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The Pollenator: Bee Arthur's Revenge

ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morningAnd the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
edited May 2017 in Help / Advice Forum
I live in Vegas and have a deck garden; life is hard for those plants and I have put quite a lot of time and effort and love into keeping them alive.

About a month and a half ago I bought a parthenocissus. They're furious climbers and difficult for someone completely inexperienced like me to kill as long as I keep throwing water at it, and in this environment overwatering above the seedling level is a tall order. So I was happy and waiting for the thing to attach to my wall.

It didn't because it needed a transplant and MORE water, which I did and it started to come back. NOW there are tons of holes in it. This has not happened with any of my other plants, and I'm not sure why. I guess those leaves aren't delicious. I couldn't find any mites, worms, caterpillars, larvae, anything.. once I found an inch-worm on a sunflower leaf but it disappeared after a day or two and I haven't seen another since. Once I saw this weird gray bee around it, but Scott looked up gray bees and said they're our friends. So I've been pretty much okay with it hanging out, every so often it will chase me away but whatever. Silly bee, though, I have a miniature rose and a flowering squash, the parthenocissus has no flowers. But that's okay, it'll figure it out and then I won't have to worry about pollenation and everyone wins.

That brings us to today, I saw the bee around and said hi like I always do, told it I was done watering that plant and it was good to go because I talk to bugs I see a lot, and then it hit me. Parthenocissus has no flowers. I watched it for a while and realized that bastard fucking whatever it is is carving up my fucking plant.

I want it the fuck off my plant. I was unaware that bees that look for all the world like gray honey bees ate plants, and I'm kicking myself for not paying attention sooner. I have kids and pets and a downstairs neighbor with a deck below mine and a neighbor across the way on oxygen who is easily asphyxiated, so anything with a hint of poison is completely out.. and anyway I don't want to kill anything. But I DO want to know what this thing is and how to make my plant taste terrible to it.

I'll get a picture of the thing if I can.

@Arch @BugBoy or anyone else who can make it go away without killing everything I hold dear.

And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
ceres on
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Posts

  • BugBoyBugBoy boy.EXE has stopped functioning. only bugs remainRegistered User regular
    Sounds like you've got leafcutter bees. They're not eating those leaves, they're using them as construction material for their nests.

    Unfortunately I don't know if there's any convenient ways to get rid of them. Wish I could help, but I'm not good for much more than fun facts in this instance.

    You see lots of things, out there in the swamp at night. Some of them might even be real. But the Bugboy? That's just plain impossible.
    ArchZilla360
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    Sand bees live in shrubs I think.

    You sure it's eating the plant and not just using it to hide from deadly Nevada heat?

  • ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    edited May 2017
    Hmmmm. The problem is that most Megachilidae are....I guess not endangered but...not doing very well.

    Vegas area has these ladies

    http://www.birdandhike.com/Wildlife/Invert/Ph_Arthropoda/SubP_Hexapoda/Cl_Insecta/Hymenoptera/SO_Apocrita/Megachilidae/_Megachilid.htm


    What I REALLY need is a picture of the leaf damage. Leafcutter bee damage is really stereotypical and looks very different than chewing damage, for instance​.

    As for keeping the bee away...I don't have too many good suggestions. You could catch and kill the bee with a net or something... leafcutters are solitary, so it isn't like you're dealing with a whole colony.

    Then problem also is that the bee isn't eating the leaf, so it doesn't care about the taste. It is cutting pieces off to make a home for her babies. She basically cuts a leaf section, rolls it into a tube, stuffs it with pollen, and lays an egg in there.

    You could try hanging some bednetting or mesh around the plant, as long as it's kind of fine mesh it shouldn't hurt the plant and the bee won't get to it.

    Arch on
    ShadowfireArbitraryDescriptorcereszepherinElvenshaeZilla360tynicMayabird38thDoechrishallett83CalicaPLAL Ron Howard
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Okay, everything I'm reading about them is saying "Congratulations! You have attracted leafcutter bees! Life is wonderful forever, leave your SPOUSE before you get rid of this thing!" because most of the time it won't really hurt a plant. They're great pollenators and fun to watch. This might not be so terrible I guess if this plant weren't struggling a bit. :/ It looks like there's only one, so maybe if I leave it alone and wait till it's done it'll be okay?

