Friday, March 11, 2011

Help! I have thousands of bees flying around my bushes!

Or Trees. Or Flowers. Or fruits & vegetables.

Every Spring, we get loads of folks calling our lines, scared outta their wits because they are seeing thousands of bees, wasps, flies and other insects flying in and around their plants, visiting flowers and not exhibiting any coordinated group activity. We are not referring to 'honey bee swarms' which are different, and can be viewed here.

When we question to get more information, we always find that the plant is flowering, and the flowers are attracting the insects!  Now to an entomologist, this is very normal, and nothing to fear, so I'm here to allay your worries. If you see these lovely insects, flying around the plant, visiting flowers, and generally not paying any attention to you, you are witnessing a natural phenonemon we call 'foraging insects'.
Honey Bee foraging on Flower

Think of it, many bees, wasps, flies and other insects are attracted to the nectar that flowers exude. In exchange for this high sugar flight fuel, the insect will inadvertently transfer some pollen between flowers, therefore helping to pollinate these plants. What could be more natural?

Though you may be intimidated by all the activity, my suggestion is to observe nature's splendor. The plant-insect relationship has taken millions of years to evolve, and it makes the world go round in one sense. In most cases the bees and wasps don't even notice that you are nearby. Once the flowers have finished providing the nectar, the activity will cease. And you've done your part in assisting nature. Coolio.

Richard Martyniak, M.Sc., Entomologist  1-800-343-5317

No comments:

Post a Comment