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28/05/2013 at 22:42

I know it has been a hot topic recently in the press and with wildlife associations, but I have noticed a distinct lack of bees this year. Our front lawn is filled with self-set aconites which bloom yellow in spring, followed by another flower which is blue in late spring. As normal the early spring flowers attracted bumble bees, but I started to find them crawling in the grass trying to fly, but not able to take off. All they could manage was a weak whir of the wings that took them no where. The following day they would be dead on their sides in the grass. I have found similar bee behaviour followed by dead bees in my back garden, always the bumble bee. I have a geum phaem that attracted bees galore last year, but have not seen one on it this year. The aquilegia has only been visited by two lone bumble bees, who have obviously gone mad for it's pollen. Without going in to all my flowers, the garden is blooming at the moment but there is a distinct lack of buzz. In fact there are not the hoverflies I had last year either. It is quite erie, the garden is in bloom, but their is a distinct lack of vibration, a distinct lack of flying life. I am a completely organinc gardener, have never used chemicals on anything, so I am sure I am not killing them off. The only bees I have seen are a few solitary and mason who have kindly pollinated my strawberries. I just wondered if anyone else out there has noticed a lack of buzz in their gardens?

28/05/2013 at 22:51

I feel the same Pebble Garden.

I even had a bumble bee nest two years back in a border that was invaded and destroyed by the cuckoo bee. Last year my dad's apple tree got no apples at all because the spring was so wet and cold.

I think many factors are involved in the decline of bees beyond those currently being discussed. And I would support any Government sponsored program that gave free bee hives to urban residents.

I've seen only three bees so far this year, three butterflies, a couple of bee flies and no hover flies or other insects as yet and I'm greatly concerned about it actually.

28/05/2013 at 22:52

We had a good few earlier on PG but it's a bit quiet now. I've been blaming the weather

29/05/2013 at 17:14

I think it's the weather. We do have bees in the garden but not as many as usual. Honeybees don't like to fly when it's too cold, or when it's windy. Bumble bees are less fussy (maybe their furry coats are warmer!)

We had heavy blossom on our apple trees but it won't surprise me if the crop yield is low, because of lack of pollination.

29/05/2013 at 18:50

It is worrying.  I hand pollinated all my fruit trees this year just in case and can see young fruit now developing.  Luckily they are all on dwarfing rootstock so I can reach the flowers!  In parts of South West China, they have to hand-pollinate all of their full size fruit trees as over use of pesticides and destruction of habitat killed all of the wild bees several years ago.

29/05/2013 at 19:44

They are probably in the hive during cooler weather. They will return if and when it gets warmer.......numbers build up in hive to maximum at end of June/early July.

Better weather forecast at weekend

29/05/2013 at 20:03

Hope so.  Last year on my daily walk to school the lavender plants used as border edging for some of the bungalows was FULL of bees, on a couple of occaisions had to tell my little boy to be careful.  This year, I've not seen one bee on it.  I'm hoping it's just down to the grotty weather at the moment, and when the sun comes out, they will be back.  It doesn't seem like summer without cricket on the radio (not that I understand a word of what they're blethering on about) and bees buzzing when you're enjoying a lazy moment in the garden.

29/05/2013 at 20:40

Do you mean you don't know you silly mid on from your slips MMP? Tut Tut! 

Very few bees here too. There was a good 'bee bit' on Beechgrove this week.

30/05/2013 at 13:11

yes, the bee situation is a concern. last year our plum tree and damson tree only gave us a small yeild but the year before the damson tree was weighted down with the fruit. this year though, i did notice that not many bees were around when the trees were in blossem and then the wind came and the blossem was gone, so not very promising again.

however, my most favourite place to sit in my garden is in the front corner which is covered with the most beautifully scented clematis, which is out in full bloom during May. i sat there with my breakfast yesterday and was convinced that there must be a bees or wasps nest somewhere in it as the buzzing was so loud. it was so full of bees and hovers it was amazing. but i did notice that there were no bumble bees present, so i must take note when i do see one.

my grand-daughter and her partner live in north yorkshire and he used to work for a bee keeper up there. she bought him the full bee keeping kit for xmas and it has now arrived, so hopefully, i will be receiving some home produced honey very soon. will let you know more when it arrives. yummy.