    I love bees that won't sting me, and I'm happy to have them around to pollenate and I understand their importance and yadda yadda. And I guess the plant wasn't that expensive if it can't keep up and dies.

    Frustrating, though.

    Thanks!

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    Just FYI leafcutters can sting, and multiple times....it's not as bad or as venomous as a honey bee though...

  • ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor Registered User regular
    That little leaf tube nest is neat!

    Perhaps there is a shrub with a more preferable leaf type you could plant?

    http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/3/3/150623

    F4.large.jpg
    Figure 4.
    Phylogeny of leaf preferences by the leafcutting bee species. The diamonds indicate by which bee species the respective leaf species are selected.

    cereszepherinArchZilla360CalicaPLABobble
  • BugBoyBugBoy boy.EXE has stopped functioning. only bugs remainRegistered User regular
    If a phylogeny ends up helping solve this problem I will be tickled pink.

    And I'll probably use it as a justification for making phylogenies for the rest of my life.

    Phylogenies are cool!

    You see lots of things, out there in the swamp at night. Some of them might even be real. But the Bugboy? That's just plain impossible.
    furlioncereszepherinElvenshaeArchZilla360Cambiata
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Arch wrote: »
    Hmmmm. The problem is that most Megachilidae are....I guess not endangered but...not doing very well.

    Vegas area has these ladies

    http://www.birdandhike.com/Wildlife/Invert/Ph_Arthropoda/SubP_Hexapoda/Cl_Insecta/Hymenoptera/SO_Apocrita/Megachilidae/_Megachilid.htm


    What I REALLY need is a picture of the leaf damage. Leafcutter bee damage is really stereotypical and looks very different than chewing damage, for instance​.

    As for keeping the bee away...I don't have too many good suggestions. You could catch and kill the bee with a net or something... leafcutters are solitary, so it isn't like you're dealing with a whole colony.

    Then problem also is that the bee isn't eating the leaf, so it doesn't care about the taste. It is cutting pieces off to make a home for her babies. She basically cuts a leaf section, rolls it into a tube, stuffs it with pollen, and lays an egg in there.

    You could try hanging some bednetting or mesh around the plant, as long as it's kind of fine mesh it shouldn't hurt the plant and the bee won't get to it.

    That is the exact bee and that's how the leaves look. It even looks like the same kind of plant. I'll see if I can get a picture in the morning. It took about 3 seconds for it to shear off a piece of leaf and fly off with it.

    If they're the same bees Scott was looking at, he said that while they can sting, they really aren't too interested in you if you let them do their thing. I have a pretty bad phobia of bees, but I have absolutely found this to be true with this particular bee. It'll chase me away if I get right up next to it, but it doesn't even follow, just goes back to what it was doing. It's kind of like having a buddy.

    So I will leave it alone, and I'll leave the plant there as long as it's alive... maybe even get another if it goes. I really wanted a climber, but I do also like the idea of helping foster a kind of bee that's not doing well as long as it's going to otherwise leave me the fuck alone. If it happens to pollinate some of my plants for me, that would be a nice thank-you.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    Arch
  • DecomposeyDecomposey Registered User regular
    Well in that case, what are you going to name the bee?

    Before following any advice, opinions, or thoughts I may have expressed in the above post, be warned: I found Keven Costners "Waterworld" to be a very entertaining film.
    ElvenshaeArchArbitraryDescriptorTNTrooper
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited May 2017
    I will have to think about that, but I'll get back to you.

    In the meantime here is a video. It took me a couple tries to get something decent, and by that point she made it known that I was entirely too interested and told me to buzz off.



    I also figured out where she's going; it's a branch of that pine tree you can see in the background.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    ArchZilla360CambiataDarkPrimusShadowfireMayabirdzepherinElvenshaeCalicachromdomHappylilElf
  • ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    I think I'm going to name the bee Arthur. I always liked her.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    RingoArbitraryDescriptorMayabirddispatch.oMaguanozepherinElvenshaeMichaelLCchrishallett83CalicaDaenrisMagic PinkL Ron HowardTofystedethInquisitor77Skeithchromdom
  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    @Liiya
    #beefacts!

