Where are the bees??

gromitsmom(6b)May 10, 2008

Have any of you noticed the lack of bees? It's almost frightening. I have a flowering crabapple that's in full bloom right now, and there's not a bee in sight. I was just out there, in the middle of a beautiful day, and no bees. In past years, there were so many of them on that tree, you could hear the buzzing twenty feet away.

I'm allergic to bees, so when the crab blooms, I stay away from that side of the house. I've paid attention to the bees in past years. I can't believe this. I'd heard on the news about the trouble the bees were having, but it hit home today. Wow.

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Bees are disappearing worldwide at an alarming rate. It's called colony collapse disorder.

Here is a link that might be useful: Straight Dope on CCD

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 10:49PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

As noted above honey bees are experiencing a crisis. An article linked below discusses bumblebees as being more important now that there is a decline in honey bees.

Here is a link that might be useful: Article on bumblebees

    Bookmark   May 11, 2008 at 11:28AM
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When the pear and plum tree were in bloom, I noticed a lot of native bees busy in the trees. The natives will probably have to take over the job.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 5:27PM
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Yes, it is a scary situation. Without bees, a critical amount of our worldwide food supply (fruits, nuts and vegetable crops) disappears. I remember as a child seeing the fruit trees buzzing so loud with bees, that you could hear them a block or two away. Not any more.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 3:09PM
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I just became aware of this issue too - it is scary. I've not seen any bees this year either :( - am hoping the butterfly/hummingbird flower seeds I've planted attract them as it did a few years ago...

Here is a link that might be useful: Save the Bees: What you can do

    Bookmark   May 26, 2008 at 6:44PM
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Your fears are premature I think. CCD has happened before and will happen again. Events like this have been on record for over one hundred years. This time there is a media that needs a circus. Have you noticed that the price of honey has not skyrocketed? Colonies are collapsing here and there. No reason has been found. That is in part because two bee keepers in the same area are usually not affected the same. It seems sporadic. Some bee keepers lose many hives while others lose none. It is possible that many factors such as unusual weather patterns are stressing colonies to the point of collapse. But it is likely that this is just another in a series of downs on a cycle that we are just getting to know. I think a yellow alert is all that is necessary.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 6:30PM
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i second the calming words by brother skooby. my neighbor about 75 yrds away has a hive in her back yard. i have a pond in mine and about a dozen fruit trees and flowing pears. i have seen maybe 6 honeybees foraging or coming to the pond for a drink.

why? the weather has been cold. honey bees do not fly when there is rain, threat of rain, no sun or below 50 degrees. you will see them in warmer weather. somehow, my pear trees are full of little pairs and many of them need a pollinator so some bees must be out. the last two springs have been cold.

as far as hive collapse goes she had two hives two years ago and when spring came, one was empty. and the other which was 2 feet away was fine. likely the queen died and the honey store ran out the the hives combined. sometimes the hives just die or leave. she was not even concerned. she said it was normal to loose hives. she says it is overblown and people are freaked but nothing really seems to be different, just the media hype. granted, neither of us are experts past out own yard. remember the killer bee invasion that was such the news item 10 years ago? what happened? media bordome? we are the only country that is concerned about africanized bees. they are the bees of choice in brasil. the killer bee scare was actually a smear campaign against the guy who introduced them and beekeeping to brasil where the european honeybee be cannot live. he apposed the military government and they destroyed him in the media for "bringing the monster killer bees" to the west. in brasil they don't even use the term if they have even heard it. the father of the brasilian honey industry was made a villian in the english media by the brasilian goverment to punish him. inside brasil he is like johnny applseed. sorry tangent.

this year my neighbor's hive swarmed and divided and she was able to capture it for me. so the hive that was lost was replaced.

the biggest threat to honeybees and native bees is what is rarely talked aboutpeople. insecticide and loss of habitat. the habitat for honeybees is the farm and orchard or high in a tree. if the swarm shows up in your tree, somebody calls the fire department who calls the local beekeeping society. if they cannot capture the swarm the hive is killed. i have seen it happen 3 times in the past 10 years in my neighborhood. the suburbanite is very hostile to the honeybee. even those who clain to love them. if you use any insecticide on you yard you are a bee killer. food is taken back to the hive and shared. you can kill the queen of a hive two miles away by spraying your roses. with the farms farther and farther away and the orchards giving way to suburbs with streets named after fruit trees, there goes the bees too. if you don't have somebody within two miles of you with a hive, don't expect to see a single bee. if you are truely concerned, planting flowers and making water features won't help if the hive is 3 miles away. you need to create habitat. most are not willing to have a social bee like the honey bee take up residence in their back yard with their mother and 30,000 of their siblings. (i can tell you from experience, it is no big deal to do it though. bees bee line out of the yard and are very docile unless you kick the hive. you only give up about 6 feet of your yard.) carpenter/solitary bees are very easy to attract. take a board and drill holes all over in it and hang it about 4' from the ground and you will have bees in a day and they are mostly stingless or too small to sting if that concerns you. you can also have a bumble bee house. a bumble bee nest has about only 15-20 bees. i am trying to get some to move into my yard right now. nothing is more fun to have in the garden than a big fat bumble bees. you can by many different kinds of bee houses online or instructions to make you own. it is very common in england for gardens to have bee houses. don't know why you don't see them here. honeybees are one of a few hundred species. we probably have a few dozen local bees. if you give them a habitat, you will have bees. lamenting the absence of honeybees is like lamenting the lack of cows in your neighborhoodÂhoneybees are domestic animals. before the cows were here there were buffalo, deer, elk. the niche can be filled with local species if you bring back their habitat. local species do not live in mowed kentucky bluegrass and rototilled gardens, they need a safe place to live. if you want pollinators in your yard, honeybee keeping is not the way to go, nor are bumble bees as neither will forage within a stone throw of the hive/nest. solitary bees will. my neighbors bees are kept under a cherry tree which has had on 2 cherries in 5 yearsÂthe bees won't forage in it. a social bee house looks like a bird house and will have enough bees (15) to keep you in apples and pears.

