Bee-lated update

inside the bee treeempty honeycomb laid outI’ve been meaning to tell you about Fred and Dan’s discovery for a few weeks now but keep getting distracted by garden tours, award worthy blooms, days off and other shiny things. A month or two ago I bemoaned that the wild honeybee colony living in the hive near the greenhouse must have succumbed to the dreaded Colony Collapse Disorder because the bees were obviously no longer in residence. But about 3 weeks ago Fred and Dan cut down the famous horse chestnut stump, got a good look at the remains of the hive and determined that the bees probably vacated for another reason: There was a fairly major water leak. The stump was completely rotten and open to the sky and our hope now is that the bees had sufficient flood warning to make a move and restock their honey stores well before winter. We all took it as a good sign that there were no corpses in the stump. The honeycomb was completely washed out but still has a deep, dark and slightly bitter molasses sort of fragrance – I think it smells exactly like a good stout. It must have been wonderfully rich honey…

With a few warm sunny days under July’s belt, more flowers have opened in earnest and we’ve seen a lot more pollinator activity in the last week or so. The honeybees are back in healthy looking numbers and there have been sweat bees and swarms of zingy little bee-like creatures that I think must be hover/syrphid flies as well as the ubiquitous bumbles (none of whom got in front of my camera lens this morning, I’m amazed to say).

honeybees and hover flies on a pink peony poppysweat bee on a bachelor's buttonhover flies in a purple poppyhoneybee working the Glaucium grandiflorum

It’s been at least a couple-three weeks since I asked this question so I’ll ask again – are you seeing a lot of pollinator activity in your garden now too?