into your neighborhood.
  4. sgcsalsero

    sgcsalsero Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks (and in advance) for replies . . my kids are fascinated with bugs . . they spent a good part of last summer turning over rocks and bricks to find creepy crawlies . . we bought and let free ladybugs for a couple years now so I think our attitude is pretty positive towards . .
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I'd take advantage of the bees as a learning opportunity for your kids and yourself. Honeybees are really amazing and fascinating little critters. My kids grew up with me keeping bees and never got stung. They loved watching me collect a swarm.

    Honeybees are pretty passive, they don't want to sting you because they lose the stinger and part of their abdomen and die afterward. We've worked in the garden with bees all around us. Sometimes they are annoying because there are so many of them, but never got stung by them. Just stay calm around them and make slow moves. I have received a few stings while working the hives, usually it's my own fault for being clutzy or rushing things, but it's not a big deal.
  6. KarlP

    KarlP Feeling the Heat

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    Yeah, ask your neighbor to educate your kids the difference between a honey bee and a yellow jacket so they can quickly spot them. Honey bees are passive and generally don't sting you unless you really provoke them. If your kids get stung by a honey bee they probably asked for it. I was never stung by a honey bee growing up and my dad kept bees.

    Yellow jackets are agressive little buggers that can sting you multiple times even when unprovoked. These are what I've always been stung by and it was a yellow jacket stings that killed my mother.
  7. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    My neighbors kept bees for a few years and other than seeing them work with them, I never noticed.

    I'd second everyone else's enthusiasm. I'm a gardener and the more bees, the better.

    And I'll third the bat houses. If my wife wasn't afraid of them, I'd have bat houses all over the place. Bat guano is good fertilizer.
  8. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    I hear there is a big problem with bees. A lot of hives are dying, and they don't know why. Anyone else hear this one?
  9. colsmith

    colsmith New Member

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    Ditto to everyone - honeybees are your friend! My family had bee hives for decades. The only times I was ever stung by them was when I was walking barefoot and stepped on one. (We had a lot of Dutch clover in our grass.) Since the bee will die if it stings you, it has very little incentive to do so. Bees are in so much trouble in our country, you should kiss your neighbor for trying to add to their population. A lot of talk about bee parasites has been made as the reason for their decline, but I was just reading in OnEarth, the National Resources Defense Council magazine, that pesticides may actually be a bigger culprit. So please don't use herbicides/pesticides in your lawn and garden, as that can make the bees very sick/dead.

    Yellow jackets and many wasps are quite evil, and will sting sting sting. It is good to teach your kids how to tell them apart, even many adults are clueless about it, but you could probably find something online or in a book. Some wasps are good for the garden, but they are mostly so small you don't notice them, and they don't sting people either as far as I know.
  10. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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  11. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    It's a big problem for farmers, because some crops depend heavily on bees (which are trucked in for the job) to pollinate the crops. I've forgotten which ones they were talking about, although California almonds come to mind.
  12. sgcsalsero

    sgcsalsero Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks, I know my wife has plans on getting some roses, which are finickity . . ..if we are using any herbicides/pesticides will look to discontinue. Also will look to get a kid's book from library on identifying wasps/bees/hornets . . might as well get one on spiders as I have probably have a few dozen hangin' out in my attic
  13. colsmith

    colsmith New Member

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    Once years ago at our first house I was tempted to buy some Weed 'n Feed sort of product for my lawn, since some of the neighbors used that, and my lawn looked like crap. Well, I am the weird kind that reads everything on the package first, so I was reading the back of the bag. It said something like, "May be toxic to birds and animals, extremely toxic to bees and fish." Well, I didn't buy that bag or anything like it ever! My family was always organic while I was growing up, so it was easy to go that route. If growing roses, the #1 advice is never get water on the leaves. I have a few rose bushes, they do okay, I don't pamper them in any way, it helps to get vigorous old fashioned types or hybrids designed to fight disease.

