Avatar for jardimu
Jun 3, 2020 7:38 PM CST
Auburn, Alabama
I'm writing from Auburn, Alabama. Both last year and this, I noticed plenty of bees in my yard in March, and all of the plants which bloomed in March (peas, strawberries, blueberries) produced well. But I didn't see many bees in April, and the April-blooming plants (plums, raspberries) showed the classic signs of poor pollination—not much fruit and very poor quality--plus the strawberry plants abruptly ceased production in May. Peaches were a more complicated case but followed the same pattern—last year they bloomed in March and produced fairly well while this year they bloomed in April and produced poorly. By May the bees were back and the May-blooming plants (tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers) produced prolifically, and in June strawberry production picked up again.

So I'm wondering why the bees disappeared in April both years. Any ideas you'd have about this would be greatly appreciated.
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Jun 3, 2020 8:01 PM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
GROW ORCHIDS!!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
Echinacea Critters Allowed Cat Lover Butterflies Birds Region: United States of America
There have been fungal issues with thousands of hives across the country.
Bee hives are sensitive to too much rain, too much heat, vandalism, too much cold. Pick one.
I don't have a lot of honey bees myself. I am thinking of starting my own hive but I am increasing bee friendly plants in my garden.
How is your garden for attracting bees? All you have mentioned are fruits and veggies. Maybe there is not enough there to attract bees consistently.
Plants bloom early one year and late the next. Spring comes earlier some years and late the next. If you had clover, Salvias, sages, Lavender then coneflowers Monarda, Butterfly bushes, goldenrods etc. you know the old saying, you can attract more flies with honey then with vinegar. Well you can attract more bees with available pollen.
Orchid lecturer, teacher and judge. Retired Wildlife Biologist. Supervisor of a nature preserve up until I retired.
Last edited by BigBill Jun 3, 2020 8:02 PM Icon for preview
Avatar for jardimu
Jun 3, 2020 8:47 PM CST
Auburn, Alabama
Thanks for the message. I plant wildflowers in early April , but they don't bloom until May. But I do have lots of bees in March when there are no flowers blooming. I thought of starting some flowers in February in pots (so they can be brought indoors when a frost is forecast) so they would bloom in early April, and setting them close to the fruit trees and raspberry bushes.
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Jun 3, 2020 9:49 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Honey bees are wimps. If its too hot, too cold, too windy or too rainy, they stay home. They don't rise early or stay out late. How is your weather in April?

PS: Tomatoes and peppers are self-pollinating. No bees necessary.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Webmaster: osnnv.org
Avatar for jardimu
Jun 6, 2020 8:31 PM CST
Auburn, Alabama
Thanks for the message. April this year was a bit cooler than usual but still warmer than March, when I had lots of bees. I think April 2019 was about the same.
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