In the last week we have not seen any dead bumble bees, but a couple of days ago I noticed some that were distressed, but alive, on our drive fence.
Yesterday my husband came in asked why one part of our drive was covered in dead bees.
We recovered 12 in all.
Feeling really concerned we found the Bumblebee Conservation Trust online http://bumblebeeconservation.org/about-bees/faqs/finding-dead-bees/ There we found an explanation for our dead bees. There is a lime tree overhanging our drive and for reasons not well understood (go to the link) bumblebees keep feeding on the lime tree nectar even when it is low. They run out of energy and die. Apparently honey bees aren’t quite so foolish.
It seems, also, that finding dead bumblebees generally is not necessarily a bad a sign (so long as the numbers are not too great). Perhaps, taking the hopeful view, we have seen more because we are growing more bee-friendly plants. This hope doesn’t, sadly, apply to the plight of honey bees, whose numbers are still in free-fall.
I am incurably excited by buds – especially on plants that are new in the garden. This is (our new) peony lactiflora Solange which will be cream flushed amber/salmon pink.
This is Rhododendron Crassum – supposedly scented. We have had it for seven years. It has been cut back by frosts, failed to produce buds, or the buds have failed, but I think we are going to see something at last.
And here’s a peony that has finally opened after sulking for several years. Name?
And finally a newcomer that has thrilled me, Rosa Wollerton Old Hall, with a light scent of myrrh. I could almost eat it for breakfast.
I’m really happy that you found out what was going on re the bumblebees, Hilary ! Is it possible for you to move the lime-tree, or is it too big ? No, hang on: I’ve just realised it’s not your tree ! – overhanging your drive, you say. Will you trim it right back then ?
Peonies are glorious flowers: I imagine we have them here, but I don’t think I’ve ever laid eyes on any, alas !
And your rhodo will be particularly appreciated, eh, after all that time ?
You’re right, the lime tree belongs next door AND has a preservation order on it. Still, and hums with bees every year most of whom profit from it, so it does more good than harm.
We live at the end of an avenue of lime trees, three of which are in our garden. I have not noticed any dead bumble bees, though in the immediate vicinity of the trees the ground is overgrown.
I have noticed, though, an unusually large number of autumn leaves. They always start falling in June, but this year many more have fallen than usual – particularly flowering cherries. I wonder if you are noticing anything like this?
We have never seen this before either, but I gather that dead bumblebee events depend on certain conditions of heat etc (see the Bumblebee trust – I will try and make the link work). Also we have a new clean drive as of last year.
I agree conditions are strange this year. I’ll watch the leaf fall.
Rosa is beautiful. Very interesting on the bees. I suspect evolution won’t be kind to them. Our Lavender is now buzzing with both bumble bees and honey bees. It just took them a couple of days, thankfully. –Curt
Phew, I’m very relieved. I now plant with them in mind and have (in this last mild winter), some bee activity all through the year.