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Are there any gardeners on the forum from the Pacific NW? Have you noticed a shortage/lack of bees this year? My tomato plants look big and lush, full of blossoms, only two small tomatoes I can see on EIGHT plants!! Squash plants doing nothing. Pumpkins either. I visited a garden statuary place last week; the owner also has many lavender plants. He pointed out the total lack of bumble bees, where he said there usually are thousands. There were some honey bees buzzing around them. His theory was that he felt they had drowned when we had some 20+ days of rain in a row as they were starting to emerge. My two gardening neighbors have noticed the same thing. The blueberries came on strong, but they were pollinated earlier, probably by the mason bee. Just wondered how other gardens are doing in the PNW. I find it a bit worrisome. I look forward to those home grown tomatoes!
 

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Are there any gardeners on the forum from the Pacific NW? Have you noticed a shortage/lack of bees this year? My tomato plants look big and lush, full of blossoms, only two small tomatoes I can see on EIGHT plants!! Squash plants doing nothing. Pumpkins either. I visited a garden statuary place last week; the owner also has many lavender plants. He pointed out the total lack of bumble bees, where he said there usually are thousands. There were some honey bees buzzing around them. His theory was that he felt they had drowned when we had some 20+ days of rain in a row as they were starting to emerge. My two gardening neighbors have noticed the same thing. The blueberries came on strong, but they were pollinated earlier, probably by the mason bee. Just wondered how other gardens are doing in the PNW. I find it a bit worrisome. I look forward to those home grown tomatoes!
Last year was like that for us but we had a watering shortage too so the plants were small and not much fruit. This year my garden is doing great, so northern California seems to be ok with bees. Odd thing though now that you mention it, I haven't seen many bumblebees at all. I have seen wasps and yellowjackets and tons of carpenter bees. Maybe the bees all moved a bit south of you?
 

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My zucinni (sp) did not set the first fruit this year. Beautiful plants with blooms but no fruit. Tomatoes and corn did great and I am going to have to mow down the green beans--really tired of picking them. But now that you mention it I have not seen any bumblebees either. Usually my Althea bushes are covered with them and I have to be real careful when mowing. Last week, I got to close to one of them and quickly backed up the mower. But when I looked there were no bees at all on the blooms. Tenn had a major flood the first of May. Do you think it took out the bees? My neighbor has honey bees also and I hate them because I like to go bare-footed. But I really haven't seen many of them either this year. I actually started to hand pollinate the zuchinni then thought that I really didn't like them anyway. Beautiful plants though. the yellow squash made real well. Strange year.
 

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There is a nationwide crisis with bees disappearing/dying. It's been going on a few years now and having an effect on crops, flowers food, etc (even ice cream (heaven forbid!) because many ingredients come from honey or fruit). They haven't yet identified what is causing the problem - environmental, contagious disease, etc.

There's also a crisis with bats - they are dying by the thousands because of a contagious mold (I think that's what it is).
 

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It's the same here in England,a sad lack of bees,I only notice them if I get up very early to let Dizzie out for a pee,about 5 in the morning,and then there are a few buzzing around the Fuisha bush but not as many as normal.Have you tried spreading the pollen from plant to plant yourself by tickling them with a fine paint brush?We used to do this with the plants we had in the greenhouse.
 
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Clare - no I haven't tried hand pollinating. I am not sure quite how to do it (as it has never been necessary in the past) but may do some research and try that. You mentioned a fine paintbrush. Do just 'tickle' it on each blossom a bit and move on to the next blossom? I knew there was a colony collapse disorder affecting honey bees, but I had not heard of anything with regard to the bumble bees. I just did read something though that said pesticides were causing their demise as well. I had heard, from a class I attended a couple of years ago, that possibly pesticide use was playing a part in the colony collapse disorder. We have always had lots of bumble bees, but to see only so very few this year makes me uneasy. The man with the lavender plants that I mentioned in my initial post, who pointed out their absence, felt that our rains may have something to do with it. Evidently the queen overwinters in the ground and then emerges in the spring and sets up a colony, also in the ground. He feels they may have drowned with our prolonged rains. At any rate, since so much of agriculture depends on the bees, it is a scary, scary thought.
 

