Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
Flowers blooming all over the place here, but no bumblebees or honeybees. Last summer there were lots, but in midsummer I noticed a dieoff of bumblebees. I found a dozen or so scattered in our driveway and along the walks here.

It is so sad. All I see are flies, mosquitoes, sweatbeezs, hornets and wasps. We had a lot of butterflies here this year as they released several thousand courtesy of a local environmental group. These were all Red Admirals.

Many of the bees you think of as bumblebees are probably carpenter bees. At any rate, most of the big fat bees that should, some say, be able to fly are carpenters.

We just had a major die off of carpenter bees and we know what did it. We did. Bayer sells a couple of systematic insecticides whose active ingredient is imidicloprid. We've used one of them for years on our Tropical Milkweeds (Asclepias curassavica). Unlike the native milkweeds we keep, A. curassavica doesn't go dormant in fall. Like the others, it acquires aphids in the fall, and we've lost plants to them. Bayer's wonder stuff solved that problem. It also solved the scale insects on our sand cherries. So last year when a couple of our Japanese Hollies were infested with small sap-sucking insects we treated them with the stuff. Problem solved. But when the hollies bloomed and the carpenter bees came to feast on the nectar and gather the pollen many many of them died shortly after they tried to fly away from the plants. Dozens every day until the hollies have finished blooming. Our local carpenter bee population seems to be rebounding.

Re insect pests, we once went on a picnic/fish collecting trip to the Rio Frijoles (or was it the Rio Frijolito?) where it crosses pipeline road. This is in the former Canal Zone. There was a honeybee hive under the bridge -- a high trestle -- over the stream. Africanized honeybees. Something about us, we don't know what, bothered them. They attacked my wife first, then everyone in the party. We had to leave.