Just Because I Like to See My Bees Big

Bee-on-Allium-2In reality, these bees are ½ inch long, but click them, they get bigger. You can tell by the size of each individual flower of the umbels of the Allium. These guys are working machines gathering nectar and pollen. See the nectar drop on the bee nose or where a nose would be if they had one? Those antennae are gathering the “smell” data.

Oddly, I am not seeing as many bees as last year working the flowers. More were here earlier on the Muscari. Those bees had full pollen baskets. The garden is shown at the end of the post.


Last year was a good year for bees in my garden despite what Science reported, so I am hoping the bee activity picks up soon. Maybe 30-40 bees on the Allium, but that is not many comparatively to last year.

“Nearly one out of four American honeybee colonies died this winter — a loss that’s not quite as bad as recent years, says a new U.S. Department of Agriculture survey of beekeepers.” (source)


In 2006, more than a third of hives on average and up to 90 percent in some cases of hive bees were lost. Thank goodness for native bees, but even native bees are suffering losses too.

Science just reported in the May issue that, “current extinction rates are up to a thousand times higher than they would be if people weren’t in the picture.”

Was this actual news? Any doubt? Look at bee decline for example.


So many creatures are in peril it seems and the question becomes what do we save. Here is an interesting short article that addresses this question, “20,000 Species Are Near Extinction: Is it Time to Rethink How We Decide Which to Save?“.


Butterflies are not yet here in the garden, but I have seen a few on hikes.


Hummingbirds are here, but I have no fun photographing them at the feeders. I usually wait for their flowers to bloom for more challenge. Above was a very early evening, handheld shot, hence all the grain in the photo.


Sunny one minute, cloudy the next, it was one of those days.




Ant-on-PeonyAnd we have the tiny ants on the peonies and when they open the larger ants join the party.


Flies too, but there is no shortage of them. I doubt they will be on an endangered list.


This week I am off to find Bobolinks and Savannah Sparrows with the Audubon Society. I hope those birders find the nesting sites. I never saw a Bobolink before and had to look up what they looked like. They are in the blackbird and oriole family. We might see meadowlark too from where we are going. That would be a nice bird to photograph in that bright yellow breast plumage.



The garden where the images were taken.


Birds love the Viburnum. Bees the Allium, hummingbirds the Verbena in the hanging baskets. They do drink from the Million Bells, but infrequently. Other pollinators like them though. I had them for many years in my garden because they are so easy to care for in drought.


Almost all purple, lavender and white now that the tulips and daffodils “melted” away in the heat. Pinks on the way… in peonies, and evening primrose, plus yellows show back up in Sun drops and early daylilies.


Usually the chives are filled with bees. Might be the late start to the bloom season here in WNY.


My garden transforms through the color wheel as the seasons transition. If I think about it and am not traveling, I will give a peek in posts coming up. I might tell you what the bees are harvesting too.


Are your bees up or down since last year, or is it too early to tell?


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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30 Responses to Just Because I Like to See My Bees Big

  1. Belo Post,parabéns!

  2. Beautiful…. you have been as busy as the bees!

  3. Great post. I love all of this post. I’m a beekeeper. They are so fascinating. Thanks for the great post.

  4. Well, I saw a bee clinging to a daffodil during snow in April, so I know they’re around, but I haven’t counted them. I love the detail in your photos!

  5. Debra says:

    I just love the shots of your garden. Heaven. I could watch bees all day. The numbers of bees are absolutely way down even before the nearby removal of the wild hive. I really noticed earlier in February when the quince was blooming. I usually see a crown of bees hovering around it and the lavender. I did see some beeds but it wasn’t anything like past years. (love the ant photos!)

  6. Laurin Lindsey says:

    I love big bees too! Lovely photos : )

  7. We really struggled with bees in our garden last year to the point that we had to finger pollinate our pumpkins. I’m afraid it looks like we’re having the same issue again this year. We’ve only had some carpenter bees hanging around.

  8. alesiablogs says:

    Amazing shots! I like you caught that hummingbird. : )

  9. My Heartsong says:

    Frankly I am glad the bees aren’t the size of the photos. Amazing shot of the fly. I can hang out around those bees for hours trying to get a shot, lucky they are too busy to sting.

