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Re: lack of bees, mite resistance?

I hate to join this downer about iris pollinators, but...

Most years, there are very few honeybee pollinators here, but huge armies of
other pollinators, mostly bees (several sizes of bumblebees and sweat bees)
and wasps.  I guess because of the winter, this year, there have been very
few of anything but bumblebees, which, according to a local newspaper article
earlier this year, are now used as commercial pollinators in greenhouses
(unlike honeybees, they don't try to fly 'up').

In my weedy ('naturalized') yard and garden, I let lots of invasive bloomers
self sow for both birds and bees (uh, oh - something tells me I will regret
that phrasing) and color.  The fall little white flowered asters are normally
covered with bees by now, especially honeybees, both the tame looking ones
and the smaller dark ones, and sweat bees - very few of either this year.
 Almost cheered when I saw my first honeybees of the year on Perilla (an
'ornamental' incredibly invasive annual mint) a few weeks ago and see one or
two on the asters now.

Some of my beekeeping buddies tell me there is some successful work going on
to breed new, more resistant strains of honeybees that I thought they said
would probably be available in a few years.   

The bumblebees, in all sizes, seem to be keeping things pollinated pretty
well - both native and introduced.

Linda Mann lmann76543@aol.com east TN USA

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