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 Post subject: Missing pollinators
PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 8:15 am 
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Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 7:30 am
Posts: 4
Location: Southlake,TEXAS
Hello all,

I live in Southlake, TX (13 yrs) and have been gardening organically for over 30 years. Though we live in what is now an urban community, our part of town is still semi-rural. My problem is that this year, after years of decline, there are NO pollinators to speak of. Haven't seen a honeybee in 4 yrs (no surprise). The once plentiful bumble bees were down to a very few last year and, so far, not one this year. Also, not even the many different types of small wasps I used to see have yet put in an appearance. Too early yet for butterflies I suppose.

I have tried to create a landscape that would attract pollinators: large amounts of honeysuckle and trumpet vine (both now blooming profusely), lots of Abelia and Eleagnus, 24 hanging baskets all with multiple types of flowering plants, lots of blackberry plants, etc, etc. In our neighborhood we all live on multi-acre lots and I don't know of anyone using one of the chemical lawn services.

My question is - - if I can't attract them naturally (presumably because they no longer exist in our area) can I "import" them to try to re-establish a population and where would I find resources? As an aside, I would love to keep a bee hive, but have been told by professional bee keepers that my neighbors would likely be less than thrilled and there could be some real risk due to the potential africanization of the hive.

Sorry for the longwinded post. Any ideas?

Reed


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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 6:03 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2003 9:10 am
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Location: Dallas,TEXAS
What do the beekeepers you spoke with do about the invasion of Africanized bees? If it were me, I would give it a shot and keep bees. The only reason I do not now is due the fact that I have yet to convince my husband that it is a good idea!

There are bees in my yard. Earlier in the year there were black/blue bees all over the Carolina Jessamine. Now there is a different kind frequenting my salvia greggi. My oregano is just starting to bloom and one of the best pictures I've ever taken of a bee is one visiting my oregano.

On 9 March I saw a hummingbird scout near where I kept my feeder all last year. My feeder was not up at the time, but I had it up the next day and have since, but I have not seen any hummers around. Could it be due to the dove nesting in the tree where the hummers would rest between feedings?

It sounds like you have a diverse selection of native plants for them to visit. I don't know what to tell you other than I fear our bee population is suffering for many reasons. That being said, I encourage you to keep bees if you are so inclined. If they become Africanized, do what you have to do, but at least give it a try.

I wish you success!




http://www.bees-online.com/AfricanBee.htm

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Nadine Bielling
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Gardener Exchange Forum

The Laws of Ecology:
"All things are interconnected. Everything goes somewhere. There's no such thing as a free lunch. Nature bats last." --Ernest Callenbach


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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 7:48 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 7:30 am
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Location: Southlake,TEXAS
Last year I talked to two beekeepers - - one in the Ft. Worth area and one in the Garland area. Both lived in urban settings and had felt the social pressure to move their hives to rural locations a number of years ago. I can't recall if either one had actually experienced africanization of any hives, but both had reduced the number of their rural hives from more than 20 to just a few. The reason both bee keepers gave was that in order to make sure a hive remained african-free, the queen had to be replaced with a queen from a certified breeder 2 (or 3?) times a year. Each of the bee keepers I talked to felt it was too costly and onerous to try to manage lots of hives given that circumstance.

I would gladly settle for bumble bees. Where have they gone?

We've got several hummingbirds coming to our feeders now, so I feel good about that.

Reed


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