    What that article you linked to didn't mention is that an adjacent forest to where many people had their bee hives (in that case where the guy takes bees to CA for the almonds), they spray Sevin every year to kill some sort of worms that could damage the trees. One guy who moved his hives far away from the forest has now had better results with his bees, his neighbors that haven't moved the hives away from the forest are still losing bees right and left. Think how many people in the U.S. use herbicides and pesticides, bees are very fragile and sensitive to them.
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The largest ferral populations of honeybees I've witnessed are in France. Coincidentally pesticides are VERY tightly controlled there. You can't walk into your local Home Depot and come out with a nuclear pesticide arsenal. Actually, you'd be hard pressed to find anything like a Home Depot there except in the large population centers. But pesticides are strictly controlled across the country and licensed there because they have a firm belief in the effect of them on the surrounding areas and their persistence in the environment.
  15. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    Eric,

    Did you (or someone local to you) ever setup a bat house in/near your property? I heard it's (more) difficult to achieve in the northeast, e.g. getting the bats to accept the man-made house because the bats seek out warmth, therefore this affects placement of the bat house.

    I would love to put in one (or more), not only for the fertilizer aspect, but even more so for thinning out the mosquito population. I live within a few hundred yards of several protected wetland areas, so needless to say the mosquitos can blot out the sky if there's been significant rainful in the summer. Around dusk I usually see about a half dozen bats flying over the yard, but I wouldn't mind seeing more! In the summer my back deck is unusable due to the swarms of mosquitos. At the tail end of the summer I did get a large Mosquito Magnet which certainly has made the deck far less oppressive, but it requires maintenance as well as propane to operate. Nothing like a free, environmentally sound mosquito-killing bat population.

    On the other hand, it is rather fun to creep towards the Mosquito Magnet at night and see hundreds of mosquitoes swarming around it, inevitably getting sucked inside.
  16. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Bats in the northeast?
    Bats generally live within a 1/4 raidus of water or wetlands. In NE they love old barns and attics for the warmth...the warmer the better. If you make a 'bat house' (check online) it is best to place it on a post 14-17' above ground in direct sunlight in a "field type setting" to eliminate habitat for prey. Best to paint it dark brown with latex bases (avoid oils)...read somewhere they usually look for 'new homes' late May to beginning of July...
    Bats are great bug killers...wish more people knew it!
  17. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I've never had a bat house, but my parents' tree farm in Wisconsin has thousands of bats living in various outbuildings. I collect the droppings, haul them back home to NY and use them in my garden, greenhouse, etc. I think they're cute. They only come out at night, but you can see them hanging upside down from the rafters during the day--makin' guano.

    I'm sure there are plenty of internet sites dealing with how to attract and accommodate bats.
  18. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    Unfortunately I dont have any outbuildings in the area that are suitable. I have a shed near where I would build a bathouse, but Im not really keen on having guano all over my tarps & lawn equipment that I store in there. :)

    That advice about warmth, etc. is consistent w/ what I've read. Still concerned about a spot w/ a lot of light or open field. I do have about a 1/2 acre of open lawn to the south of the where the trees start, so the trees on the north edge of the lawn do get some good light, espec since I just cut down several malforrmed trees that werent ever going to become worthwhile. On the plus side, that area is at most 150 yards from a healthy wetlands.

    What types of predators do I need to be concerned about sheltering them from (besides the cat). There arent too many foxes/coyotes around here (the occassional scrawny fox family wanders across the yard), not much of anything else. This area is reasonably residential, but its not one of those planned neighborhoods w/ planned roads/plots by any measure.

    Will post a pic of where Im thinking....
  19. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    My second wife grew up next to a guy who kept bees. She was never stung and nobody in her family has ever been stung by them. My children have played there many times adn never been stung. The old guy has shown the kids the bees up close several times. even let them handle them. No stings. I don't think you have anything to worry about unless you have mean kids who throw rocks at the hives or try to tip it over. As for the Bats....I love 'em. We build and hang bat boxes every summer to give them places to make homes. the more the merrier.
  20. smirnov3

    smirnov3 Feeling the Heat

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    Before you start building bat houses, check to see if the local population carries rabies (contact your town / state authority for the info)

    Bat bites are almost undetectable, and if the bats are rabid, they are lethal.
  21. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    Just saw that here in Ohio because of the cold February, that 70% or so of the bee population died.......
  22. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    In VA you are encouraged to make bat houses. No rabies problems listed on the state web sites.
  23. smirnov3

    smirnov3 Feeling the Heat

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    Yeah, I think that rabies in the bat population is mostly a NY and NE problem
  24. sgcsalsero

    sgcsalsero Feeling the Heat

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    Cast, where'd you read that ? ? ?
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