Bees In Birdhouses

How do we rid ourselves of at least one large resident bumble bee in a low hanging bird house, which is also a terrorist for my grandchild? He's not sure if it's a bee or a large wasp. I'd like to think it's OK and perhaps just investigating the medium/large birdhouse, but then, I have a collection of small birdhouses taken over by lots of wasps!

What's your thinking about this? Bumble bees are fat and sluggish, but there is one kind of extra large wasp that might be important to the garden, too. I didn't see it, the grandchild did, age 8, and it struck fear in him even though it wasn't aggressive that he knew of, running fast without looking back, into the house.

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Texas has "Killer Bees" which are supposed to be very aggressive, so I doubt it was one of those Africanized bees. But if it's what I'm thinking it was/is, it's likely that oversized Wasp that makes holes usually in the ground, which kills larger spiders? Does anyone know about these and what we should do about it (them)?

Hardiness Zone: 8a

Lynda from TX

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October 19, 20060 found this helpful

I did a LOT of homework and learned (after SEEING two black drone/worker bumble bees fly out to investigate what the nine foot stick I poked into the

birdhouse entry hole was all about) that bumble bees are on the "endangered species" list, and that FEW folks can "get them to nest at the home built for them by the hobbiest". My grandson and I live here in a quandry as to what the future might be if

we "protect" the bees, AND what the present might

be like if we try to "combat" them.

It is recommended, however, that I remove them if children are around. BUT, all of the flowers/trees/flowering weeds/vines I have are EXACTLY what they love, so more will be back!

I saw the huge fat fuzzy black Queen spending her solitude gathering nectar from my tallest flowers one day. She's so big and bluish black that I was stunned at the sight of her. I've seen bumble-bees

plenty of times but never a solid BLACK FUZZY one!

She's not aggressive, although CAN be if cornered or feels threatened, so I read.

Since I am organic, have everything they love, I've

got to get used to the idea that more will likely come and, according to the authorities, I should be

"HONORED" to have one nesting (proof of that is because she is WITH DRONES doing her work of tending to the eggs inside my BEST birdhouse!)

FYI, they LOVE purples, pinks, and oranges! So do I!

I suppose that I could switch preferences, but so much has naturalized here. Any suggestions would be appreciated, OTHER than pesticides! I'm about to see if there are any natural predators for them OTHER than "skunks who don't seem to mind their stings "! They also produce HONEY, but I'm not going to be their beekeeper! ! ! Even if I MOVE her nest, she can just find her way back for a year, die, and be replaced by one of her babies, the next year's queens who find their OWN nests.

Wow, I wonder if I could find a MARKET for them? lol Perhaps the "bee officials" who claim to govern/protect them will offer their solution?

Here's a list of what I have that the bumble bees

LOVE:

Mexican Petunias

Pink Ecinecea flowers (sp?)

Apple Tree blossoms

Plum Tree blossoms

Hyacinth Vine blooms

Marigolds

Comfrey blooms

Yucca blooms

Dandelion blooms

Clover blooms

Squash blooms

Okra blooms

Tomato blooms

Wild Wood-Violets

Honey Suckle blooms

Chinese Privet Tree blooms

Cherry Laurel Tree blooms

Redbud Tree blooms

Blackberry blooms

Star Jasmine Blooms

Magnolia blooms

Bradford Pear blooms

Varigated Lirope blooms

Yellow Verbena blooms

Autuum Joy Sedum blooms

Century Plant blooms

Youpon Holly Tree blooms

Chinese Holly blooms

leaving only the grass, an espaliered 30 yr. old Boston Ivy vine, the wild herbs, Perennial Sages,

Boxwood, Crepe Myrtles, Varigated Vinca Major,

Creeping Asian Jasmine, Dwarf Tri-colored Iris,

and a large established Mahonia Fern !!!

I'm believing that the Creator of Heaven and Earth will give one of us more of His wisdom and knowledge of a solution to this dilemma.