    And bee friends! This is really cool!

    LiiyaElvenshae
  • BarrakkethBarrakketh Registered User regular
    Rollers are red, chargers are blue....omae wa mou shindeiru
    LovelyzepherinElvenshaeArchdispatch.oMichaelLCShadowfireceresCalicaTofystedethCambiataFry
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Update: I haven't seen Bee Arthur again in a while.. we had a few days with some pretty heavy gusts of wind and I think she may have gone off with them and left me. Just like the real Bea Arthur. :(

    I knew I should have named her Beety White. :(

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    DevoutlyApatheticElvenshaeRingoArbitraryDescriptorL Ron Howardphysi_marcLovelytynicAngelHedgieShadowfiredavidsdurionszepherinTofystedethCambiataInquisitor77Skeith
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited May 2017
    Welp, Bee Arthur is back, which I'm happy about. My parthenocissus is back and better than ever, and I'm no longer concerned about her hurting it.

    Problem: She seems to be building her nest on my deck. I would have no problem with this; it's getting to be a million degrees here for the summer, so the door will need to be closed anyway, but

    1) She chases me back inside so I can't water, and if I can't water religiously every day she isn't going to have anything to cut up
    2) I think, from where she seems headed when she flies, her chosen real estate is a small hole in my bag of potting soil.

    I have no idea what to do about this. The watering thing isn't that big a deal, and if I get through today's watering I can do it when it's dark out if I need to. Really the bigger problem is that I need my potting soil, and if that's really what she's doing then I'll either end up destroying her nest or end up unable to use it. Since I can't offer my plants a lot of space and it's so hot I sprang for the good stuff, and I would really like to use what I bought. I looked at the bag after seeing her yesterday and I couldn't find signs of the nest so maybe she's going somewhere else, but there isn't really anything else appropriate for it on that part of the deck. I have other things she could use, she's just chosen the worst possible place on a day when I have so much transplanting to do.

    I don't suppose anyone here has experience with relocating a bee's nest..

    edit: She has a friend now and neither of them want me out there at ALL.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    ShadowfirePLA
  • So It GoesSo It Goes We keep moving...Registered User, Moderator mod
    so you don't know that the nest is in the potting soil right? Why not just close up all the holes on the bag for a few days?

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    If it's in there I don't want to disturb it. I don't feel good about killing good pollinators. My husband says I should just get another bag and keep it in the laundry room and let that one go, if I'm very concerned about disturbing a nest.

    The second bee is either a different kind or really, really dumb. She's a little smaller, and she keeps going after the moonflower leaves over and over and over... but she isn't strong enough to get through them. Maybe a male? It's also a bit more aggressive and spends more time around the door.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    Hmmm. I'm going to suggest that at this point you have two options, one of which involved disturbing and maybe destroying her nest and the other is surrendering your porch.

    Either put the soil in a sealable plastic tub sometime either when you see the bee out foraging, or the porch is theirs.

    In the grand scheme of things killing or displacing one pollinator isn't going to ruin even the local ecosystem of your porch, and you get peace of mind.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Yeah. Well, I'm not going to kill them. :P But honestly, the fact is that they likely won't be around for much longer this season. It's already getting to the point where the bees sort of die down or otherwise disappear, because it is just so hot. It was 101 degrees today, and it's not even June. While you see bees sometimes in the spring, by summer they're pretty much gone.. you just don't see them flying around. I'm not sure any of my plants are going to make it through the heat no matter what I do.

    WASPS, however, seem to have no problem. Wasps are such assholes, and as far as I can tell have no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    zepherinRingoPLA
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    ceres wrote: »
    Yeah. Well, I'm not going to kill them. :P But honestly, the fact is that they likely won't be around for much longer this season. It's already getting to the point where the bees sort of die down or otherwise disappear, because it is just so hot. It was 101 degrees today, and it's not even June. While you see bees sometimes in the spring, by summer they're pretty much gone.. you just don't see them flying around. I'm not sure any of my plants are going to make it through the heat no matter what I do.

