Back Again

Hi, it has been a long time since I added a new post but I am back.

Last year I wrote about having trouble with bees. During the summer we had a little trouble with bees but nothing to worry about. That changed during October. The bees started following us around the property and at times bumping us. The bumping is a sign that if we don’t leave, it plans to sting us. Needless to say this had to change and change quickly.

We are still feeding the hummingbirds nectar. During the summer we hang about 25 feeders but in winter we increase the number of feeders to about 50.

As you know, bees like things like pop or picnics. They also like the nectar that hummingbirds eat!

We live in Arizona in the desert. There are farms close to us that often put out bee hives along their fields. The time between the different crops and the time before the new crops flower – where do the bees find food? We think they join the hummingbirds at our feeders!

One other factor is affecting our work with the hummingbirds. Arizona is in the area that now has Africanized bees.

This info came from

The major differences between Africanized and other Western bee types are:

  • Tends to swarm more frequently and go farther than other types of honey bees.
  • Is more likely to migrate as part of a seasonal response to lowered food supply.
  • Is more likely to “abscond”—the entire colony leaves the hive and relocates—in response to stress.
  • Has greater defensiveness when in a resting swarm, compared to other honey bee types.
  • Lives more often in ground cavities than the European types.
  • Guards the hive aggressively, with a larger alarm zone around the hive.
  • Has a higher proportion of “guard” bees within the hive.
  • Deploys in greater numbers for defense and pursues perceived threats over much longer distances from the hive.
  • Cannot survive extended periods of forage deprivation, preventing introduction into areas with harsh winters or extremely dry late summers.

Over the years, we bought many different feeders. Some seemed to draw more bees than others. The last few weeks we set up a trial station on the edge of our property to see which feeders we want to keep and which ones we need to get rid of. The results have been interesting. Some feeders let bees into the compartment that holds the nectar. Other feeders tip leaking out some of the nectar – a good draw for the bees. Some just plain leak – also a good draw. A few had the bees come to them, check them out and then leave as they weren’t getting what they wanted.

In a few days I will be putting up pictures and videos showing the results.

Many of the feeders have been advertised as bee free feeders in the northern states where there are no Africanized bees. The Africanized bees are more  aggressive and do get into many feeders that the European bees can’t.



Posted in Desert Garden.

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