Monday, November 10, 2008

Strange Behavior For Honey Bees !!

This is a picture of my bird feeder that hangs upon our
Sugar Maple tree.
One day I noticed what I thought was big bugs flying
around and into it. Getting closer and
investigating further it turned out to be Honey Bees!

The little bees were digging in the birdseed and scattering
it out of the feeder and some had managed to even get
up inside of the feeder.
I have had bird feeders for years but had never seen so
many Honey Bees around the feeder or in the birdseed
before except for an occasional stray one maybe.

I kept watching them as closely as possible without
disturbing them and I could not really see them taking
away any of the seed but they were digging in the seed
for some reason. They kept up this behavior until they
they had emptied all of the seed from the feeder onto the
ground below where other bees were continuing their search.
They worked at this for several hours. I was just hoping they
were not looking to make a home of the bird feeder.

Bee keepers probably knew right off why they were
acting in this manner but it was a new experience for me.
So, I had to investigate this behavior to see if there was a
simple explanation.
Doing a search on Google came up with a match at
the Hilton Pond Center
which had an article entitled "Busy as a Winter Bee".
In the article Susan Hilton had had the same experience
at her bird feeder and did a similar investigation.
She learned that in the absence of energy rich flower
nectar that the bees look for other protein rich sources.
The corn though having starch does have some protein
in the kernels so the worker bees were doing their best
to collect the dust from the crushed corn kernels to
get protein to take back to the hive for the larvae and
the Queen Bee.
The collecting of this dust is in fact a common event.
I guess to me what was strange behavior was just bees
being bees. It was a very interesting experience to watch
them and the birds cleaned up the scattered seed from
the ground.


David Perry said...

Awesome observation and sharing. Thank you.

spookydragonfly said...

Wow!...That's fascinating, Lona! I have never heard of this. It's amazing how nature, by instinct, takes care of itself. Great post!