Wildlife Ways
Vicky Carder

Hummer Lovers

Posted Saturday, October 12, 2013, at 9:01 AM
View 20 comments
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  • yep, been watching my feeders this week and no visitors for the last 2 days, but still keeping them out for a while for possible late commuters.

    -- Posted by bentryder on Sat, Oct 12, 2013, at 10:34 AM
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    The big buzz is over, but we still get one or two a day. Starting to reduce my feeding stations, but I wait until the last one leaves a note that no one else is behind them.

    Well.... maybe that does not happen but I keep at least one up through several freezes as you mentioned Vicky. I sure do not want to see a late arrival buzzing where they used to be and can't get it out fast enough.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Oct 13, 2013, at 5:03 AM
  • I was given a feeder this past week....I wanted one to put in the window I look out all day...maybe next year I'll get a few....I sure hope so!

    -- Posted by chefgrape on Sun, Oct 13, 2013, at 10:29 AM
  • Thanks for the info Vicki.

    I haven't seen any for a while but the feeder is full just in case.

    -- Posted by espoontoon on Sun, Oct 13, 2013, at 2:52 PM
  • I have several visitors, but not as many... However the bees are swarming g and have made it all but impossible to leave feeders out... Help. Any suggestions? I get buzzed by hammers wanting their food returned. Some of them are still tiny.

    -- Posted by haybar on Sun, Oct 13, 2013, at 4:02 PM
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    haybar, you must have a nest nearby if they are that thick. What about setting a dish of sugar water further away from the HB feeders. Somewhere you or kids are not going to be constantly going past.

    I would also NOT do this if anyone in your family is allergic to stings. In that case you do not want them around at all.

    That is not a sure thing, but with a dish the feeding would be easier than trying to get it from a hummingbird feeder.

    You could trap them, but yellow jackets and wasps have their good points so.... if can be a tough decision to trap and kill them.

    Vicky, are there other solutions?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Oct 14, 2013, at 8:33 AM
  • Thank you Steve, I live in town and have looked around my property - no nest, but maybe on one of the neighbors properties. I haven't ever had such a problem. The bees were so thick at one point they covered the entire feeder. I actually called the police dept non emergency number to see if they knew of a bee keeper. I dressed in extra layers and took down and emptied the feeder. The bees were not aggressive just all over. They look like honey bees. ? I will try the dish of sugar water.

    -- Posted by haybar on Mon, Oct 14, 2013, at 8:54 AM
  • The bowl is full of drowned bees with other bees on top. ?

    Still can't hang feeders except late eve and early morning...

    Have had no issues all summer or last year ?

    -- Posted by haybar on Mon, Oct 14, 2013, at 1:34 PM
  • haybar, are you postive they are bees? The situation you describe sounds a lot more like yellow jacket wasps to me. They resemble honeybees in coloration but are actually wasps. And very viscious in temperament.

    You would be unlikely to see a nest because yellow jackets nest in the ground.

    There are no tried and true methods of keeping them off the feeder. Hummers can generally manuver around the feeder without getting stung.

    If you decide to keep your feeder up, do your maintenance only in the early morning/late evening when the wasps are much less active.

    -- Posted by wildwoman on Mon, Oct 14, 2013, at 3:02 PM
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    I've seen a few drown like you've described but a whole bunch is perplexing. They could have been so fat and sassy that they were not aggressive.

    If they are yellow jackets, (which normal at this time of year) they can be just as wildwoman said.

    They seem to be even more so at this time of year.

    Here is a yellow jacket http://www.google.com/imgres?client=firefox-a&hs=g4p&sa=X&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:...

    And here is a honey bee http://www.google.com/imgres?client=firefox-a&hs=Xl&sa=X&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:o...

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Oct 14, 2013, at 3:15 PM
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    chefgrape. I would put it out for another month. Hummers seem to have great memories and if they found the welcome mat out at your house, they will likely program your home into next year's flight plan.

    Gradually more and more will do the same and then you have beautiful insanity outside your window.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Oct 14, 2013, at 5:27 PM
  • They are definitely not jackets... I had looked up a pic on line earlier when it was first mentioned. They resemble the honey bee.

    -- Posted by haybar on Tue, Oct 15, 2013, at 8:34 AM
  • haybar, I am not sure then. To the limits of my knowledge I have never heard of this with honeybees at this time of the year. You might want to contact John Teague at the Agriculture Center. He may have more info, and he may be able to put you in touch with a beekeeper who could help you.

    -- Posted by wildwoman on Tue, Oct 15, 2013, at 9:48 AM
  • Yes, I saw the neighbor out today "spraying" the bees while they were on his feeders... Swarmed... I mentioned that the pesticide he was using to kill the bees would probably kill the bummers as well... He said he began being invaded a couple days ago. I don't want to kill the bees... I know how important they are, but like I said earlier never had issues before.

    -- Posted by haybar on Tue, Oct 15, 2013, at 1:12 PM
  • I will have to find a ladder and get the right hanging screw and string to get it where I can see them...by my calculation (eyeing it)...I might have to resort to a little engineering, the eve is high and my window about 6-7 foot from where I want to hang it...and I have to consider the wind, to keep from having rose colored glass to look through...however, I could start it I guess, beside my other feeders on the carport...would they find it around the corner when I move it?

    -- Posted by chefgrape on Tue, Oct 15, 2013, at 6:34 PM
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    I would bet that the hummers check out the whole yard when they come in, so yes, I think they would find it.

    Boy, I sure hate to hear that someone could be spraying honey bees. I would love to have them and keep saying I would set up an actual hive but I cannot spend the money or time right now.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Oct 16, 2013, at 9:50 AM
  • I would never harm honeybees, but I was infested with ground wasps this year and 25 stings does not a happy camper make. I eventually wiped them out. They were agressive as all getout.

    -- Posted by cherokee2 on Wed, Oct 16, 2013, at 12:31 PM
  • These bees do not seem aggressive, I have moved the feeders, with gloves moved them off feeder and emptied feeder several times...buzzing around me but not one sting. At first I was concerned that they could be the Africanized bees as I had not seen bees do this before... So I over dressed in layers and made a plan to jump in the pool should I become attacked...nope they just wanted the sugar water. I myself have been stung beyond compare when my push mower as a kid hit a nest. So had these been yellow jackets or such...yes to their demise... But not honey bees. Update...bees are still present - not as bad, hammers come and go, maybe the cooler weather has affected the bees?

    -- Posted by haybar on Wed, Oct 16, 2013, at 1:59 PM
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    From everything you've said, I agree that they are honeybees. I've seen some on feeders but never is such quantities so I am guessing several possibilities but it sure would be nice if we could get a beekeeper on here.

    1. The bees natural source of flowers has been disrupted and this is a stop-gap measure to bring food home to the nest.

    2.They sense a really bad winter coming on and are trying to beef up their supplies.

    3.There is a nest about to divide into a separate swarm or maybe already has and they need immediate food. (This is a very uninformed guess)

    An apiarist's opinion would be warmly welcomes.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Oct 17, 2013, at 7:11 AM
  • Everything you have mentioned sounds very possible...the first day they had swarmed so much on one feeder you couldn't see the feeder... They have subsided now, cool weather?

    I thank you all for the banter, and really enjoy all info on wildlife and nature. I have a small gray bunny in the late eve.

    That shows up in the yard, as well as many squirrel, and the occasional flock of turkey in the late fall. Not bad for living in a subdivision. Enjoy this great fall weather !

    -- Posted by haybar on Fri, Oct 18, 2013, at 10:30 AM
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