Where are the bees?

Asked May 19, 2019, 11:51 PM EDT

We live in Florence, Oregon, one mile from the beach. We have California lilacs and salal and wax myrtle (all blooming). In the past there have been bees all over the California lilacs. This year there are none. We don't use pesticides. We've had a lot of cloudy days. Would that account for a lack of bees? We have seen a few of the large black and yellow bees, but not like years past. This is not normal. What can we plant to bring in the bees? Thank you. D. Force

Lane County Oregon

1 Response

I’m glad that you have been keeping the bees in mind with the plantings in your yard. Bees in general do not fly in inclement weather. The small native bees and bumblebees will fly in cooler temperatures than honey bees. The month of May has been quite cool and wet making it difficult for bees. As the weather warms and dries you will see more bees.

I’m including two links that will guide you in flower selection. The USDA publication Plants for Pollinators in Oregon “provides information about establishing, maintaining and enhancing habitat and food resources for native pollinators, particularly for native bees, in Riparian buffers, Windbreaks, Hedgerows, Alley cropping, Field borders, Filter strips, Waterways, Range plantings and other areas”. It is quite extensive.

The other publication is from the Xerces Society, Pollinator Plants: Maritime Northwest Region and “features regional native plants that are highly attractive to pollinators”. Between these two publications, you will have great plant ideas. Enjoy adding to your yard.