Cathy Isom continues her series on bees with information on a few of the common bee predators and how to protect your harvest. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.
There are a few bee predators that you need to be aware of, some you can fend off, and others you should just know about. For example:
Bears. Probably not the first thing that comes to your mind when thinking about bee predators, but these wild giants do love honey. When a bear has supper from your hive, it can be a devastating massacre. Bears can destroy an entire hive by ripping it apart or tipping it on its side to get to the honey and bees.
Skunks. You will know if a skunk has raided your hive if there are remnants of bees laying about outside the hive. Skunks enjoy eating bees themselves, and they will actually suck on the bees, and spit out the parts they aren’t interested in eating. A skunk will collect bees from the lower entrance of your hive, so if you can, raise your hive a few feet off the ground. This will deter this smelly nuisance from eating your bees.
Beewolves, also known as wasps, prefer to eat bees and use them to feed their developing brood. While beewolves usually pick off a few bees here and there, this predator does not usually cause as much devastation as some of the others on this list.
Bee-Eater Birds. Luckily this predator is only found in certain parts of the world, mostly in Africa and Asia. Birds, in general, may choose to consume bees, but this family of birds seeks out bees specifically.
Crab Spiders. Crab spiders are some sneaky spiders, referred to as flower crab spiders, that hide out amongst bees’ favorite flowers hoping to catch their prey off guard. These spiders can even change color, camouflaging against the flower they are hunting from.