By Bernard Preston
Bird pressure on hive productivity
I notice that we have a diversity of insect eating birds who congregate around our hives in the morning. Do you think that the swarms are large enough to sustain the losses from these birds, and what sort of impact will they have on honey production? My sense is that it could be negligible and that we should allow them to take the bees they can, especially as they do not hang around the hives all day. What are your thoughts?
Thanks and kind regards.
It's an interesting question, and I'd like others to contribute to this topic. The bird in question is I presume the fork tailed bee-eater, or drongo. They can apparently take up to 300 bees each per day; that's a considerable threat to the colony.
Each bee will collect about a teaspoon of honey in her life time; it's a significant threat.
The problem looking at the bigger picture is that the drongo makes a great contribution to keeping other insects under control; they are an important part of the ecological cycle.
They are highly intelligent birds, not easily frightened off; and I for one will not shoot them, despite the significant damage they do.
I keep a paintball gun which I fire off, aiming to hit the branch they are sitting on, but not the bird; that does keep them at bay.
It's a nuggety problem; I wonder what others think.
Do you have a photo of the bird bothering your hive?
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