Bees on my pussy willow bush

Asked September 30, 2015, 3:57 PM EDT

Bees seem to have developed a strange attraction to the pussy willow bush in our front yard this year. We have not noticed this in years past. There are several different species including one that looks like a bald-faced hornet, but has much more white on it's abdomin than I am used to seeing. Also seeing several different species of flies. The whole bush is just kind of buzzing with flying insects. As I had mentioned, this is new just this year. I guess my question is what's going on?

Roscommon County Michigan

1 Response

Hi. If there are no blossoms on your plant right now then I suspect there are aphids or scale present. Both of these excrete honeydew which can attract bees. If you can look closely, scale would look like small bumps on the twigs and aphids would be near the tips of the branches on the leaf growth and depending on the level of infestation, also down the twigs. Honeydew can turn into sooty mold which is a black spotty substance underneath where the insects are living. Another possibility is a nest under the shrub but since you are seeing different kinds of bees that seems less likely. If you do not find aphids or scale, send a photo of your bush, along with a closeup.