Sunday, June 20, 2010


During my 3-month gardening-mania marathon, I've been keeping a close eye on the bee population.

At the beginning of May, there were quite a few carpenter bees around, making little condos in the shed. The weeks went by. Once I saw a real bumblebee, but only that one sighting and never again. The heat and rains came.

For weeks I waited for the 'real' bees. Finally, in the past 3 weeks, I've seen 2 solitary bees. And only those 2. The carpenter bees are all gone. The shed is full of empty holes. I've never seen this happen before. Carpenter bees are a nuisance, but they are usually everywhere!

The plants that last year at this time were buzzing with bees are silent. What little white clover bloomed this year did not attract any honeybees.

And it's not like there isn't lots in flower for all kinds of pollinators right now. This year there are 2ce as many Johnson blue geraniums in bloom,

2ce as many Walker's Low cat mint in bloom, and a 3-foot patch of creeping sedum just ablaze with yellow flowers.

And, lest we forget, all of last year's wintersown lavender plants are in full swing

as are 5, count 'em, FIVE large stands of 3 varieties of milkweed scenting the breeze with their lovely honey-scented fragrance.

What else is blooming? Echinacea tennesseensis (Tennessee coneflower).

At least half-a-dozen hostas, 3 large spirea shrubs, garden phlox (talk about early!) and verbascum, to name a few.

Not only is the bee population nearly nothing, but I've only seen 2 wasps so far this year.

And after that early flush of red admiral butterflies, all I've got to watch are a couple of white cabbage butterflies. (They do look lovely on the lavenders.)

But really. What's happened this year? Is this local? Are any of you experiencing this same lack? How are YOUR bee/pollinator populations doing this year?

Where are they? What's happened this year?

Where are all the bees?


  1. I live near DC and my garden is full of bees, including honeybees. I understand your frustration, though. It's like hosting a party ony to discover that no one is planning on coming. Have any of your neighbors blasted their yards with insecticide? Hopefully not!!

  2. Hi TS. Welcome. One neighbor is a public golf course. That place is mostly a toxic area between the insecticide, herbicide, chemical fertilizers, etc etc. *sigh* And then there is my one neighbor to the south who gets her lawn sprayed 4-5 times a year. Yeah, it's challenging providing an oasis of forage plants for the pollinators. But things are looking up. A new post is coming....

  3. I'm so glad to see your new post with all the bee activity! I wish your neighbors wouldn't spray so much! It blows my mind when people expect nature to be sterile and bug free. If one flower or piece of produce disappeared for every bee that's killed, they might change their mind!

  4. TS - ah well, most folks think they have to conquer Nature for some reason. I prefer to be part of Nature. We do what we can. Thanks for the support! :-D


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