  10. Stunning photos. We also have a great problem with our native bees dying off as well in New Zealand. A bit of trivia. Sir Edmund HIlliary – the first man to conquer Mt Everest was also a beekeeper. We have a lot of beehives where I live due to all the orchards around us. Hawke’s Bay is known in New Zealand as the fruit capitol of New Zealand. 😀

  11. About the same number of bees as last year, but a huge drop from two years ago. Butterflies are more in evidence than last year, but still fairly scarce. Makes me sad.

  12. Denise says:

    The bee photographs are wonderful. Is there a beehive nearby? I seldom see bees in my garden. Sometimes there are bumble bees. Probably because I don’t have many flowers. Oh, the fly is also beautiful.

  13. navasolanature says:

    Interesting which bees like what! We have big black bees and they love the oak tree and the cultivated lilac.

  14. Ah, Donna exceptional photographs of your beautiful visitors!!! 🙂
    I have said this before but I love your garden! 🙂

  15. Our honeybees are hardly seen. At the front of the prayer garden, there is a large collection of bluish-purple Nepeta (cat mint). Normally the honeybees are all over these flowers – I have yet to spot one although these flowers just opened this week. We had one day this winter where the temperature went to -16 degrees, moving our Syracuse climate from zone 4B to zone 3B.

    Thank you for the beautiful postings.

  16. I think it is too early. Still quite cold here on a regular basis. Last week my customers were turning up in winter coats!

  17. Great post and photos, as usual! I’m very alarmed at the lack of bees and butterflies in my yard this year. I usually have hosts of them all spring and into the summer, but not this year! I don’t know if our unseasonably late freeze had anything to do with it, but something sure isn’t right.
    Blessings, Natalie 🙂

  18. lulu says:

    Love all your purples. Alliums are blooming in m yard, but I’m not seeing too many bees yet. I can’t bear the thought of losing bees and their sweet honey.

  19. Alisha says:

    great, great, great post, all pictures looks so lively, this beautiful place looks like heaven, flowers, plants, trees and house are amazing and bees they are just so cute ,what a beautiful creation of god !! Thanks for sharing Donna .

  20. Annette says:

    May be a bit early to tell and temperatures have been on the cool side for a while. Lovely shots! Our alliums have finished flowering but I’m always fascinated by the amount of insects they attract. Have to plant some A. christophii this autumn. A. sphaerocephalon will flower soon and are much beloved. Beautiful garden too 🙂

  21. Wonderful series of photographs, love them all especially the hummer! 🙂 Our bees are down from
    last but might be too early to tell. Love your birdfeeder!
    check out my Japanese iris blooming, posted today. I enjoyed visiting your site.
    Michael 🙂

  22. Loved all your photos of the bees and ants. And the flowers were gorgeous as well. A friend of mine has honey bee hives and they lost 2 this winter. They are not sure what caused it. Thanks for the information.

  23. NaNcy KnOll says:

    Wonderful posting, really enjoyed it! I am a huge bee advocate, I even made a FB page for those who may be interested in saving these precious critters. Much LOVE!

  24. eulalia says:

    Love your pictures… wonderful images.. thanks for sharing them

  25. catmint says:

    Hi Donna, I love the huge shots of the bees and ants and fly – especially the fly! Your garden colour scheme is very restful. Someone was saying on the radio that we are the only continent without bee colony collapse disorder, but that it is just a matter of time before it will get through despite the precautions taken.

  26. Karen says:

    There are hundreds of bumble bees in our orchard but I’ve seen very few honey bees. We will see what this means for the apple crop this year.

  27. Incredible macros! Wow! The bee behavior seems different than last year. They seemed more plentiful in the early spring–buzzing around the ephemerals, the Bleeding Heart, and the blooming ground covers. But now they seem quieter. By this time last year, they were going crazy over the Ornamental Sage, but they seem slow to the party in the potager garden. But maybe there’s just so much in bloom right now that they’re feasting elsewhere. I’m still seeing them around the Bleeding Hearts and flowers in the backyard, so I guess I won’t worry too much. Great post!

  28. lucindalines says:

    The scary part is without the pollinators our food supply is in jeopardy and we are causing it ourselves with the chemicals and other practices.

  29. BEAUTIFUL Captures – love watching the bees flit and flirt 🙂

  30. Not sure about the bees. I haven’t been out enough but I have noted no honey bees the last couple of years…only native bees, wasps, flies. I saw one butterfly so far. I hope the native bees got a late start and we see loads of them.

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