Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Garden Is Bumblebee Ready, Now Where Are My Bumbles?

Baptisia x bicolor 'Starlite' Prairieblues™

Clay and Limestone is Bumblebee ready, but, there's not a bumble to be found.

Ornamental Kale
I've seen  carpenter bees,

Pollen beetles, bee flies

Geranium sanguineum
bee imitators,

Ox-eye Daisy a non-native 'weed' I happen to love
hover flies and even small bees.

Zizia aurea (Apiaceae/Carrot Family)
All perfectly good pollinators. But, not one Bumble.
Should I bee alarmed?

No, I'll be patient!
They always show up and it's never on my schedule.

In the meantime, I still work to make Clay and Limestone as pollinator friendly as possible by following the Golden Rules.

  • plant large swathes of nectar and pollen producing plants
  • plant host plants~don't stop at nectar and pollen plants
  • plan for bloom from late spring to early winter (witch hazels fit the bill)
  • bee sure to include water
  • provide nesting sites for a variety of visitors:  leave some bare ground (ix-nay on the plastic landscape cloth);decaying logs are perfect for beetles and bees who like to use old bee tunnels;  and,  you can provide special  bee houses. 

PS  Please raise your hand and solemnly swear that you will never, ever, ever, ever, ever use pesticides in your garden. Now, don't you feel better for having made that commitment! I know I do. 
In case you want to read earlier pollinator posts~

Now Is The Time To Bee-gin Thinking About Bees (
This Is The Place To Bee ( here)
If You Could Plant Only One Plant In Your Garden~Don't (here)
Must Bee The Season of The Witch (here)
Go Bare In Your Garden (here)
We can't All Be Pretty Pollinators (here)
Eye, Eye Skipper, Big Eyed Pollinators (here)
What's In Your Garden (here)
Royalty In The Garden~Monarch Butterfly (here)
Carpenter Bees (here)

Got Wildflowers?(here)
It's Spring and A Gardener's Thoughts Are On Pollinators (here)
The Wildflower and The Bee (here)
A Few Good Reasons To Plant Milkweek (here)
Got Shade? You Can Have Pollinators ( (here)
A Pollinator friendly Shrub (here)
Big Goings On at C and L (here

Where Have All My Pollinators Gone (here)

Other bee posts you might want to read~

Count Yourself Lucky To Have Hoverflies (
Bumblebee Hotel (here)
Still Taking Care Of Bzzness (here)
My Sweet Embraceable You (here)

Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone." She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.


  1. So many bees,
    Of all sizes and shapes I see.
    I've raised my hand
    To join your band
    And will soon look for bees on my land.

    Thanks for a wonderful reminder of the beauty of bees and other insects in the garden.

    1. Carol, What a perfect comment. have a fantastic day!

  2. Haven't seen bumbles or carpenter bees as of yet. But the butterflies are monumental.

    1. We have a lot of skippers and a few Spring Azures~it won't be long though before we hear their buzzing!

  3. Fantastic photographs especially the Hoverflies. Can't rival you on flowers and it's still too early for most insects, but fortunately there are a few bumbles about - busy pollinating my black currants!

  4. I have had bumbles on the cherry tree. They will come as you know if you bee patient.

    1. I think they have been here and I missed them! My blueberries are fruiting! I will continue to bee patient. xo

  5. I've finally seen bumbles here, but what I haven't seen yet this year are honeybees. And there seem to be fewer bees overall this year. I'm trying not to worry.

    1. There were lots of honeybees visiting before the horrendous hail storm but they haven't been back since. I've begun to wonder if someone nearby has sprayed their garden with pesticides?

  6. We have a big fat carpenter bee living nearby where we can watch it. FUN. I have only seen a couple of bumbles so far this year. We haven't even had a hummingbird yet. Where are they?? Maybe they are partying with the bumbles. Have a great weekend.

  7. Gail girl (I just picked myself off the dining room floor .. aka office until number one son moves out, which should be this year , fingers crossed !)
    I was so happy to see you in my comments .. I have meant to come over here so many times and some how didn't .. it is hard for me to sit very long .. my knee and leg scream at me .. all from that garden accident two years ago (I never thought in a million years I could hurt myself so badly that it would drag on this long, BIG sigh!) .. Your pictures are beautiful !! as always : )
    I have many many pollinator plants in my garden too .. and I do NOT use pesticides either .. we have so many cute living creatures that visit us .. from a bunny to amazing little birds ... I love them all : )
    Next year I will try one of the bee apartments and see what happens .. I have a spot that is out of the way so that should work out I hope !
    It was so nice to "see" you girl !

  8. Such pretty bees. I haven't noticed any bumbles here either but tons of carpenter bees-eating the wood in the garden. Grrrr...

  9. Nice bee captures. You have a lot of buzzing brewing. We don't get as many bumblebees anymore, almost all big bees are Carpenter bees. I have been wondering why the bumbles have been missing the last few years.

  10. Lots of early bumbles here (Ontario, Canada). Perhaps they'll read your blog and head on over. ;-)

  11. Gail, you must be the bee whisperer of the gardening world. The bees seem to pose very willingly! I've seen a few bumblebees at our house, but mainly carpenter bees. We have piles of sawdust on the deck and stairs.

  12. I've seen all the usuals -- honeybees, bumbles, carpenters, wasps, hornets...all accounted for, although in smaller numbers.

  13. Lots of bumbles here this spring, and a sea of Red Admirals all over our garden, and all over the area. I've never seen so many of either.

  14. Beautiful photos! I especially like the Geranium sanguineum.
    I don't know enough about bees to be certain of the identity of what we have here.
    I think we have bumble bees, honey bees and carpenter bees. Plus assorted bee imitators like the hoverfly. And then there are the wasps - big angry, aggressive red wasps! Will you be upset if I kill the red wasps? All other bees, flies, dirt daubers, etc are very welcome here, but not the red wasps.
    Happy gardening!
    Lea's Menagerie

    1. No, I will not be upset with you Lea! xgail

  15. I haven't seen any here either Gail and they are normally out & about early (with the crocus.) I hope we don't have to "bee" worried but maybe. I have a new neighbor that is spraying chemicals on everything ~ it's driving me crazy ~ maybe he's part of the problem?? Hope you're having a good spring? hugs

  16. I haven't seen any here yet, though lots of honeybees which are nice! Hopefully they're off at someone else's garden instead of visiting my lovely patch of clover..

  17. My hand is raised, Gail! I don't know where your bumbles are, but you have a delightful variety of other visitors, and the flower photos are beautiful as always. I have seen bumbles here at different times, but I'm wondering if they are confused by our up and down temperatures. Lots of hoverflies around this year; they don't seem to be enjoying anything that blooms.

    I just saw a segment on the news last night about bees and the importance of letting dandelions and clover grow in your lawn for the bees. Ha! We have a veritable feast awaiting them here:)

  18. Oops, my comment about the hoverflies was supposed to be "they DO seem to enjoy anything that blooms."


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson