Friday, July 1, 2011


At my last garden I could go out in July and close my eyes. I could hear the buzz of the bees. Three were so many and so many different varieties that it was more of a steady hum than a real bee buzz. If I close my eyes in my current garden, I can occasionally hear individual bees, but usually only if I'm near the flowers and the weather is very nice.

Bees have been slow to find my garden. But a few are showing up. Above made me really smile. I don't think it pollinates any of my vegetables, but I do love metallic green bees. I had two types that showed up regularly at my last garden. This is the first and only that I've seen here.

Bumble bees are always the first to show up in the spring for me. Both here and at my last garden. They are busy workers and a real boon to my vegetable garden. They especially love my tomatoes and I'm happy for that.

No garden is complete without honeybees. One year I saw barely any, but this year they seem to be around. I can usually find one somewhere on a sunny day.

Many bees are just bees I don't know their names of like this small bee.

And some aren't bees at all but hoverflies. They are bee look alikes.

I'm guessing this is some kind of hornet. It isn't one that visited my last garden. I had white faced hornets there. I even had a nest near my raspberries one year. Luckily white faced hornets are pretty peaceful creatures. I hope this one is too. I've only been stung twice while working in the garden. Once a tiny little bee got stuck in my hair. I couldn't get it out. I was hoping it would work its way out before I went inside. Nope it worked its way to my neck. I was really shocked it could even sting me it was so tiny and its sting wasn't very bad. The second was digging in the soil with my hands planting something. I rarely use a trowel. Hands are my favorite tool. Well I ran into a solitary wasps nest. Ouch. That one hurt, but at least I didn't have to look for a stinger. I was sad to have disturbed it though. I count on wasps to help me out.

In my last garden, when the herbs bloomed especially coriander, my garden was flooded with small and large wasps of all kinds. When I had tomato hornworms they were usually found parasitized with wasp larvae. They really kept the bad guys down. Here I've seen exactly one yellow jacket (my least favorite species of wasp). I'm a bit worried about that.

Addendum. After writing this post I found some of the blue black wasps I've seen before. I'm happy they found the garden, but the coriander blooms brought them in. Taking a photo of them is hard. They never want to land, but just buzz about all day long.


  1. You have quite a variety of garden helpers at work there. We love the bees and do as much as possible to encourage them. I do remember , as a child, hearing constant buzzing. It's so much quieter now. That is not a good thing..........

  2. I used to be so afraid of bees. Now I walk the garden and revel in their presence! I often let my plants go to seed because the flowering attracts bees and other beneficial insects.
    sometimes I save the seeds and sometimes I don't.

  3. What beautiful color on that first flower!

    Yellow Jackets are the worst. They're mean as hell and would rather sting you than look at you.

  4. I really like your blog and have started to read it regularly. Very nice photos of the pollinators.

  5. What a wonderful variety.
    I happen to have a strong dislike of yellow jackets, but everyone else is okay.

  6. You really open my eyes and interest about knowing each individual type of bees now. I always think of bees as bees, they are the pollinators. We seems to have more bees now in the garden since we have flowers all year long and planting perennials help too.

  7. I have been really happy to have a dense population of bees working my raspberry patch this past week or so. It's a mixture of bumbles, mason, and honey bees I think. The past few years have been pretty quiet on the bee front but I am noticing a more healthy population this year.

  8. I was watching a bumblebee in the balcony garden a couple of days ago, buzzing around the tomatoes - if insects can look surprised, this one did, in an 'oh wow, where did all these flowers come from?!' sort of way.

  9. Be careful around those yellow jackets. They're ornery!

  10. I haven't seen those metalic green ones around here (pacific NW) before. They look really cool!

  11. Thanks for all the comments. I've just gotten back from vacation and I'm trying to catch up. My last vacation was easier since I had access to the internet, but this one was out in the woods.