Help-Bees taking over chicken feed??

want2know

Songster
Dec 25, 2018
99
219
126
Hill Country Texas
Currently I am feeding my pullets Purina All Flock crumbles, and while I have had this problem before, in the early spring, before there are many flowers, the bees seem worse than ever and in the dead of August! They swarm and roll in the crumble?? I have killed many of them, but they just keep coming. The hens are very hesitant to get near their feed, the Rooster will, but only briefly. If they were eating as usual I wouldn't care, but I worry that they are not eating enough and will eat less desirable matter out of desperation. Any suggestions?
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
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Jul 31, 2018
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Currently I am feeding my pullets Purina All Flock crumbles, and while I have had this problem before, in the early spring, before there are many flowers, the bees seem worse than ever and in the dead of August! They swarm and roll in the crumble?? I have killed many of them, but they just keep coming. The hens are very hesitant to get near their feed, the Rooster will, but only briefly. If they were eating as usual I wouldn't care, but I worry that they are not eating enough and will eat less desirable matter out of desperation. Any suggestions?
We keep bees here and I've not noticed that they are attracted to the chicken feed.
Perhaps there is something in that particular brand of feed that attracts them.
A test would be to change feed and see if the problem stops.
 

so lucky

Crowing
9 Years
Jan 31, 2011
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SE Missouri
Does the feed have molasses in it? I think it used to, and smelled sweet. You might try distracting the bees with a dish of sugar water set up where the chickens can't get to it.
I hate to see you killing the bees, as their species is in trouble. We have practically no bees here anymore.
If they are wasps, you have my permission to kill them, lol.
 

Double Yolked

Songster
Nov 7, 2017
147
355
156
Pacific Northwest USA
I'm going to second the idea of a triggered chicken feeder. Or treadle feeder. There are a lot of feeders that will protect your birds feed from pests and sounds like you really need one.
I have a lot of bees and wasps and I have never seen them at the chicken feed. So this one's new for me. What are the contents of Purina Chicken crumbles? I'm super curious now. If they're wasps they may be after the high protein in the feed. If they're bees you may have a high sugar content.
 

want2know

Songster
Dec 25, 2018
99
219
126
Hill Country Texas
Thank you all. I am thinking of switching feed. And my husband is going to make me a feeder out of PVC and that may help. I too do not like killing them, I was hoping to deter them. We have a lot of bees, here, we are out in the country,and when there are flowers they leave the feed alone, but it has been so hot the flowers have dried up .
We have a big hive in an old Oak tree out on the wild side of our property.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,491
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Holts Summit, Missouri
Try wetting feed so it does not give appearance of pollen. If I am correct their interest in feed will stop immediately.

This not time of year I expect them to be short on pollen. Somebody have a large apiary nearby? Like more colonies than landscape can support. Beekeepers I see often do not have a well developed concept of carrying capacity as it relates to honey bees.
 

NAA60512

Chirping
Mar 22, 2017
37
74
93
Peculiar, Missouri
DW keeps bees. This is the time of year of the "summer nectar dearth" where nectar is scarce (although the Goldenrod is coming on about a month early) so bees are looking for alternative sources of food. The summer dearth can be devastating to a honey bee colony. The dearth hits when the colony population is high and not too long after we've pulled our first honey. The one-two punch can kill a colony if we take too much honey (we don't) and they cannot find food. Tiny particles of chicken feed will do in a pinch.

The local carrying capacity is fairly small in our semi-rural area. It used to be "the country" but things have certainly changed. The turf grass monoculture of pristine, weedless lawns is a wasteland for pollinators. Photo is DW and friend pulling honey in early July.

<edit> We really haven't experienced dearth in our area so far this year. It has been a very wet summer. We still have clover up in places. </edit>
67280831_10218762819558063_6913547730396643328_n.jpg
 
Last edited:

lcwmt

Songster
Jun 16, 2017
387
878
214
N Central MT
We keep bees as well as chickens (or they keep us <G>).
As noted by NAA, above when the pollen sources are scarce bees will eat the chicken feed, actually the dusty parts. It's a pollen substitute for them. Please don't kill the bees! Instead, switch feeder styles as others have suggested. Or, change feed types: go for pellet feed instead of crumbles. You will still have some bees but perhaps not as many.
In my observation, chickens will not attack or eat the bees and bees do not bother the chickens. Also, the bees will not attack you under these circumstances. You might get stung if you step on one but they are not defending anything, just trying to feed.

This bee hunger won't last too long. Meanwhile you are helping out!



PS for those of us who don't like seeing bees on the chicken water, add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar - the chickens like it, the bees do not.
 

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