31/05/2013 at 20:07

Thanks for all your comments. Interesting to find that some of you have noticed a difference in bee numbers from last year too.  I had thought iniatially that the lack of bees may have been due to cold weather, but it did not explain them dying in the garden. It was fairly warm last weekend and when I found a dead bumble bee in a Tulip flower, I thought this was more than the cold weather. It has been really warm today and for the first time I had two bumblebees in my back garden at the same time, but that hardly constitutes a good number. On a walk, I saw a bumblebee on it's back, legs striving in the air. Obviously another one dying. I definately think there is something wrong and it is not just the cold weather keeping them indoors out the cold.

31/05/2013 at 20:26

I have a laburnum out now. Usually it's alive with bees, you can hear the buzzing from some distance away. This year, almost nothing

01/06/2013 at 09:03

Hi All,

I keep honey bees and many beekeepers are reporting winter losses of about 60% of their hives. The issues affecting the honeybees may well have also affected other types of bees.

We've been luckier than most and managed to bring through 11 of our 13 hives ... and all are now building up nicely. I'm also seeing plently of bumbles ...especially on the lamiums ..... so here's hoping for a great summer so that all the bees can make up for lost time!

01/06/2013 at 11:03

Morning All

First time I've ever written on here but just had to, as I share the same concerns regarding the bees, or rather lack of bees in my garden this year.

My beautiful and huge French Lavender is fully out now and is ALWAYS full of bees, buzzing away and this morning I saw only one. Have several other different varieties not out yet, also.

Yesterday was much the same, maybe 2 or 3 seen, but my husband and I are worried too about their lack of presence.

As we have a young puppy and older dog, the door is always open.We have had several flying indoors and much as we try and catch them and gently encourage them back onto a nice pollen-laden flower, don't really know what happens to them after that. Others have been found dead or very nearly dead, also; we try and rescue them if possible.

It's all so sad that this is happening and not sure that it is the cooler weather, because yesterday pm was quite warm and sunny but still scarcity of bees and other pollinators for that matter.

01/06/2013 at 12:29

The bumblebees were very late coming out of hibernation this year. We may see more as the season goes on once nests are established, but it was bad last year as well so am not hopeful.

01/06/2013 at 14:48

I often wonder if spraying of chemicals in the area has any bad effects on our pollinating friends. We dont use anything hut neighbours might and the council was out spraying the grass verges with a bright green substance 3 months ago. I stopped my car and questioned it and they looked at me like I was from the moon. It cant be doing any good tho.  When it reaches trajic measures we will hear the usual phrase , well we must learn from this,. 

Too latr. Fingers crossed our buzzie little friends will soon make an appearance.

01/06/2013 at 17:30

My laburnum is buzzing today. Not up to the standard of some years but improving

01/06/2013 at 17:47

Bees buzz, buzz, buzzing all over my borage

01/06/2013 at 19:25

Great to hear that some gardens are buzzing a bit more today; I stood and watched my lavender earlier this afternoon and there was one small bumble, then shortly after that 2 more of the same and then a larger more stripey bumble, totalling 4 at the same time! A record so far this year...

However, they were not stopping long on any flowers, just taking a look and buzzing off to another!!

01/06/2013 at 21:42

am worrying too may be nuts right everything being late has a knock on effect maybe its that i was in the garden today for a few hours not one did i see very scary

02/06/2013 at 08:51

I don't think domestic gardeners and allotment holders should be blaming themselves too much for the lack of bees. My husband, a beekeeper, is pretty convinced that it's a combination of cold and starvation that has killed so many colonies this last winter. For what it's worth, he was very attentive to his bees and his colonies all survived, although some are not strong.

As regards spraying and pesticides, the amounts used by gardeners are tiny compared with what's sprayed on the fields and verges etc. We're pretty sure that the weather is the biggest factor here - it's been such a cold, wet year with a late spring and consequent lack of forage when the bees did venture out.

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