He knows that I love and take care of this " natural

forest". (Remember that I had enough money, until my husband of 33 yrs. left me for my wealthy best friend of 25yr., leaving me with an old home in need of repairs on a large city Zeriscaped unsprinklered

corner lot, approx. 100' x 90', and $28,000 worth of Credit Card debts I could NEVER pay.) I have survived only by the Grace of God and my aging mother's help until she got Ahlzheimer's! Perhaps He's given you some answers about the bees? : )

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October 20, 20060 found this helpful

Hi, The best way to stop them from using your birdhouses as nests is to staple a piece of window screen material over the entrance. Of course, then the birds can't use it either. But if you really have the birdhouses as decoration, that would be OK. Loretta

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October 21, 20060 found this helpful

You know, I'm so VERY tempted to just concentrate on more YELLOW, WHITE, and perhaps PEACH color and just let the perennials die out by gathering more of their seeds? I have a good start with the peach since the dwarf irises are so wonderful.

I have the birdhouses for BIRDS, not bees, except the tiny ones were for decoration only and I DID stuff the openings only to find one house had a second opening! lol

Poor bees/wasps need shelter too and perform their place in our ecosystem, but the expert Entemologists suggest moving them if children are nearby and there are three just next door even younger!

Looks like I'll have to forgo the lovely

lavenders/purples/violets/deep rose/hot pinks!!! (all my favorites that took so long to naturalize/establish.) Many things don't bloom at the same time, but the ones the bees like the most DO! Oh dear, I hate the thought but perhaps there's at least a solution now?

I'll begin replanning if God gives me the strength/health/help and extra time to redo those large areas. I forgot that there are also lots of 3-6 foot palms around beneath the larger trees, which really don't bloom that much. God knew I like them, so He's set up a sort of Eden through the birds and free plants over the years, but this bee thing might not be His plan.

The irises take little care but are short lived. I really do have too much to watch over, so I can spare the bees' favorites. Does anyone want seeds? Keep checking seed exchange. I have quite a few variety.

One or two of the plants the bees love will not be enough to draw the endangered bumble bee queen to nest in a property, I am told. It's because I have so many of what she \they like! I had no idea and am really distressed at having to get rid of them in a way, but must consider the children's safety first, bees second.

I need to make room for more edible plants anyway, and this is where so many of the bees' preferences are taking over my garden.

Under my circumstances I believe it is wise to plant

mostly edibles in their places now, not knowing what lies just ahead for us and our nation.

God bless ThriftyFun and it's readers. I really enjoy sharing and learning, don't you? : )

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October 24, 20060 found this helpful

There is a large wasp called a Cicada Killer which makes a burrow in the ground to lay it's eggs. Looks really frightening as the female is about 2" long (male is smaller) and is black & yellow like a yellow jack or bumble bee. Only the female stings and then only when severely threatened. The male justs acts agressive. Females stings cicadas with a paralyzing venom and drag them to a tree and glide down to their hole in the ground where they deposit the cicada in a chamber and lay their eggs on it. A Feeding station for the young when they emerge. I read they were numerous in Texas this year. The good thing is that the season for them lasts only a few months... I had dozens of them in a tree that needed to be trimmed after a storm and the treemen would not climb the tree because of the infestation.. that's when I did this research... my lawnman says they are always flying into them when they are cutting the grass. Anita - Montclair, NJ

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October 24, 20060 found this helpful

PS: These are known as 'Beneficial Pests' so you really don't want to get rid of them if possible... Anita

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October 24, 20060 found this helpful

Yes, I thought it might have been the 2" long Yellow Jacket Cicada killer, too, until I actually SAW it myself, later seeing two of the drones in the birdhouse come out when I continually provoked them with a pole. They're so fuzzy and slow flying, you'd think it's COLD or something here.

