Thursday, May 3, 2018

Pollinators: Bumble Bees & Bee Flies

Spring arrived here in Ohio in temperature this past week and it feels wonderful! We had some early glimpses of spring - think frogs, woodcock, swelling plant buds - but warmth sure took a while to get here this year.

While still chilly early this month, we observed multiple queen Common Eastern Bumble Bees emerging from their overwintering sites in the ground and were fascinated by their simultaneous emergence and wondered what they would find to eat on our land. (Clearly, we have a gaping hole in our wildflower/tree/shrub plantings, which we will remedy.)

Here's my awed/baffled video on the bumble bees emergence. 

There are currently 28 different species of bumble bees in the Eastern U.S. & Canada and we are working to learn more about them. They are incredibly efficient pollinators and form annual social colonies, in some ways like honeybees. (Heather Holm wrote some great books on bees and pollinators that we love.)

While hiking at a Seneca County park, we observed oodles of Spring Beauty and a few Trout Lily in bloom. The air around these plants was alive with the buzz of dozens of species of pollinators and many more individuals. The two plants on their own were such a beautiful sight to our eyes and spirits after a long winter, but to witness all the pollinators more joyful than we were to see these blooms was the true gift of the day.

Here's my wonder video on all the pollinators. We were seriously wowed!

A little Bee Fly chased everyone off the bloom and Steve caught an awesome video of this beautiful insect nectaring.

The Trout Lily were much sought after by many species and are definitely a plant we want to increase on our land. We've noticed so many trees and shrubs as other vital sources of early season nectar here in Ohio. Take a look around your there early food for these emerging, hungry and important pollinators?


  1. I'm still seeing gaps in my own plantings, trying to figure out how to get more early spring ephemerals into the garden for nectar versus my perennials that bloom in the summer. Slowly working on getting all of that figured out!

  2. Awesome! Spring slowly arrived here in CO where I currently am...standing under a crab apple tree in full bloom is like a sympathy of buzzing!


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