Bees and Purple Martins?

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Indiana Dave, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. Indiana Dave

    Indiana Dave New Member

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    I am seriously considering building a purple martin house but I am afraid that they might develop a palate for honey bees. I'm sure there would be a few casualties, I just don't want to be decimated to the point that it would start to affect honey production and hive survival. The martin house would be about 150 yards from my hives. Do any of you have martin houses and have problems with them eating your bees?
     
  2. jim314

    jim314 New Member

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    Here is what I found:
    Only two studies of analyses of stomach contents of the Purple Martin have been published, F.E.L Beal's (1918) and a recent paper by Johnston (1967). Beal's work is usually cited in most publications that mention martin's diet (Forbush, 1929; Hausman, 1931; Roberts, 1932; Sprunt, in Bent, 1942; Sprunt, 1954). Beal analyzed 205 stomachs of martins collected from February to September throughout the United States and Canada. He reported no mosquitoes in any of the stomachs and most of the insects found were relatively large ones. Johnson analyzed stomach contents of 34 Purple Martins collected during April through August in Kansas. He reported that 3 percent of the insects found in seven martins collected were culicine mosquitoes, but no mosquitoes were found in stomachs collected thereafter. He concluded coleopterans (beetles) were the items most frequently taken during this study, that the martins ate considerably more dipterous (flies) in April and May than later in the season, and that by August hymenopterans (bees, ants, wasps) were frequent food items.

    http://purplemartin.org/update/MosCont.html
     

  3. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    this has been a widely discussed issue on all bee forums. I believe if you look in our archives you will find some discussion on this. Most of the forums I have seen this debated on everyone was in agreement to go ahead and put up a bird house. There wouldnt be enough birds to do any noticeable damage to the bee population.
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    unless of course you decide you want to mate queens. umm... now there is a tasty treat.
     
  5. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    I agree that encouraging purple martins may not be good if your raising queens. Queens fly much slower than a worker and are easy targets.

    I have seen purple martins, and actually mocking birds also, walk among the dandelions in the yard and simply eat the bees off the flowers.