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Old Feb 19, 2011, 9:41 PM   #11
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Pen, I'm very glad to see that you're doing your part to help rebuild the native bee population. I fully understand the need to support bee populations, but I'm not sure I'd have the nerve to maintain a huge population like that in my yard! I'm very glad there are people like you willing to go the extra mile.
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Old Feb 19, 2011, 10:28 PM   #12
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Pen, I'm very glad to see that you're doing your part to help rebuild the native bee population. I fully understand the need to support bee populations, but I'm not sure I'd have the nerve to maintain a huge population like that in my yard! I'm very glad there are people like you willing to go the extra mile.
We don't do anything to maintain it - just let it be. Besides, a good part of it just left for parts unknown, but I have to say, I had no idea there were so many of them. The air above that corner is always busy with bees coming and going when the weather is warm, but they must forage away from the hive, because we seldom see any around the house. Having seen that huge mass, we may have to rethink things, though, because we may be seeding the neighborhood where they may not be so welcome. Of course, because before this colony settled here, we always had bees foraging in the garden, so they had to have come from somewhere - probably the source of our colony.
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Old Feb 22, 2011, 7:21 AM   #13
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Great documentation of the swarm behavior - nicely photographed too!
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Old Feb 23, 2011, 7:08 PM   #14
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Great documentation of the swarm behavior - nicely photographed too!
Thanks, Mole. What I didn't mention before was that the branch was vertical (upwards), or nearly so, before the weight of the bees bent it 180˚ downwards!
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 12:39 PM   #15
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Does anyone know if this is a beehive ?
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 4:50 PM   #16
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Does anyone know if this is a beehive ?
Honey bees usually nest in hollow trees or other enclosed spaces. This might be a Hornet's nest.
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Old Feb 24, 2011, 7:14 PM   #17
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Hi penolta,

Nice work!

I was lucky enough to get some pics of a bee swarm about 2 years ago. They first were up about 40 ft in a tree near the man-made hives (at a local Nature Center), then they move to a small tree @ 100 ft away the next day. While I was there, they relocated again, and flew right over me while I was trying to shoot some birds -- it was pretty intimidating, even though I'd done some research and found out that the honey bees in this area are usually not aggressive during swarming.

I documented my experience and some of what I'd learned about this phenomenon in this post:

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pe...ever-seen.html

Scott
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Old Feb 25, 2011, 6:33 AM   #18
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Kevin - sure looks like a hornet nest to me - they make their nests out of paper (chewed up wood and saliva). You can see the layers of paper of slightly different shades (different wood sources) on the outside. Inside are lots of paper cells (look like honeycombs, but not made of wax) where the larva grow up. Our local most common species is the Bald Faced Hornet - they feed their young'uns chewed up flies! Not sure which species you have there.

Scott - thanks for the link to your bee swarm photos. Another fascinating series!
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Old Feb 25, 2011, 7:26 AM   #19
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Thank you Penolta and Mole for the clarification. I'm surprised they leave it there (though maybe it's no longer inhabited) since this is the first thing you see on entering the park ! IF they are still around then I'll try to get some shots for you ... though I'm not climbing up that tree !
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