No bees in my Baltimore garden

echalmers(6bMD)June 30, 2014

This year my beautiful garden has attracted no bees, not even the native bumblebees that are usually so numerous. It is heartbreaking. Every day I go out and look for insects, and so far I have seen two butterflies, a dragonfly, one bumblebee, and two honeybees, plus a wasp or two.

Are other people having this problem? Is there anything I can do? I am wondering if the heavy rains we had or the terrible winter affected the native bees.

My plants are mostly older, and some are native--not many HD bedding plants, and the ones I did have I pulled out after reading the Friends of the Earth paper.

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I have seen bees, but now that you mention it, I really believe not as many. It may possibly be that horrid winter we had? Many things are later coming up so maybe wait and hope.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 10:33AM
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I'm up near Westminster, Maryland, and I've still got plenty of bees this year, but what I'm seeing is a bee that's recently been introduced from Europe, the European wool carder bee. I have lots of catmint and lamb's ear which they're apparently attracted to. I'm not sure how to feel about this, because I'm reading that this kind of bee can be very aggressive to other pollinators, like honey bees.

This post was edited by Schwabug on Mon, Jun 30, 14 at 17:04

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 1:42PM
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Of course, since honey bees are not native to the New World, native New World flowers are not necessarily the best for attracting them. Those flowers may be better for attracting native pollinators in particular. If you want honey bees in your garden, you want to plant a lot of single, not double flowering flowers that are sequentially in flower from earliest spring until latest frost so that the honey bees will have a constant food source in your garden. If you only have nectar and pollen sources in bloom in bursts, the bees will not be constant in your garden and may not find your garden during the time you have food resources available. They'll be busy where they've been finding food on a more long term basis.

You will also want to have a water source like a small open pond so they can get a regular drink.

Finally, where are you expecting the honey bees to be coming from? Is there a hive or habitat for a hive near by? Bees only fly so far for food. If there are no hives for them to store honey and raise brood in within a mile or so, you can have the best garden in the world for pollen and nectar and you still won't see any honey bees.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 11:57AM
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By the way, although Friends of the Earth has recently been making a big deal about neonics being used on garden plants, and pointing a special finger at Home Depot and Lowe's, 1) neonics have been used since the 1990s and widely since the early 2000s. 2) there is very little scientific evidence 3) FOE has an agenda and doesn't let facts get in the way of advancing it.

So if you had plants from Home Depot and honey bees in past years and since they haven't been doing anything differently, why would you have to rip plants out now?

This post was edited by kimka on Wed, Jul 2, 14 at 9:34

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 12:17PM
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Oddly enough I've found a lot of bees enjoying dandelions this year! There are plenty of choices of flowers around my property (NoVa) but they really seem to have taken a liking to the dandelions....not the most popular plant with humans...but seems to keep the bees buzzing :)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 7:25PM
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HotHabaneroLady(7a Central MD)

I've seen tons of bees this year in Montgomery County. In particular, I see a lot of carpenter bees. I have a large wooden deck, a large old growth tree, and many other large old growth trees in the area though, so carpenter bees are common every year.

I've also been seeing numerous very tiny bees. I'm not sure what they are called though. Maybe mason bees? In any case, they seemed to especially love my apple trees while they were flowering. I don't remember noticing so many of them in the past. Perhaps they have a new hive nearby.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 10:24AM
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I haven't seen any of my small contingent of bumblebees for at least two years now. The last Spring I saw one was the Spring I pruned some Bittersweet vine weed, forgetting I had seen a bumblebee feeding on its little purple flowers the year before. The Bittersweet flowered later, but, I fear, perhaps too late for a hungry early-spring bumblebee.

A couple of weeks ago I spotted a carpenter bee--the kind that looks like a large bumblebee, but has a shiny abdomen.

My few oriental lilies just started to bloom and are very fragrant, but no bees of any kind are visiting them, or, so far, are any other insects. My neighbors spray their lawns,


I keep telling myself that it is just that I have had to be away so much the past few year I should be able to watch for them more closely...

Here is a link that might be useful: Neonic Harms Go Well Beyond....

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 12:58AM
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kimmsr (really Grubby_AZ)

HotHabaneroLady, maybe this link might help with the tiny bees.

Here is a link that might be useful: hover flies

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 1:06AM
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If you read the study that article is based on there is so scientific data for what the author is saying. The scientific study said basically, well we saw fewer birds this year at one pond. We saw fewer birds, it must be because there were fewer insects for them to feed on. Last summer some farmers near by sprayed some neonics, so it must be the neonics that are responsible for there being fewer insects (they didn't actually measure that there were fewer insects mind you). So big conclusion in the scientific paper and then the press release leading to the media coverage you linked to: neonics are causing widespread environmental harm.

Not exactly fact-based is it?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 9:06AM
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