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kazmcc 

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I went to watch the bees last night, and as I was explaining about how to prevent robbing by narrowing the hive entrance to the guy who will be taking care of them with me, we noticed a wasp sniffing the fence along the enclosure. There is a huge plum tree next to the hive enclosure and we were wondering if that would attract wasps, and if it might become a problem for the bees......or will they deal with it as long as we narrow the hive entrance? If it is in the interest of the bees, I'll have the thing removed.

Opinions please :)
 

Firegazer 

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Kaz,
I think it is a good thing to leave there.

The wasps need a source of sugar - best to let them eat plums than your bees' honey stores. Also, wasps are generally good for the garden (apart from the time in Autumn when they run out of other options and get more desperate).

They are too successful a species to expect to manage their numbers much.

Keep your colony strong, give it a home advantage by reducing the entrance, and that's probably all you need to do.

FG
 

kazmcc 

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Thanks firegazer, these are things that you don't really find advice for anywhere else. It is a large tree, and I have been told it will be cut back to some degree, just so it will be easier to tend the hives without getting a branch in the face :)

Now you mention it, the allotments are a huge place, full of dark, dirty corners that bugs and insects love so there will be plenty for the wasps to eat. I just got a bit over excited when I saw one so near the bees....I am very protective of them, and after reading the posts on here, and especially seeing the pic of the bees as a result of robbing ( very distressing ) I think i got a bit carried away. After all, it was just one wasp lol
 

Erichalfbee 

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I have bird boxes with cameras in and like to feed the nesting birds mealworms in the spring. One of the most fascinating things I saw this year was a wasp that alighted in the worm feeder and cut a mealworm into pieces to take it away. It came back three times.
 

rae 

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If you have a good strong colony, there will be a number of dead wasps on the landing board or just below it. Weak colonies can be clobbered by wasps, best keep the entrances very small if you have nucs or small colonies.
 

Hombre 

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Pruning or cutting back plum trees - best done when in flower, thus guaranteeing that the sap is running freely. Pruning or cutting back at any other time is likely to cause die back in the pruned branches.
 

kazmcc 

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We were advised to cut back in autumn by the secretary of the allotments. I don't know, I don't know anything about fruit trees so you may be right... there might be two times it's ok to cut them back. Not my department though, mine is the bees now, used to be the grant money, before we spent it lol
 

Hombre 

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Not your department, very wise. Even I recognise that bits of branch expand enormously when they reach the ground :)

I only learned it this year, when visiting a commercial plum orchard to install a few colonies, we noticed the plums in heavy bloom and a large number of cut branches laden with bloom on the ground.

Talking to the owner of the orchard I commented on this and he explained the rational behind it.

I don't suppose that the allotment Secretary knows much more about plums than s/he does about bees. I guess that the owner of the plum tree gets to have some input in these matters.

I just thought as you were sucking up so much good information at the moment that this little snippet might also be of interest. My friend with me on the day commented that his wife had 'pruned' their plum tree a month previously . . . drat. :)
 

kazmcc 

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Not your department, very wise. Even I recognise that bits of branch expand enormously when they reach the ground :)

I only learned it this year, when visiting a commercial plum orchard to install a few colonies, we noticed the plums in heavy bloom and a large number of cut branches laden with bloom on the ground.

Talking to the owner of the orchard I commented on this and he explained the rational behind it.

I don't suppose that the allotment Secretary knows much more about plums than s/he does about bees. I guess that the owner of the plum tree gets to have some input in these matters.

I just thought as you were sucking up so much good information at the moment that this little snippet might also be of interest. My friend with me on the day commented that his wife had 'pruned' their plum tree a month previously . . . drat. :)
Thanks for your post Hombre. Our site used to be a very overgrown plot that no-one was willing to take on. The story goes that there was a woman who owned the plot for years, she was well known among allotment owners. When she died, her family believed her spirit lived on the plot (???) and kept up the payments, but didn't have the time to tend it. As this woman was well liked, and not wanting to upset the family, the plot was just left as it was, growing more overgrown each year. When we were looking for a site for our project, we straight away thought this was ideal as it is right next to the school. We just had to convince the family. They agreed to let us have it on the condition that one of the beds would be available for them, and that we named the site in her honour, hence " Patsy's secret garden "

The tree is very old, so was left in place....also, the children drew plans of what they would like the plot to look like, and the tree featured heavily in most of them. So, the tree is ours now. If we need it removing, it will be, but I would like to leave it if possible, but as I say, I just applied for the grant, lots of council agencies got involved so it is quiet possible that one day I will turn up and things will be changed. I am new to all this and as I'm sure you know, lots of people give me advice, some good, some bad. As your advice comes from professional growers, i would tend towards taking it. We are due a meeting in September, and will raise this point, as it need cutting back even if we don't get rid of it.

Thanks again Hombre
 

Silly Bee 

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Pruning or cutting back plum trees - best done when in flower, thus guaranteeing that the sap is running freely. Pruning or cutting back at any other time is likely to cause die back in the pruned branches.
Or worse than that, The dreaded Silver Leaf.
 

Silly Bee 

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Plums, apples, rasberries, blackcurrant, red currant. worcesterberries, blueberries, cherries, tayberries. Yes I have a bit of fruit.:eek:


Plums are pruned when they are growing, apples in the winter, with a light summer pruning.

I find fruit more rewarding, and certainly more profitable in terms of freezzer space, i don't frezze veg.
 

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