KC Gardens

Missing bumble bees

Q&A

Perennials in my pollinator garden are in full bloom…but not a single bumble bee has been seen yet this year. Is there anything going on in the KC area concerning bumble bees? Last year I could see 5-10 bumble bees on my purple coneflower, coreopsis, butterfly milkweed, and liatris. No butterflies to speak of either…any thoughts? - Jim -

Comments

  1. 9 months, 3 weeks ago

    Good question about the bumble bees. I do not have an answer except the main issue is loss of habitat along with all the other factors. Dennis

  2. 9 months, 3 weeks ago

    Good for you in creating a pollinator garden! I haven’t seen many bees either, although there were quite a few carpenter bees early on, before the snow in May. Butterflies seem to be late emerging also. I saw one swallowtail a few days ago, a hopeful sign.

    Dennis is absolutely spot on concerning loss of habitat (bee boxes?), so I only want to comment on those other issues.

    One factor is the indiscriminate use of pesticides, coupled with spraying at times when bees are active. Too often pesticides are applied when unnecessary, or the most toxic chemical is used when something more bee friendly would do just as well, or better yet let nature achieve its own balance.

    Another factor is our weather, a prolonged drought followed by too much rain at one time must certainly affect the bees (and butterflies too). Bees like warm weather, so perhaps as the summer progresses we will see more. Everything seems a bit late this year.

    Personally, I love to work in the garden with the bees buzzing around. Your native plants are providing a great nectar source. Keep up the good work.

    Carole Johnson County Extension Master Gardener

  3. 9 months, 3 weeks ago

    I have a butterfly garden, which usually has tons of bees and wasps buzzing around it. It includes the perennials you mentioned in your question. A couple of weeks ago I was really worried about not seeing ANY of these there! I was feeling just like you!

    I am finally seeing bumble and other bees, although not in the numbers I’ve seen in past years. I am hoping that there was a delay because of our late spring (?).

    Funny thing, I have a birdhouse mounted on a pole in the middle of this garden.
    Turns out there is a beehive right in the birdhouse! So the bees don’t even have to fly far to get to the flowers! They were right there all along, just not necessarily when I was out there!

  4. 9 months, 1 week ago

    Bumblebees have just begun to mass around my monarda since it began blooming about a week ago.

Sign in with Facebook to comment.

Copyright 2014 The Kansas City Star.  All  rights  reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten  or redistributed.