Latest posts by petra-vesna

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Why so few insects this year?

Posted: 18/07/2014 at 09:41

Marlow, Buckinghamshire. I too see a huge decline in bumblebees and bees amount. Earlier this year, I saw at least a few lying/dying/dead bumblebees every day during two weeks in May/June. Then a month gap seeing nothing. Now as the weather has warmed up the buzzing world is slowly appearing. Tree bumblebees, red tailed bumblebee, odd bees, hoverflies, damselflies and some other smaller one.

I lost all bee favourite plants (winter honeysuckle, aliums, thymes, hebes, lavenders and  others) due to flooding. Only chives survived and were the only one flowering and covered heavily with bumblebees. Unfortunately, I kept finding more dead underneath it then on top of it. We used to have ground mining bees but I'm afraid all drown. The amount of damselflies are the same. Spotted one or two frogs. Definitively more birds. Robins, tits, swifts, golden finches, trush... No hedgehogs anymore. ( we think we got a fox instead).

Wild flowers

Posted: 17/07/2014 at 17:02

@gillian53.  Wow! I feel encouraged now.

I'd like to report it looks better in our garden as the weather has warmed up and leek started flowering. Still not much as last years but there is a buzz life out there.

Wild flowers

Posted: 06/07/2014 at 00:07

Wildlife gardener123, what kind of soil and wildflowers do you have? How long do they flower? Do you deadhead them to prolong the flowering?

I have nice loamy/well drained soil which gets too hot and dry in summer and waterlogged in winter due to high water table. I tried corncockle (very nice but only one survived the flood), betony (never came out), wild marjoram (survived), wild thyme (rotted) mixed wildflowers (only ox daisies survived). Bumblebees, bees, adored viburnum, winter honeysuckle, daffodils, tulips, alliums, hebes. All rotted this year during 2 month flood. Snowdrops, grape hyacinths, crocuses were under water when in flowers.

Wild flowers

Posted: 05/07/2014 at 21:42

@wildlife gardener123

"Just like Lunicorn I also love to feed the bees sugar water if I find them sitting on the ground. I found one a few weeks ago lying in the grass and seemed hardly alive but, I moved it to my lavender plant and remembered an article I has read a few days earlier about finding bees and feeding them so I made it some of the sugar water mixture and it certainly did seem to enjoy it..."

I feel that what the bumblebees needed in my garden when finding them on the ground under spent chives. I can see you already mentioned the recipe (approximately two parts sugar to one part water).  How can I serve it without fear of the bees drowing in it? How long can I leave the syrup before it goes off? Many thanks for your reply.


I have found some answer on this website "". I have shortened the quote "What to do if you find a bumblebee that cannot fly?

The bumblebee is either sick, too old or too cold to fly. If it is sick or infected with a parasite then I'm afraid there is not much that can be done.

If it is cold, you can supplement the supply of nectar during the first few weeks of food emergence by putting out a mixture of 30% sugar and 70% water, the proportions do not have to be exact. This need only be done if there has been a frost or strong wind that has damaged the flowers. Put a small amount of the mixture onto a small container, e.g. the top of a lemonade bottle or the cap of a pen and put this amongst the flowers. This works very well in a patch of heather, and will be appreciated by the queens. If the temperature of the thorax falls below 30 oC the bumblebee cannot take off. During cold days you may find what appears to be an injured queen, that is a bee that is not dead but doesn't fly away. She has probably got too cold and does not have enough energy to build up heat. If you take the bee indoors and provide the sugar and water mixture the bee will soon recover and be on her way, though it is best to keep her inside if it is snowing or raining outside."

In another website someone mention how to stop sugar syrup fermenting by adding chemical Thymol, which occurs naturally in Thyme plants and Thyme honey - at low levels. Quote from by Clive: "Since thymol is the active chemical in a good many commercial Mouthwashes (eg. Colgate Plax) you should be able to prevent the syrup you are feeding to the bees fermenting (recognised by a boozy smell and in bad cases bubbles of CO2 produced),  by adding a few drops of Mouthwash to the syrup when it has been freshly made !
Then you should be able to go much longer between “throw-out and wash-up” sessions.
I would suggest adding the mouthwash dropwise, shaking or stirring as you go: and probably at a final level strong enough to give the blend a faint odour and taste of Mouthwash. 
If it still ferments, try adding a bit more !"

