Monday, October 4, 2010

October bees

I'm happy to report that even though it's October there is still bee activity.

*bee at nest entrance*
I looked around the gardens to find out what they are foraging on...
*salvia subrotunda*
*honeycomb butterfly bush*
*perennial salvia "Blue Bedder"*
I also found them on the zinnias, salvia splendens, Apricot Sprite & Apache Sunset hyssops and the first native aster blooms.  There is also some of the little blue flowers they favor: not only the blue salvia pictured, but the re-blooming lavenders, the non-stop Walker's Low cat mint and some very tiny new buds on the anise agastache.

And where they are not....
*autumn joy sedum*
*spotted horsemint (m. punctata)
The lack of traffic on the spotted horsemint isn't all that surprising.  The plants only started blooming in the past 2 weeks, much later than last year.  Even then it only attracted large wasps and carpenter bees.  Once again I'll reconsider if I'll even grow it next year.

What is really surprising is the lack of bees on the Autumn Joy sedums!  I have dozens of clumps in the gardens and the blooms this year are amazingly dark and dense.  But even when they started to bloom in mid-September there was very little traffic which quickly dwindled to none.  No bees on my sedums.  No bees at the neighbor's or my Mom's Autumn Joys (all equally splendid this year).  I've never seen sedums so gorgeous and so not loaded with all kinds of bees.  What's the deal?

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  1. I don't remember having seen a bee in awhile...

    Great pics, glad to see they're still buzzing around your yard :D

  2. Does it mean you have several bee nests in your garden? I've lots of paper wasp in my garden. There is one black insect with a orange band that looks like a bee. It has been hovering around my agave flowers everyday. How would I know if it is a bee? There are many species right?

  3. It is getting a little cool here in Niagara Falls, but I have still been seeing bees. In fact, there have been more bees this year than in the past few years. I am so glad they seem to be rebounding. We had many Master Gardener classes and demos on the reduced bee population. Bee keepers have visited and had many hives die in the past few years. So glad they are coming back.

  4. Kyna - honeybees are lazy and stay home on rainy days.

    One - I only know of one nest and that is for only one variety of bee. In the spring other types of bees are active (like mason or orchard bees). There are many species in different parts of the world. There are some links on my sidebar to bee ID sites, but are mostly for North America species.

    GWGT - The bees favor this hot dry summer - I gotta think more forage for them and less underground nest damage from rain. My native bee population this year is way up - but then, so are my plantings of forage plants. :-D Still, some milder weather would have been better for the gardener!

  5. Now that you mention it, I don't have any bees on my sedum, either. But they are in the asters, solidago, oregano, and agastache. In the spring they go insane for my dwarf sweetspire (Itea virginica 'Little Henry') and the flowering deutzia 'Pink a Boo'. Dumb name, gorgeous shrub! In the summer they were a permanent fixture in my rose of sharon.

  6. Kris, I just discovered your blog through Blotanical and am enjoying it very much.

    I have a "Garden Blog of the Month" feature on my blog where I review and recommend a few blogs each month and feature them on my sidebar. I just wanted to let you know that The Gardens at Melissa Majora is one of my featured blogs for October. -Jean

  7. TS - I wonder what it is with the fall sedums this year? Here we are, hundreds of miles apart and see the same situation: lots of bees throughout this past season, none on the sedum. Shows that we are all working in small patches in just one giant garden. :-D

    Jean - thanks so much for visiting the blog and your nice comments on your blog about mine. Gosh, I hope I can live up to such good reviews! (shouts out to garden: "Okay, everyone. Flora! Fauna! On your toes. We got company!") *grin*

  8. Hi, Kris! I found your blog through Jean P's post featuring your blog. She's a great supporter of fellow bloggers. Love your blog and the idea that you created a bee garden. I have many pollinators and am thankful. My daughter and I created "tube" houses for mason bees. No one is using them yet...maybe we made them wrong?! We'll see.

  9. Hello, Kimberly. Thanks for visiting. I've never made tubes for mason bees, though I've seen many products for making them. Good luck with yours. Keep us posted on that. :-D

  10. The honey bees finally found my sedum 'Matrona'. It must taste better than the 'Autumn Joy'.

  11. TS - I have another variety of sedum blooming now - lighter green leaves and pale lavender blooms. But it, too, is beeless this year. I'm glad your Matrona is getting some action. :-D


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