    WASPS, however, seem to have no problem. Wasps are such assholes, and as far as I can tell have no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
    Ceres we can be friend's over our mutual dislike of wasps. Ever since they were crawling through my vents, I have a damned vendetta against them.

    On the plus side it did hasten my purchase of a bug zapper/tennis racket, which I use to kill wasps flies mosquitoes and centipedes.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    See that is literally the stuff of my own personal hellish nightmares. I don't even know what I'd do. I think I'd just leave all my stuff behind and move and move away forever.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    zepherinLovely
  • ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor Registered User regular
    edited May 2017
    ceres wrote: »
    Yeah. Well, I'm not going to kill them. :P But honestly, the fact is that they likely won't be around for much longer this season. It's already getting to the point where the bees sort of die down or otherwise disappear, because it is just so hot. It was 101 degrees today, and it's not even June. While you see bees sometimes in the spring, by summer they're pretty much gone.. you just don't see them flying around. I'm not sure any of my plants are going to make it through the heat no matter what I do.

    WASPS, however, seem to have no problem. Wasps are such assholes, and as far as I can tell have no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

    The paper wasps around my house are pretty chill. I had a nest right next to my front door knob for a long time, until a forgivably concerned visitor smashed it.

    I don’t know if they're inherrently docile, or if my merciless chemical attacks on the nests of any that stung me have purged that impulse from the local population. Either way, we have not broken the cease fire in years.

    Re: Soil. I vote for surrendering the bag if only so you can take pictures of the nest after it has been vacated.

    ArbitraryDescriptor on
    cereskimePLA38thDoe
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Did that visitor immediately regret their actions?

    Yesterday I went out to do some quick deadheading and pick a couple of the small zucchini I tend to get, and I was ready for sprint for the door but no warning buzzing came. So I finished up what I was doing at a reasonable pace and went back inside.

    The lack of bees probably has something to do with the fact that it was 106 degrees in the shade yesterday. I tried to look around without touching anything in case doing so would cause an angry bee to launch itself directly into my face, but I really couldn't see any evidence of a nest. I know they burrow, but even by the little hole in the bag I didn't see anything. Today if I can I'll get a closer look, and see if I can get a picture. If she wasn't making a nest, I have no idea what she was doing flying back and forth from there.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor Registered User regular
    He said sorry, but his empathy for the wasps themselves was in doubt.

    zepherin
  • MadicanMadican No face Registered User regular
    Wasps are officially kill-on-sight for me after a particularly awful summer camping trip that ended with my body as 1/2 road burger (unrelated to the wasps).
    The campground was so infested with wasps that the only way to eat any kind of food without the wasps claiming it was to sprint around camp trailing a huge cloud of wasps who all wanted your hot dog. We created wasp traps with two liter soda bottles and within hours the sheer number of corpses prevented any more from falling into the sticky drink.

    camo_sig2.png
    PSN: AuthorFrost
    mageofstorm.png
    zepherinPLA
  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    ceres wrote: »
    Did that visitor immediately regret their actions?

    Yesterday I went out to do some quick deadheading and pick a couple of the small zucchini I tend to get, and I was ready for sprint for the door but no warning buzzing came. So I finished up what I was doing at a reasonable pace and went back inside.

    The lack of bees probably has something to do with the fact that it was 106 degrees in the shade yesterday. I tried to look around without touching anything in case doing so would cause an angry bee to launch itself directly into my face, but I really couldn't see any evidence of a nest. I know they burrow, but even by the little hole in the bag I didn't see anything. Today if I can I'll get a closer look, and see if I can get a picture. If she wasn't making a nest, I have no idea what she was doing flying back and forth from there.

    Could be she just went somewhere else afterwards that you didn't see. Or further into the bag. Or behind the bag.

    Also, apparently these types of bees will die off in about 6 weeks, so at that point if you don't see her anymore I think you're safe to reclaim your soil?

    Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    edited May 2017
    ceres wrote: »
    See that is literally the stuff of my own personal hellish nightmares. I don't even know what I'd do. I think I'd just leave all my stuff behind and move and move away forever.
    We moved for other reasons but that was a big motivator, but I was seeing dead and injured wasps daily. I had put copper screens on the vents, and I think that did the trick, I eventually saw where the wasps were getting in as I was leaving, and it looked like they made a nest in my ceiling between the 3rd floor deck and 2nd floor ceiling, past the door frame. How would I even kill that?

    zepherin on
  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    Burn down the house?

    ElvenshaeBliss 101ceresfurlionkimePLA
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Burtletoy wrote: »
    Burn down the house?

    And never look back.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    furlionBliss 101
  • CalicaCalica Registered User regular
    Madican wrote: »
    Wasps are officially kill-on-sight for me after a particularly awful summer camping trip that ended with my body as 1/2 road burger (unrelated to the wasps).
    The campground was so infested with wasps that the only way to eat any kind of food without the wasps claiming it was to sprint around camp trailing a huge cloud of wasps who all wanted your hot dog. We created wasp traps with two liter soda bottles and within hours the sheer number of corpses prevented any more from falling into the sticky drink.

    :bigfrown: :bigfrown: :bigfrown: :bigfrown: :bigfrown: :bigfrown: :bigfrown:

    Jedoc wrote: »
    The GOP cares about babies until they're born, soldiers until they're in need of care, and families until they interfere with stockholder dividends.
    SkeithElvenshaeSiskazepherinLovelyceresMan in the MistsFryBarrakkethBobble
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited June 2017
    Tie hotdog pieces to a string, get a bucket and wedge the handle up in carrying position. Hang the hotdog strings an inch apart over the mouth of the bucket. Put a couple teaspoons of dish soap in in a few inches of water. You'll have to empty the bucket once in a while.

    dispatch.o on
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    ew

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    Lovely
  • PLAPLA The process.Registered User regular
    Wasps have very straightforward character. Look for food. Also wood. Fight along the way.

    SiskaBliss 101Ringo
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    PLA wrote: »
    Wasps have very straightforward character. Look for food. Also wood. Fight along the way.

    That's the reason the hotdog trap works so well, they will always carve off a piece too big to carry back to the hive and fall to a soapy doom. With the way a nest of wasps can decimate a hive of bees, I think of it as doing my part.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited June 2017
    Wasps are angry puss-backed scabs picked off of Satan himself.

    I found the nest, by the way. I took pictures, I just need to grab them off my phone.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    dispatch.oElvenshaeArbitraryDescriptorL Ron Howard
  • MadicanMadican No face Registered User regular
    My favorite wasp trap, the 2L bottle snare, is really simple. Empty a 2L bottle of soda, chop it horizontally about a third of the way down, pour a bit of soda into the bottom portion of the bottle, invert the top so the neck is going down and into the bottle, then sit back and wait.

    Wasps are not very good at precision flying. They will scent the soda, come down the neck into the bottle, then when they try to go back up they will decline the center and instead go for the sides. Then they'll just bump into the walls repeatedly until they get tired and drop into the soda. Once they're in the drink it's over.

    camo_sig2.png
    PSN: AuthorFrost
    mageofstorm.png
    knitdan
  • BlazeFireBlazeFire Registered User regular
    Madican wrote: »
    My favorite wasp trap, the 2L bottle snare, is really simple. Empty a 2L bottle of soda, chop it horizontally about a third of the way down, pour a bit of soda into the bottom portion of the bottle, invert the top so the neck is going down and into the bottle, then sit back and wait.

    Wasps are not very good at precision flying. They will scent the soda, come down the neck into the bottle, then when they try to go back up they will decline the center and instead go for the sides. Then they'll just bump into the walls repeatedly until they get tired and drop into the soda. Once they're in the drink it's over.

    This works great for fruit flies as well.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Easier: a soda cup from McDonald's or whatever, 1/3 full of non-diet soda, pull the straw up so it's an inch or two above the liquid. We did that in band camp for yellow jackets. I worry about actual bees, but for some reason they seem less interested in the trap.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • MadicanMadican No face Registered User regular
    Cup is easier, but we needed the 2L to handle the sheer volume of wasps and even ten of those bottle traps weren't enough.

    camo_sig2.png
    PSN: AuthorFrost
    mageofstorm.png
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