Blue Jay eating Bees

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by BackyardBeez, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. BackyardBeez

    BackyardBeez New Member

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    l have one backyard hive. It's a healthy colony but young, 10-15 thousand strong. A blue jay was eating them as they came and went for the first time today. I know balance of nature and all, but I don't like it! Is it common? Is it a major threat to the population? I don't want him eating my babees!!!
     
  2. BackyardBeez

    BackyardBeez New Member

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    He/she did not eat the two dead bees on the ground. The person doesn't seem to mind at this website http://urbanfarmandbeehives.com/?p=42 but I mind. I would think returning birds all summer could have a large effect on the hive.
     

  3. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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  4. BackyardBeez

    BackyardBeez New Member

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    If I were in the country easily... I'm in the burbs = jail time over a jay. Perhaps I can design a barrier that fits the porch yet the bees can get through. Besides 20g is a bit overkill, get the hive all pitted.
     
  5. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    yep, blue jays eat honey bees, so do lots of other birds. i wouldn't worry too much about it unless they snack on a virgin queen, that's when i get really cranky.....:lol:
     
  6. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    We have an abundance of Blue Jays here (and the odd bright red Cardinal as well).
    I keep most of my nucs here in the back yard and have had the occasional virgin queen not return. I wasn't sure if the jays could be responsible or not.
     
  7. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    A Blue Jay (unless it is the toronto Blue Jays mascott) couldnt eat enough to make a noticable difference in the hive. You would go nuts at the amount of bees that leave to forage and never return. If you was able to see this a blue jay would be the least of your worries:grin:
     
  8. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    mockingbirds also supplement their diet with bees, to go with my tasty blackberries. But they are eating the grasshoppers to protect their tomatoes, so I just go "shooo" when they are in the wrong place.
     
  9. BackyardBeez

    BackyardBeez New Member

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    If I had several hives at 50g strong it wouldn't be as much of a concern. But one young hive that's still growing can't afford to be depleted like that. Another keeper said cat food keeps the birds off the bees nicely. Yes, it'll probably draw more jays but they won't be eating my bees. At least while I've devising a barrier that doesn't deter their flight.
     
  10. BackyardBeez

    BackyardBeez New Member

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    Yes Gypsi, I generally always go with the symbiotic balance of things... just a tad protective of my only little hive :wink:
     
  11. brooksbeefarm

    brooksbeefarm New Member

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    Had a Blue Jay attack me when i was a youngster climbing a tree, (didn't see it's nest) i classify them with ticks and chiggers. They raid other bird nest, kill, and eat the eggs and baby birds. The only thing that would change my mind about them, is if i seen them eat Japanese beetles.:thumbsup: Maybe ??? Jack:roll:
     
  12. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't have many jays and the only thing I see them eating are acorns from my little live oak. I have tons of birds around, just not many jays
     
  13. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    I've seen bluejays and mockingbirds perched on my hives waiting for a meal to land nearby. Maybe they only catch the old and weak ones.
     
  14. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    I'm of a mind that enough bees are picked off by birds while they are out foraging, but if one of them is sitting on the landing board picking the bees off as they land or try to take off, it's time to relocate that bird.
    20 ga. is not overkill, I'd use a 12 ga. with #7-1/2 bird shot, just not shoot at the hive. spook the critter first and shoot it on the wing. 'Course I live in the country-in the 'burbs you do have to come up with a different strategy.
    Keep us posted.
     
  15. Ray

    Ray Member

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    Slingshot? or maybe an air rifle?
    Realistically, your hive is loosing hundreds of bees a day to old age and rearing twice that many.

    I started bee having, about 15 months ago and I have noticed an increase of song birds in the backyard:thumbsup:. Personally, I would trade a couple pounds of honey to listen to a Cardinal sing. It could be coincidence, I haven't equated the increase in mosquitoes, this year, with my honeybees presents:lol:.
     
  16. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    bb gun or air gun is as far as I go, odds on catching a neighbor go up in town. Something I think Blueblood is familiar with. But seriously, with what these birds are saving me in produce, I do not miss a couple of bees.
     
  17. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    They don't have a major impact, and getting a second hive cuts the impact per hive in half. The only time I mind it is when I have queens making mating flights. Funny how large, slow flying queens make such easy targets for birds.
     
  18. BackyardBeez

    BackyardBeez New Member

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    Yep, jays seem to be more voracious than other birds. It was right at the porch and picking them off as they landed or you know how they hang out before they take off. I hear y'all about how many die in other ways. I guess it's probably more of a mother's-ain't-gonna-get-my-kids thing. It's not like they have a fighting chance on the wing or another large exit/entrance. Anyway it wasn't there today. I could easily pop it off with a pellet gun, I'd rather kill it than maim it. Cat food will just bring more of them, plus ants and wasps too. Anyway, this ma's keepin' her eyes peeled. Thanks for the responses.
     
  19. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    Be careful with the bb guns, sling shots, and shotguns etc. Blue jays are on the federally protected migratory bird list. A loss of a few bees a lot cheaper than a federal fine if caught trying to harm a bird on the list. Just saying:thumbsup:
     
  20. JUDELT

    JUDELT New Member

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    I walked out one day to see 3 young Summer Tanager catching the bees as they we coming and going!