Monday, September 13, 2010

Odd bee behavior

The other evening, James and I were sitting outside in the back yard, enjoying the cooler temps.

"What IS that sound?" I asked. "Do you hear that buzzing?" James nodded.

We got up and looked around but couldn't find anything. But we kept hearing the low humming. Finally, we got back up and kept looking.Then, we realized that the sound was coming from bees. Bees that were buzzing around the live oak limbs. Upon closer examination, we saw that the bees were visiting empty hulls from which acorns had dropped. Just for grins, I picked one and tasted the inside. Hmmm, slightly sweet!

This evening, in spite of the horse-sized mosquitoes, I managed to get one good photo of a bee visiting a live oak plus several other photos. Gotta document the behavior!

Time to ask for an expert's opinion!

UPDATE–SEPTEMBER 17, 2010– Sheryl: There may be something odd going on with your oaks, but the usual reason one encounters a lot of honey bees on oaks during the summer or fall is that they are harvesting honeydew–the sugary excretions–basically just sap–produced by various phloem feeding aphids, scales, and treehoppers.

John L. Neff
Central Texas Melittological Institute

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