Having had my friend who works at the local Agricultural and Mechanical Extension Center nearby to check, she reports that her boss

assures me that it is indeed a black Bumble Bee and

her workers. They have the phone number of a professional man who gently removes these creatures from properties for FREE. I haven't made the call to him, but I will likely do so with much regret.

Each day I walk out in hopes of seeing her/them, but the blooms on things are really dropping fast, a sure sign of winter with less food for them. Until I can prevent so many purple blooming plants in the yard, they or others will likely visit some

day next Spring. Yet the brief experience of having them here became exciting. As I walked about their temporary home here I realized just WHY she chose

this particular birdhouse from about five others:

On the ground beneath their richly colored birdhouse abode swinging about 5 feet up from a 15' mature Watermelon Crepe Myrtle tree branch, sitting on a 3" deep layer of wood chip mulch, are three shallow but wide various height large pots of purple Wandering Jew, which I totally forgot about! Then within 8 feet is a large stand of 3 foot tall Mexican Petunias. On the OTHER side of their house about ten feet on the fence, behind a large Palm, is the wonderful purple blooming Hyacinth Bean Vine still growing strong, having produced it's heart out and seems as if it might go on into the winter? Two other plants nearby are two ten year old Texas Silver Sage plants which are normally allowed to grow into a bush but which I trained into 5' Standards (small trees) which have lovely lilac blooms WHEN they bloom. Perhaps she knows all about them and is attracted to the wonderful almost white silver leaves?

Those bees will be SO disappointed being moved from their tiny paradise/palace. I hate it, but I know I'd be liable should they venture just across the North fence only three feet away into the neighbor's yard where the three tiny boys play much of each day on their "fort", and the bees might feel threatened enough to sting one of the boys! Or, should the house be accidentally hit by a visitor's head. So, off they will go.

I wish I had a digital camera! (Perhaps one will show up mysteriously? Stranger things have happened! If it does I'll send a photo on to ThriftyFun.) (I had to spend my last twelve dollars this month for gasoline to a friend who took me to my doctor's appt. 15 miles away and back, God bless her heart and hurting broken tooth!)

God's creatures are for us to appreciate and take care of PROVIDED we use wisdom. I'd not be one to take in just ANY creature that shows up here because I understand most ANIMALS are returning to their wild nature even after being raised/nurtured back to health by humans.

I am amazed at how the many varieties and colors of lizards crawl right up near me and turn their heads to watch what I do. Since I never chase or scare them, I actually believe they feel safe, and certainly do a fantastic job of taking care of the plant pests..if there are any.

My second compost bin is building up. I noticed in the first one two large round holes on top were dug the same size as the one into our ONLY large Cantalope...proving to be the resident

neighborhood RAT. At least he's now moved near the alley but isn't picky about choices. He got the

WAY overripe fruit, proving he/she's got a sweet tooth! lol. If I could be assured of not having more bees, I'd allow this black beauty bee family to be moved near the RAT's path. They'd make a lovely pair fighting over the sugar on this property.

I allow three varieties of ants to live around here, too, because I learned to identify each one as neither Fire Ants, Defoliating Ants, or Carpenter Ants. Another way to tell is to kill only one and smell of your finger. The distinct acrid smell indicates a "sugar" ant, which is NOT aggressive but helpful. I disturbed a huge bed of them one day recently when putting up my grandchild's large camping tent, getting about a million all over me alone, thinking the worst. Not ONE stung me, confirming what I had concluded, and is the payoff for having

a Zeriscaped Organic lawn and gardens. It took years of work but is so worth it. I hope now to make things more naturally lovely and less naturally wild! lol : )

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December 3, 20060 found this helpful

I was walking in the woods recently, and saw what appeared to be small fluorescent beetles, resembling potato bugs, that glowed for about a minute, then dimmed. They had no reaction to my flashlight, but just had their own glow. They were somewhat smaller than a conventional beetle, and were pale green in color. This was near Buffalo, NY. Any idea what they are?

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