bees are very interesting to me. the more i learn the more is see the problem in is urbanization, loss of habitat and un irresposible and uneeded use of poison in our yards. not climate change, pollution or diseaseÂhoney bees have see worse over the last few hundred thousand years. if you know a beekeeper that lives close to you, thank them, they do us all a favor. if you like honeybees, get a hive. the local association is very supportive to backyard beekeepers and hives are not as expensive as you might thinkÂthe shipping is 1/3 of the cost.

but most of all don't worry, just be conscious and do your best to not to be part of the problem but part of the solutionÂstop using pesticides if there is an alternative.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 10:01PM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

Kendal or anyone who knows -- do the systemic insecticides for roses or other flowers pose a danger to bees? These are things like Ortho "Rose Pride" that you put in the soil as a fertilizer/insecticide combo and the rose takes the chemical up into its stems and they become poisonous to aphids and such. Do these chemicals affect the nectar in the flower?

Also, if you use an insecticidal soap (or even dish soap) to spray aphids, I'd assume that's much safer for bees, especially if you avoid spraying directly on any bees. Am I right?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 2:54PM
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I don't know about the first question, but insecticidal soaps work by coating the exoskeleton and drying the insect out. I think it has to be sprayed directly on the insect to have any effect. I've used it on aphids, and it seems to do a real number on them.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2008 at 3:24PM
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snowdogmama(high mountain desert Zone 5)

If you want to help the bees, stop worshipping your grass. I see lawn companies every day of the week, spraying pesticide on the grass. Just listen to the ksl garden show on saturday mornings. There will be at least 6 calls with people wanting to know what insecticide to spray on their grass for nightcrawlers, pill bugs, spiders. We are our own worse enemy.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 12:23PM
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'insecticide to spray on their grass for nightcrawlers'

That's hilarious! Hmmm. Something seems to be affecting the intelligence of the local population of homo sapiens. 'Nothing makes a healthy soil like killing everything that lives in it'.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 11:02AM
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sorry stevation, it has been a while since i logged in.

not possitive on the systemic poison showing up in the necatar, but my guess would be yes.

dishsoap in a 20 gallon sprayer with some good pressure has always worked for me. have you tried lady bugs? a bag of lady bugs, a lady bug house and some attractant would probably be a cheaper long-term solution than the constant buying and applying of poison.

this is my thought on systemic poinsons, they are poisonous. i know you have apples and eat them. who knows where the poison ends up after it enters the ground water. if you eat anything in your yard, spend any time outdoors or have children or animals that do, i would avoid poison and chemicals of any kind. i personally only keep pellets to kill turf destroying insects and only use it when and if a have a problem and only on the affected area. i try soaping the area first. i only have to apply something once every few years it seems. my neighbors apply a few times a season or have lawn services. they have more problems than i do. i think the indescrimenant killing of all insects good or bad causes more problems in the end than lettling them find a natural balance. aphids and carpenter ants seem to be the exception and need to be addressed. i always try to start with the light arms before dropping an atom bomb on the yard. right now i am battling aphids on the artichokes. i just blast them with water when i water the garden. i plan to eat them, so won't use anything stronger than dish soap, but have not needed that yet.

good luck.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 2:31PM
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Hi fellow Rosarians,

I've been growing roses, mostly hybrids, for 30 years and do love them.

However I was part of the problem with the bees when I used rose food containing imidacloprid. I recently went organic and have a lot to learn apparently. My rose growing good friend who uses the Bayer systemic with imidacloprid has vases full of beautiful roses . . . mine languish unless I give them almost daily care. But . . . he's killing the bees and I'm not.

Unfortunately, he lives only a mile away and bees fly three miles for nectar.

Also, did you know that air pollution kills the scent of flowers and reduces their range of aroma by one half so if you permit big biomass burning incinerators or energy biomass burners near by . . . the bees will have a much harder time finding nourishment.

See these studies.


Mar 29, 2012 - 3 New Studies Link Bee Decline to Bayer Pesticide ... The latest research will renew pressure on the EPA to reconsider its registration of Bayer's products. ... With all the to-do about the disappearing honeybees, not much has been written about ..... Open a new tab and lookitup on
wikipedia or something.

Best of luck saving our bees and roses. My wife says get rid of them if they don't look good . . . I'm working on an organic solution and would love the best tips I can get.

William Blackley, MD

    Bookmark   July 3, 2013 at 10:16AM
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