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purple martins vs bees

Posted by imtoobusy z6bMD (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 17, 05 at 11:49

We are putting up a purple martin house to control the gnat population and I wonder what affect they might have on a bee population. I had some pollination problems last year and had thought about getting a hive this year. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Thanks in advance!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: purple martins vs bees

I have no direct experence myself. Though The Purple Martin Conservation Association says: 'Purple Martins may take an occasional honeybee, but they do not specialize on any type of insect and pose no threat to the viability of nearby hives. '

That said, I think I would position the purple martin house so that it is a far from the beehive as reasonably possible to minimize problems.

Here is a link that might be useful: Purple Martin FAQ

RE: purple martins vs bees

I have been keeping bees for the past 11 years (in MD). I have never had any problems with purple martins, but thought I would post a short note here about sparrows.

Sparrows will hang out near the hives and eat honeybees. I have watched them do this. I was pretty surprised to see them doing it, but had heard of other birds doing it.

I wonder with the number of honeybees vs. purple martins, how much damage could the birds do? I have read that martins do not specialize in any one insect, so honeybees should not face much of a threat.

If you'd like to discuss beekeeping (in MD), I'd be happy to "chat" with you.

RE: purple martins vs bees

Thank you both for your responses. I got a purple martin house for Christmas so I am hoping to be able to attract them this year but it may take a while for them to find the house. Some of the information I have is that the martins like bigger insects that fly at least 10 feet off the ground but they will eat anything else they see.

Zeebyrd- any information you can give me would be great! I am in Western Maryland and I noticed that I was having pollination problems last year in the garden. I thought it might be nice to try my hand at beekeeping but I am unsure where to start. What is the best way for me to find a local source for bees and hives? There was an article in our local paper yesterday about a local man who has a hive rental buisness (he is starting to sell off his hives to big California farms since he is getting up in years and so far has no one to pass the family buisness on to.) I was thinking about trying to contact him but I got the feeling from the article that he deals with large farms. Where do you suggest I begin?

RE: purple martins vs bees

The best source of info on getting started in beekeeping is a local or state beekeeping club/organization. See if there is one active near you. Check out this link or call your cooperative extension office. This is the perfect time to begin looking into it. New hives can be started in spring to early summer, giving you time to talk to someone, purchase equipment and get your bees for this season.


Here is a link that might be useful: Beekeeping associations

RE: purple martins vs bees

We have had Western Kingbirds that would sit on the fence near a hive and have a very lazy lunch. We don't see them often enough for it to be a major problem.

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