My bees have disappeared

Asked July 19, 2017, 8:49 PM EDT

Hello, and thanks for your help. I have a bee-friendly yard, with many plants favored by bees and butterflies. Up until last week, all of my flowers were swarming with bees. This week, I have none. And I just saw a dead bee on one of my coneflowers. I'm worried by thinking it's something I've done. The lightning bugs have also disappeared. I'm aware of the global population drop, but this is so sudden. While I avoid pesticides, I did have a small tree treated for scale early in the spring, not thinking. I'm just afraid I have harmed this critical population. Also, if you happen to know why the bunnies are gone, I would also like to know. When I moved here 3 years ago they were everywhere. I live in Towson, and we do have a large fox population, so I was assuming that was the issue...

Baltimore County Maryland

7 Responses

Not to worry, though we understand and are heartened by your concern.
We have not been seeing any great die-off, and you definitely did not cause this absence.
How large is your yard? It may just be that there are other sources of nectar they are focused on at the moment and they are elsewhere. We would bet that they will be back, especially if you continue to have pollen, nectar and water sources in your yard. Give it some time and see if both the pollinators and the lightning bugs show back up.
A much less likely possibility is that your neighbors are using lots of broad spectrum residual chemicals in their yards, which could have an impact on what insects you see in yours. This is the reason that we do not recommend spraying or treating for mosquitoes or ticks, as there are many non-target casualties.

As far as rabbits go, they will likely be back too. They are incredible creatures. having an annual morbidity rate of almost 80%, yet due to their sheer reproductive prowess, continue to grace our properties, much to the benefit of fox, hawks and other predators.
If you are on Facebook, 'like' our Home and Garden Information Center page as we often share the most discussed issues of the day.


Thank you so much for your prompt response! My yard is fairly large, and is one of the few that is filled with flowers and not just lawn in my neighborhood. I do see many pesticide application signs around, and that does concern me. The one thing I do not have is a source of water. How would you suggest I supply one? I'm afraid of standing water because of mosquito breeding, and I don't have time to do or money to put in any water feature. I hope to see the bees and fireflies back as you say I might. I appreciate your help.

One simple thing you can do to provide a source of water would be to leave out a shallow saucer of water. You could use a saucer that is typically placed under a plant pot, or some other shallow dish or pan. Set a few stones in it so there are a few landing spots for bees and butterflies. Change the water at least every 3 days, to avoid leaving standing water for too long. You don't want to have standing water for more than 3 days -- to avoid mosquito breeding sites. You will have to continually change the water.


Okay, I can handle changing the water every 3 days. I will do as you suggest. Should I place it in my garden or any particular spot?

You are all great! What a terrific resource! Thanks.


P.S. I did see a bee this morning!

That's great that you saw a bee this morning -- hooray!! :-)

Place the water dish anywhere near flowering plants, in full sunlight.

Good luck and thank you for your efforts to maintain a bee-friendly yard.


Perfect, will do. Thanks again!