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 Post subject: Missing Bumble bees
PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 11:09 pm 
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All our bumble bees have vanished - we have masses of the 'humming bird' variety busily working the lavender but no bumble bees, perhaps they don't like lavender? Has anybody else noticed?
Best wishes
Del


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 Post subject: Re: Missing Bumble bees
PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 7:34 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2009 4:03 pm
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Location: Ille et Villaine (35)
Hi Del - and a warm welcome to the forum !

Which part of France are you in ?
I have seen mainly tree bumble bees (bombus hypnorum) rather than the bigger variety of bumble bee. We have been planting flowers and shrubs to attract them, but at the moment they are probably too small to be of much interest.
It may well be to do with pesticides and disease.
We have had a lot of butterflies which came out in droves during the very hot spell recently.


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 Post subject: Re: Missing Bumble bees
PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:08 am 
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Location: Zurich/Basel and Suffolk
Bumble bees hibernate - did something happen last winter?

Moving forward, you can buy nesting tubes and frames to provide a safe hibernation site next winter - like https://www.keengardener.co.uk/wooden-b ... -x-50.html

J


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 Post subject: Re: Missing Bumble bees
PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:33 am 
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Location: Ille et Villaine (35)
That's a brilliant idea and a useful link - thanks J !


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 Post subject: Re: Missing Bumble bees
PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 9:11 am 
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Location: somewhere in the "pays de dropt"
We have here in the pays de dropt loads of them, as stated earlier too lots of wood wasps cause of the last winter being relatively mild.

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 Post subject: Re: Missing Bumble bees
PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 3:07 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:43 am
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Location: Correze (19)
Plenty of Bees here in Correze also. We leave lots of the garden to grow for the insects and birds using maybe a 1/3 of our acre of land for lawn and vegetables (Brilliant year this year for veg). We don't use any chemicals at all and have been helped by a small toad population which resides around the house.


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 Post subject: Re: Missing Bumble bees
PostPosted: Sun Jun 25, 2017 4:27 pm 
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Location: Ille et Villaine (35)
We have masses of hollyhocks ad the bumble bees seem to like them :

Attachment:
Bumble.jpg


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 Post subject: Re: Missing Bumble bees
PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:07 am 
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Location: Finistere.
Very few bees of any kind here this year.
I totally blame a local bulb company for their constant use of pesticides to produce completely useless tulips and hyacinthes.
It's all very pretty in spring around here, smells awesome but you can walk through these fields of flowers and not see any bees at all. I have asked the owner of the company about his chemical use several times and have recieved no reply....his silence speaks volumes.

When I first came here I was amazed by these flowers, but the realisation of the harm they (the Dutch owned company) doing is rapidly sinking in with all the local population.

Here's what it looks like.
https://www.google.fr/search?q=tulipe+a+la+torche&rlz=1C1CHMO_enFR506FR506&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjXscus69rUAhXG0hoKHevIDIsQ_AUIBigB&biw=891&bih=430#tbm=isch&q=tulipes+a+la+torche


Incidently one of the local apiculturists blames the frelon asiatique but as we have only seen one around here in 3 years I'm not so sure this is the case. It's got to be the pesticides surely?

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 Post subject: Re: Missing Bumble bees
PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:35 pm 
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Location: Zurich/Basel and Suffolk
Certainly neonicotinoid insecticides can devastate bee colonies - so presumably bumble bees too.

However I wonder whether your neighbour would have been spraying when the bulbs are in flower? Normally they flower early in season and I would have thought the pests would have been around a bit later.

Slight sidetrack - on GQT they were saying you should not plant spent hyacynths near bluebells as they can cross pollenate.

J


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 Post subject: Re: Missing Bumble bees
PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 2:01 pm 
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Location: Ardeche
Del wrote:
All our bumble bees have vanished - we have masses of the 'humming bird' variety busily working the lavender but no bumble bees, perhaps they don't like lavender? Has anybody else noticed?
Best wishes
Del


I have thought about this for a few days and prompted by Blaze's picture, I think you may be right and bumble bees may not like lavender.

As we know it was originally calculated that they could not fly and only subsequent detailed examination of their flight mode showed that indeed they could fly (something that our eyes had shown for centuries). What this means is that their ability to fly is marginal. Therefore I surmise that when collecting nectar and pollen they prefer large flowers where they can land (like Blaze's hollyhocks) rather than small flowers like lavender where they would have to maintain their marginal and energy intensive flight during the collection. So given a choice of easy nectar and hard nectar they opt for larger flowers where they can land and collect with no expenditure of energy.

Just a theory, but like you I have no bumble bees on our lavender either.

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 Post subject: Re: Missing Bumble bees
PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 2:51 pm 
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Location: Gers 32
I think honeybees are different from bumblebees. There are quite a few people around here who have a hive, and the bees you see going in and out are smaller and slimmer.
I don't know if any you remember Chris Luck of Planet Passion - he's an expert on bees. He's still around - I rang him up a few weeks ago with a question - we had a lot of worker bees coming into our house and collapsing.


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 Post subject: Re: Missing Bumble bees
PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 3:11 pm 
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Location: Ille et Villaine (35)
I saw a stand at a agricultural fair (in France) where they were using bumble bees to produce honey in hives. It struck me as interesting because at the time I believed that bumble bees do not sting. It appears that in fact they can sting but rarely do so.

Yes, I think thelastoneout has a point - I haven't noticed bumble bees on the lavender but assumed it was too small. I managed a couple of blurred photos of one in flight, but I get the feeling that they like to fly from one flower to another and don't have the ability to hover for long.

Yes, Patf, I've seen Chris's page on FB - he takes some wonderful photos and is always available to answer questions.


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