Author Topic: Why do bees gather sawdust?  (Read 1283 times)

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Offline Jen

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Why do bees gather sawdust?
« on: January 10, 2019, 02:20:57 pm »
Lovely day today cutting wood, chainsaw making sawdust. Bees are out and plunging into the sawdust, why is that?
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Offline iddee

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Re: Why do bees gather sawdust?
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2019, 02:57:04 pm »
Pollen sub.......
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
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Offline Jen

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Re: Why do bees gather sawdust?
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2019, 03:16:36 pm »
Really? Cool! I'll keep the chainsaw going the rest of the winter then  :)

But I thought it might be the bees getting wood product to make propolis?
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Offline iddee

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Re: Why do bees gather sawdust?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2019, 03:51:15 pm »
May be both. There is a lot we still don't know about the ladies.
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
― Shel Silverstein

Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Why do bees gather sawdust?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2019, 03:54:22 pm »

I heard someone ask Randy Oliver that question.  I can't quote him exactly, but basically he said that when there is a lack of pollen, the bees will collect anything that resembles pollen.  I do know that honey bees are not as picky when it comes to pollen as they are about nectar.  They don't always choose the most nutritious pollen available.   

Offline tecumseh

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Re: Why do bees gather sawdust?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2019, 06:45:48 am »
yes I would also guess both... sap is at least a part of what we call propolis and I suspect their collection of saw dust for what they think is pollen is driven by smell (olfactory sense of the bees.. < as to this latter possibility cypress chips are a favorite around here < about one a year I will get a 'swarm call' and it will be a bunch of bees attacking a bail of cypress chips...

Offline Jen

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Re: Why do bees gather sawdust?
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2019, 02:28:24 pm »
Juniper and madrone here
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Offline eltalia

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Re: Why do bees gather sawdust?
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2019, 05:32:34 pm »
G'day.
Whilst I cant say I've noticed Apis on fresh sawdust, like off the saw doing rescues, it has been seen both
Apis and our natives (Tetragonula -"Tets") forage around both sawdust and coir**, the consenus among
peers being they are chasing the cellulose as building material in propolis brews.
Most evidence comes from fosterers of Tets as those bees use propolis extensively in the colony
structure, way more than Apis.

Cheers.

Bill
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**coir

https://www.epicgardening.com/coconut-coir/

Offline rober

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Re: Why do bees gather sawdust?
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2019, 04:09:27 pm »
I use coarse planer shavings for mulch. the bees are always on it in warm weather. my 1st guess would be that they are pulling resins for making propolis.

Offline Dermot

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Re: Why do bees gather sawdust?
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2020, 07:34:04 pm »
I'm not a bee keeper, but, regarding bees and sawdust you might like to watch (it's long and techy): 

The suggestion is that bees sometimes feed on mycelium:  fungi before they fruit (create mushrooms).

Offline Dermot

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Re: Why do bees gather sawdust?
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2020, 07:36:06 pm »
The mycelium will be growing in the sawdust.  It's not the sawdust per se that the bees are interested in.
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Offline Newbee

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Re: Why do bees gather sawdust?
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2020, 07:08:13 am »
Heck, since nobody else said it: if your chainsaw is making sawdust, its time to sharpen your chain!  :D ;D :laugh:

- K