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Pollinator woes…

Post of mine up over at Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens about the distressing lack of bees in my yard this year. Something of a downer topic, but you do get the mental image of Kevin saying “Who’s your daddy?!” to a vegetable.

Meanwhile, still waiting for my latest experiment to cure. I laid the caulk on a bit too thick, and apparently it may run up to 24 hours instead of overnight to cure. Oh well, live and learn…

Originally published at Squash's Garden. You can comment here or there.

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I have a large patch of white clover that's been blooming for over 2 weeks now. It smells wonderful, but there are no bees coming, at all! I walked down to check out the wild hive, and it's busy with activity and loads of traffic in and out.

I don't understand why my clover isn't buzzing, but there ya go.

I've got an explosion of moths. Tiny ones. The air in front of the house is full of them. They come in waves, every couple of days, it looks like it's snowing tiny moths. Occasional butterflies, some wasps, no bees, occasional bumblebee. But lots and lots of little moths.

We've had nearly non-stop pissing rain in the Pacific Northwest, and it's been chilly. I have a hard time imagining the bees coming out at all in weather like this.

Isn't non-stop pissing rain sort of our thing out here, though? (Just moved to Bothell like, 8 months ago.)

Depends on where you are. Seattle just gets Eeyore weather -- continually gloomy and with frequent rain that's just enough to make you not want to go outdoors without actually accomplishing much in the way of irrigation.

Not to the extent we've been having it. (I'm in hour or so south of ya). The NW has really been feeling the climate change for the last five years or so, resulting in colder, wetter winters. Usually May weather alternates between pissing rain and gorgeous roughly fifty/fifty, not ninety/ten.

Several of the spring flowers seem to be running a couple of weeks late, and others got bit by unexpected late freezes.

Brr, yes. Our hawthorn, which is usually blooming vigorously by May 1, opened its first few blossoms on Thursday, with a few more open today. I bet around here they're just being slow to emerge. Or they've been blown into the next county.

You know, now that you mention it, I've not seen a single bee here either... and I'm in the UK with a nice wildflower garden that's normally buzzing.

Although, apparently the bee populations are down 70-90% and at least three British species have gone extinct altogether. [link] and peole still don't know what's causing it, now they're back to blaming mobile phones of all things. [apparently the mite+virus theory tested out as false.]

It's the same here in Illinois. Zero honeybees and very few bumblebees. I dont think I'll be making cherry pies this summer.

Keep in mind tho, that "honey bees" are non natives, and that native bees don't always look like "bees"... as well, find out what other native pollinating insects may be local to you.

It's about the lack of native bees I'm bemoaning--I gave up on the honeybees long since, they haven't shown up for years. The bumblebees have vanished, which is what's freakin' me out.

ah crap.
well, time to start building baku garden heads with pollinator habitats in their shnozzes?

I've seen at least one bumble bee this year, and since I'm so seldom outdoors, that's pretty good. This is in the Boston area.

Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I'm actually presenting a school project about the problem with the bees currently, which was inspired partly by your mentioning it =)

So far this year I haven't seen a single bee (can't even remember the last time I saw one, actually), wasp, or hoverfly. There's a fair amount of bumblebees out and about, and despite the unusually warm weather we've had here lately it might still be too early for the wasps and the hoverflies to be out in full force, but, yeah. :/

I squeed when I finally saw bumblebees on the property. Mason bees had made themselves known for some weeks already.

Caulking works great as a silicone mold, especially if you wash out the acetic acid before applying it to the sculpture. Rinsing the caulking out in soapy water ("enough soap for cleanup after a turkey dinner!") dissolves the acid that acts as a retarder and the mold will dry in a few hours.

I've been stressing about a shortage of bees for about fifteen years, now. So many reasons why there are hardly any left, and pesticides are up there with the mites. :(

My sister in law thinks it's interesting the population crash seemed to happen 'round about the same time the African bees were introduced.

i havent heard anyone talk about those in about 3 years.used to hear people talking about them all the time.i wonder how their populations doing?

Relatives in the Austin, Texas area report that the Africanized bees and their hybrids have pretty much completely replaced whatever bees were there to begin with.

Is it the bumblebee that burrows in the ground? We've got some weird ground-dwelling bees here as well as carpenter bees. Or are they really the same thing, just slumming it?

Bumblebees have fuzzy rear ends, and carpenter bees have shiney ones, is my understanding. Also, if you have a wooden fence or deck, you can hear the carpenter bees chewing holes in them.

It's Official: Cell Phones Are Killing Bees


Clearly, there's nothing anyone can do until "they" do something. (As in, "They should have told us!") Albert Einstein (may or may not have) warned us that without bees, human life on this planet was threatened. (To tell you the truth, I'm not so sure it would be a bad thing for the planet if humans became extinct.)

While you're at it, see Forks Over Knives; it opens today and will change the way you eat. Roger Ebert reviews it here.

I'm curious- how much work is it to simply acquire and set up honeybee hives? They may not be native pollinators, but they would (probably?) do the job, and since you control their hive, if you saw any natives coming back, and wanted to ensure that the natives could get on without competition, you could embark on some brief and terrible genocide for your own imported hive (or simply relocate it, if you can do that with honeybees?)

The resources I've looked at price queens from $50-100, ish, and the hives/frames that they live in anywhere from $100-400... but there's no real way to tell how much effort is involved.

*bzzz-bzzzz* "Ursula's coming! Quick, hide in the buttweed! On three we all jump out and say 'Suprise!'
*bzzz-uh-oh*. "ready? Um. Does anybody know how to count?"

Still no bees here, though we've finally gotten some wasps (they're black and shiny blue and I'm terrified of them) around the porch.
Something did pollinate my tomatoes though, but I'm prone to thinking it's their guard cat.

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Awesome! Congrats on the new gardening adventure--don't get discouraged by the weeds, and if you haven't alraedy read "Bringing Nature Home" and "Noah's Garden" they're AWESOME.

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