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Ants and Now Bees

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Ants and Now Bees

Post  jab3359 on 4/25/2013, 12:09 pm

Last week I noticed my compost pile had gone crazy with ants and posted that. After a little research and reading I decided it wasn't neccessarily a problem except for potential aphid-attraction if the ants transfer to the garden.

Yesterday I noticed many many bees swarming around the compost bin. It is one of those recycled plastic types with solid sides and top so I could see them going in and comming out but not what was going on inside. They appear to be "typical" local bees, to my untrained eye. I wasn't going to risk removing the top so at this point I don't know if they are settting up a hive or maybe were just visiting? I searched other forums and found several posts of similar problems.

It seems the possible remedies include:
1. leave them alone, let them have the compost pile until they are finished and try to co-exist
2. use chemical or natural compounds (amonia+water) to kill them or drive them away
3. call an exterminator to deal with them (probably death by poison)
4. have a bee-keeper remove the nest if there is one

I am curious if anyone has had similar problems, and what their solution was and also wondering what you would do? Some other information to consider:the compost pile is about 25 feet from the garden. I have a small dog in the yard that I am concerned might disturb them and get attacked. Their presence might be beneficial to the garden and I could live without the compost for a season or two. If they do nest, how long would they stay?


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Re: Ants and Now Bees

Post  Lemonie on 4/25/2013, 12:26 pm

I haven't dealt with this myself, but seems like another humane option would be to carefully slip a hose in there and try to flood them out? Maybe they'll pack up and find a new place to take up residence that would still allow them to help your garden. I see bee keepers on craigslist all of the time that offer to come and remove nests for free.
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Re: Ants and Now Bees

Post  jab3359 on 4/25/2013, 12:59 pm

@Lemonie wrote:I haven't dealt with this myself, but seems like another humane option would be to carefully slip a hose in there and try to flood them out? Maybe they'll pack up and find a new place to take up residence that would still allow them to help your garden. I see bee keepers on craigslist all of the time that offer to come and remove nests for free.

I like both those suggestions. Getting a bee keeper to remove them for free sounds like a great idea.
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Re: Ants and Now Bees

Post  camprn on 4/25/2013, 1:03 pm

They are probably looking for water..... can you get a photo of the 'bee'? Fear not, most of these insects are not aggressive if they are away from the hive.

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Re: Ants and Now Bees

Post  plantoid on 4/25/2013, 5:37 pm

The honey bees & solitary bees especially mortar/ mason bees do frequent the nutrient rich sometimes unsavoury liquid that runs out of compost heaps .
They need it for the single eggs about to hatch that were laid in the hole in the mortar .

The honey bees quite often will spend several days in spring sending a special commando group to get it.
I marked several bees at our compost heap and found they were continually harvesting the liquid for the bee hives 50 yards away for well over a week .

However as has already been said , get a clear picture and post it for they could be anyone of several types of bee which will require a different solution to sort it .
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Re: Ants and Now Bees

Post  jazzycat on 4/25/2013, 9:49 pm

I like options 1 and 4. Personally, I would never, ever use any kind of pesticides, because those things kill other beneficials as well, and bees are such an important part of the ecosystem. Perhaps a call to a local beekeeper could answer all your questions and provide the solutions you're looking for.

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Re: Ants and Now Bees

Post  camprn on 4/25/2013, 9:57 pm

If there not disturbing anything, this is a good sign that the bees are coming to your place. This means they will come when it's time for pollination of your crops.

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Re: Ants and Now Bees

Post  brainchasm on 4/26/2013, 1:53 am

I see honeybees and paper wasps all the time here, but they aren't checking out the garden (unless the honeybee is looking for water in the drip holes) nor playing with the compost...

They're drinking out of my pool!

(just like the damned pigeons, who crap all over the edge...after they eat olives...so it's evil black hell)

But anyway, the wasps will sit on the water surface, take their drink, and fly away, rinse and repeat.
The honeybees will land on the inside of the pool wall above the water, always landing head up, and then do a little dance and turn head down, creep to the water surface, and get their drink.

So, they're likely after the water. If you really see a flow of bees in and out of the slots (6-10 per minute or more), then you might have a hive forming. That would be weird though - bees may nibble on garbage, but they generally won't LIVE in it; they really prefer a clean space, and will clean out a hollow in a tree before they make a hive.

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Re: Ants and Now Bees

Post  jab3359 on 4/26/2013, 2:04 pm

I checked it again yesterday and all signs of the bees were gone. Must have been there for the moisture as mentioned in the replies. Thankfully it looks like I won't have to deal with the issue. They are welcome to come and visit anytime. flower
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