Bees in the Garden

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Our purple hull pea garden hums with bees.

It’s a large garden and there seem to be bees on every plant.

We may not get many peas from it this year (the deer seem determined to prevent that), but no matter what, we have helped create a happy place for bees.

Postcript: Chris has pointed out that wasps aren’t technically bees (an interesting fact of which I had been unaware). So more accurately I should have said that the garden is buzzing with bees, wasps, hornets and the like. An amazing and beautiful diversity of creatures.

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18 comments on “Bees in the Garden

  1. Chris says:

    And a happy place for wasps…

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    • Bill says:

      Is a wasp not a bee? What about a yellow jacket? Showing my ignorance once again I reckon.

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      • Bill says:

        You sent me off to google on a rainy morning. I thought wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, etc. were just subsets of bees. I see now that isn’t true. I grew up referring to them all collectively as “bees,” though obviously knowing the difference between them. So I’ve learned something new this morning.

        Liked by 1 person

      • avwalters says:

        That’s so funny–I grew up calling all flying stinging things “bees.” (Except maybe those incredibly black (blue-black iridescent) hornets.) I’ve been thinking of blogging an old story on that. Maybe this is just the prompt to do so.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. BeeHappee says:

    Bill, not only wasps are not bees, they can be quite damaging to bees – a big threat for bees. They will attack the hives to steal bees honey, to steal their larva, and try to take over the hive. I was talking to the beekeeper yesterday, he was showing me the traps he uses to get some hornets and wasps away from the hive – they use mountain dew in a jar. He was using them at farmers market, because wasps are quite aggressive now and were all around the honey and the fruit and the pastries at the market.

    There is some wild stuff happening. They say when bees are attacked by them, the only way they can defend the intruder is by generating heat with their wings. Take a look: https://www.newscientist.com/blogs/nstv/2012/08/infrared-video-captures-bees-cooking-wasp-invader.html

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    • Bill says:

      I’ve seen honeybees defending their hive from hornets. Amazing. Of course I knew the differences between wasps/hornets and honeybees/bumblebees, etc. I just thought they all fell under the general category of “bees.”

      It’s interesting to see how different garden plants attract different bees/wasps/hornets (what is the general term??). Squash blossoms, for example, are favorites of bumblebees. The purple hulls attract a wide variety of wasps, yellow jackets, etc. The next time I’m out there (thankfully it’s raining now) I’ll look more carefully. I need to get better with my terminology. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • BeeHappee says:

        Yes, probably just a habit. A little girl was shouting yesterday: bees bees! as we were eating pears. My 7 yr old gets pretty particular, and she insists: those are wasps, no bees.

        Plants attract what they need. My garden of flowers only has honey bees and bumble bees, no wasps found. Squash requires cross pollination, so it needs real pollinators, bees. Wasps are not good pollinators. Beans, on the other hand, are self pollinating, so it makes sense wasps are around beans, they still help a lot – by ‘tripping’ the plant, which increases the yield of the beans – they estimate by about a third.

        But I think the coolest thing is that wasps, being carnivorous mainly, protect plants from insect damage. Planting beans that attract wasps will be beneficial for the whole garden.
        So maybe you should leave that hornets nest on the roof alone after all? 🙂

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      • Bill says:

        Yes, I love see wasps and hornets in the gardens. The hornet nest on our roof won’t come down till winter, when the hornets are gone. But Chris advises that’s probably not necessary, as other critters will dismantle and consume it on their own.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. daphnegould says:

    My garden has been buzzing with wasps too – and some bees. Right now I’ve been seeing Great Black Wasps. These are a bit scary as they are about 1 1/2″ long, but oh so fascinating to watch.

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  4. shoreacres says:

    I visited a friend in the hill country this weekend, and her garden was filled with bumblebees. They’re such funny creatures, and delightful to watch. Here’s another interesting fact. When I was stung by a bee, I reacted wildly. When I was stung by five wasps, the effect was gone in four hours. I did some reading, and found that (of course) their poisons vary, too, and affect different people differently. Being allergic to one doesn’t necessarily mean being allergic to all.

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    • smcasson says:

      I think I remember correctly, that wasps can affect the severity of their sting. IE, to sting deeply or lightly. I think I remember that from when I was doing lots of research about wasps.
      Although five attacking wasps should have generated enough pheromones in the air, they would have been sufficiently pissed, I suspect. Maybe your body did react totally differently to bees vs wasps.

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    • Bill says:

      I’ve had my share of bee stings (and wasp/hornet stings) over the years and while they’ve stung and itched I’ve never had a serious reaction. But last year a honeybee stung me while I was working in the hive and soon afterwards I had a weird reaction–swelling and lightheadedness. It went away but it worried me, so now I’m (usually) more careful to make sure I wear a veil and use the smoker.

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  5. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, I see very few pollinators in Terra Nova Gardens. I’m thinking that I really need to plant some flowers that will attract them. The stinging pollinators are one kind but there are others as well. I’m going for the butterfly and humming bird spectrum of pollinators.

    Yesterday’s post on music was fascinating. Music is definitely a mood changer. As you indicated it can lift a person up or not. I’m sure you have read articles about how music can have an effect on plants. Acid rock will cause plants to struggle with life where as classical music will cause them to grow strong and robust. Music for me is tied to memories. When I hear a certain song or jungle from the TV, it brings up most good memories but some times bad ones as well.

    Have a great pollinator day.

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    • Bill says:

      Thanks Dave. I love music. I listen to some music and plunk on my guitar nearly every day. For me it’s one of life’s joys.

      There are some interesting studies coming out now about how plants respond to sounds. Fascinating stuff. The plant world is turning out to be more complex than we’d previously imagined.

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  6. I’m going to change the subject and show my ignorance, but I’ve never heard of purple hull peas. I’ve looked them up, and they seem very interesting. I’m going to look into them further. Are they a southern vegetable?

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    • Bill says:

      They are wonderful tastes of Southern summers. They like hot dry weather and my guess is that they would only grow in the South. They’re a very important part of our food culture here. They’re quite similar to blackeyed peas. Purple Hulls have pink eyes are are tastier than blackeyed. They’re technically a bean, not a pea. I usually plant ours in mid June, but after deer ate my first planting I replanted in July. I’m sorry to say that on the eve of harvesting them, the (expletive deleted) deer wiped them out over the last few nights, costing us not only lots of farm revenue, but denying us something we look forward to every summer. Maybe we’ll have better success next year…

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