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Gardens here have been producing, I don’t plant one because of the deer but friends are giving me enough to fill a freezer. There have been several shows on the disappearance of honey bees, scientist are a not sure what is the cause. Our bumble bees seem to be healthy in my butterfly garden. A few years ago we had a drought and there were almost no butterflies. Their population is still less than before.
 

· Gigi
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Clare - no I haven't tried hand pollinating. I am not sure quite how to do it (as it has never been necessary in the past) but may do some research and try that. You mentioned a fine paintbrush. Do just 'tickle' it on each blossom a bit and move on to the next blossom? I knew there was a colony collapse disorder affecting honey bees, but I had not heard of anything with regard to the bumble bees. I just did read something though that said pesticides were causing their demise as well. I had heard, from a class I attended a couple of years ago, that possibly pesticide use was playing a part in the colony collapse disorder. We have always had lots of bumble bees, but to see only so very few this year makes me uneasy. The man with the lavender plants that I mentioned in my initial post, who pointed out their absence, felt that our rains may have something to do with it. Evidently the queen overwinters in the ground and then emerges in the spring and sets up a colony, also in the ground. He feels they may have drowned with our prolonged rains. At any rate, since so much of agriculture depends on the bees, it is a scary, scary thought.
Yes you just 'tickle'each blossom and then move to the next.This year we seem to have had more butterflies,which is good.
 

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I saw a story on the news about the bee virus. I was talking to my daughter and she said she heard it was because of all the cell phone towers. Something to do with the hum from the frequency of the cells. Truth or urban legend?
 

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Probably urban legend. I think the rains and the queen drowning is a better theory for the bumble bee. I haven't heard anything about bumblebees dying off; but a lot about the honey bee and so far no one has any idea what is causing the die off. whole hives are being desimated. I think I will research the bumble bee thing.
 

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I just did a quick search. Not much of anything on bumblebees dying off, just the honey bee. It said that only the queen lives through the winter. So it makes sense that recent rains and flood could have killed the queens in certain areas of the US.
 

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I'm only about 30 minutes north of you Linda and our bee(honey, bumble and mason) population has been much higher this year than it was last year.
Funny that such a short distance could make such a huge difference.
I didn't plant any veggies this year but my parents garden is doing great..though a little later than usual since we had such a cool, wet start to our summer.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm only about 30 minutes north of you Linda and our bee(honey, bumble and mason) population has been much higher this year than it was last year.
Funny that such a short distance could make such a huge difference.
I didn't plant any veggies this year but my parents garden is doing great..though a little later than usual since we had such a cool, wet start to our summer.
AHA!! You guys up north - GIVE THEM BACK!! :laugh: I am just glad to hear that they aren't missing everywhere, though doesn't help me out much. Maybe they will find their way back next year. Wow, I hadn't heard the theory about the cell phone towers. I am thinking it probably has more to do with our cold wet spring. I got soo excited this morning - I actually saw TWO bumble bees out in the garden!! Yep, doesn't take much to excite me! Gardening this year is a challenge. As well as the lack of bees, the birds are chowing down on the blueberries and now since it is getting drier, the aphids are coming out. Sigh. I don't mind sharing some of my fruit - in fact, I usually like having birds in my yard, but they are being total oinkers and then thumb their beaks at me by pooping blue poop all over my benches, etc. Such disrespect!
 

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I want to know what happened to the Toads? when I was growing up not that far from where we live now, and I would be outside while my mother gardened we would always unearth toads! now I am out in the garden digging up dirt all the time, and in 8 years I have not come across one toad! and we live near several bodies of water too.
 

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I don't know about toads, but there is an area about 15 mins from my home that has lots of bunnies. Can't figure it out because the area is not rural at all and very busy.
 

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I want to know what happened to the Toads? when I was growing up not that far from where we live now, and I would be outside while my mother gardened we would always unearth toads! now I am out in the garden digging up dirt all the time, and in 8 years I have not come across one toad! and we live near several bodies of water too.
They are all at my house. We have a large Kio pond in our front yard, a small stream on one side and a lake behind us. No shortage of toad or frogs here. Probably urban sprawl has demolished your aquatic populations. All frogs and toad come from tadpoles. At least I think they all do.
 

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My great grandmother said that if you have lots of toads around you don't have any snakes--so if follows that if the toads are missing, the snakes have eaten them. I would be very careful about walking around in the yard--sepecially at night.
 
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