As I lost bee loving plants due to the flooding I wish I knew at least about the sugar syrup I could subsitute.

Wild flowers

Posted: 05/07/2014 at 10:51

Sorry, I missed the point of this thread. Wildflowers. I do agree with Green Gran message that there is not created a proper balance between leaving wild patches (to dog walkers annoyance) and keeping everything trim and prim. The council ought to support the wildlife too as there are example for society. In my opinion, they could leave some wide stripes of uncut grass at the edges (like some farmers do) for wildflowers and wildlife to survive.

 I found it difficult to create a meadow field at our place for many reasons - too rich soil, not right conditions, my boyfriend suffering from hayfever, interest clash ( I wanted to turn struggling grass patch in the front garden into a mini meadow but he wants grass) ... At least , I  try to incorporate some wildflowers in my border. Corncockles looks lovely, ox daisies, toad flaxes, Phacelias, open flowers in general. I'd like to incorporate umbrelias but we have a high water table in our garden plus loads of slugs so I am limited in choice.

Previous years we had a lot of buzz in our garden but this year I see nearly no bees. I think there might be a link with the recent flooding in UK.


Anyone knows what is this yellow-leaf plant?

Posted: 05/07/2014 at 10:25

 Is it this plant?

Anyone knows what is this yellow-leaf plant?

Posted: 05/07/2014 at 10:06

Perhaps if you could insert the photo in this post. Otherwise, It is a wild goose chase.

Anyone knows what is this yellow-leaf plant?

Posted: 04/07/2014 at 16:40

Your links do not work.

Wild flowers

Posted: 04/07/2014 at 16:23

I love the bees and butterflies so I have been trying to have at least one plant flowering at the time during the whole year. Two bumblebee species, nearly no honeybees, different type of bees, ground burrowing bees (unfortunately most likely drown during the flood) lots of hoverflies, some butterflies, robins, golden finches, song thrushes, black birds, collared doves, wood pigeons, some frogs, unfortunatelly some cats too,  keep visiting our garden. Our garden and surrounding area was flooded this year so I lost loads of bee loved plants ( the most popular spring flowering ornamental garlic, daffodils, tulips, poppies).  Plus I wonder if anything nasty during flood got in plants. When my only flood surviving chives were in flowers it was visited by many bumblebees. Far too many. I also noticed during 2 weeks every day I kept stumbling across at least one dying or dead bumblebee in my garden or in streets. WHY??? The amount rate was terrifyingly high. I wish I knew how to help them. Or collecting the dead bumblebees and send them for autopsy to find out what caused their death. Now my honeysuckles, jasmines, tracheospermums and  late planted (due to waterlogged soil) plants ( sneezeweeds, lavenders, linaria and others) are finally in flowers, but already too little bees are around. Too alarming sharp decline in numbers to my liking.

Talkback: Beekeeping

Posted: 28/08/2012 at 14:09
I love the idea too but I am also aware of how big responsibility is to look after them while they are hungry or sick. It is not a cheap hobby either. How big is a colony and how much food they need while active even in winter as I witnessed? Is there enough food for them while sharing it with other wildlife such as bumblebees and butterflies? I love watching the buzz and I try to plant plants so they flower in sequences all the year but I am aware that two-three flowering plants per month are not enough to sustain a beehive colony. Unless I could let some local beekeeper keep his/her hive for a jar or two of honey to get the experience of the pleasure and trouble before trying for real. BBA does not provide such information but it is a good start.
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Discussions started by petra-vesna

Talkback: Beekeeping

I love the idea too but I am also aware of how big responsibility is to look after them while they are hungry or sick. It is not a cheap hob... 
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