Oregon Urban Farming Collective Message Board › Where are the bees?

Where are the bees?

A former member
Post #: 2
Has anyone noticed a vast drop in the honey bee populations visiting your garden? My garden is in full bloom with chives, wisteria, rosemary, and more and there is not the frenzy of bees that I recall in past years. I know there has been a honeybee die-off, but this was the first year I have seen it in my neighborhood. I live in West Linn in a heavily wooded area. Is anyone else observing this? Is it too early for lots of bees?

Carolyn
A former member
Post #: 2
The honeybee population has never been that great where I am. I have far more hover flies and at least three types of bumble bees out now and mason bees earlier in the season. Honey bees don't seem to show up until things have gotten a lot warmer, like June. The largest activity I am seeing at this time is around the native lupines and camas lilies. I am surprised that you don't have bees on your wisteria. My brother has some honeybee activity on his which is in a very warm sunny part of his yard.
Tom

Has anyone noticed a vast drop in the honey bee populations visiting your garden? My garden is in full bloom with chives, wisteria, rosemary, and more and there is not the frenzy of bees that I recall in past years. I know there has been a honeybee die-off, but this was the first year I have seen it in my neighborhood. I live in West Linn in a heavily wooded area. Is anyone else observing this? Is it too early for lots of bees?

Carolyn

Barb L.
user 9256687
Tualatin, OR
Post #: 1
I have seen honeybees plus bumblebees on my lavender; blueberries; wisteria. I am hopeful that my organic
garden will help keep them healthy.
A former member
Post #: 1
This weekend I witnessed thousands of honey bees in my yard- truely remarkable! I have a large Big-Leaf Maple that has many hollows in its upper branches. Over the past few weeks, I've noticed a few bees buzzing around one of the holes. Then on Saturday about 11am, perhaps just when the sun was heating up the tree, thousands and thousands of bees, honey bees, emerged making a racket. They descended down into the yard and swarmed in a big vortex then moved slowly into my neighbors yard and after about 15 minutes, they were gone. I dashed inside to watch from a window safely because it was a little frigtening. I want to learn more about this!! A friend suggested the hive was dividing and splitting off. Is this possible? I haven't seen them again. I'm excited that my corn and blueberries and all my veggies will profit from them, but I'm also a little anxious about so many.

It was a little like the swallows that swarm down the school chimney in NW each year- the sky nearly goes black with their numbers!!!

So be assured there are bees in Portland! There's a large hive in NE Portland.

Julie
A former member
Post #: 4
I've seen a few more since my first post. Last summer I saw a swarm similar to what Julie described. There were hundreds on a high branch of my sequoia for several hours and then they vanished. I saw a program about killer bees and Arizona and the experts suggested that during this phenomenon, the bees are actually not aggressive. Anyone have experience with the mason bee houses to hang in your garden?
A former member
Post #: 4
Mason bees are an early season bee and are finished for the year. They are one of the first large insects to appear in spring and are usually gone by the end of May. You probably have mason bees and other solitary bees in your garden, a succession of them actually. Mason bees are followed by other solitary bees, flies, and wasps that are bee-like and that provide assistance with pollinating and keeping your garden free of pests. If you would like to retain more mason bees to help with early spring pollination, some fruit trees flower very early in spring and mason bees are just about the only thing that will pollinate them, you can create habitat for them and provide building materials. Mason bees do not require tubes or blocks although anything you provide for them may increase their numbers. I use bamboo stacked inside a yogurt jar and keep the whole thing on an outside shelf under an awning. Having a wet place where they can find clay mud helps as well.

If they like your yard they will build mud tubes in cracks and crevices or in the underside corner of outside furniture or your house. If you see 2-6" long mud things in inside corners on different parts of your house you probably have mason bees, horn face bees (a later bee) or some other beneficial insect that thinks of your home as their home.
Tim W.
user 8067322
Portland, OR
Post #: 14
I have rented Italian honeybees for the past 15 years. A couple of years ago though they completely died out. My apiarist claimed that most of the bee keepers have experienced a great demise in their colonies due from the mites that attack their bodies. This has been the problem with most of this continents bees. The 200 other wild strains of bees have now been allowed to flourish once again here in the Willamette Valley. This year I received a bumper crop on all of my tree and vine fruit as well as my brambles and blueberries. I am hoping the wild strains are not overcome by the mites also.
Tim Way
A former member
Post #: 7
Two things have been attributed to colony collapse disorder, long lived pesticides and stress caused by being moved frequently and having too much of their native food stocks taken from them. I think you could also add only getting nutrition from monoculture crops that themselves are probably starved for complete nutrition.

The biggest problem with health care in this country is our agricultural policy. We get our food from markets that are stuffed to the gills with "food like substances" which no one should ever eat. Fix our ag policy and a lot of animals including us will be a lot better off.
Tom Gibson
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