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where did my pollinators go?  RSS feed

 
steve bossie
Posts: 284
Location: Northern Maine (zone 3b-4a)
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last year i had bumble bees and hummingbirds everywhere on my property all over my flowering fruit bushes and apple trees. this year i have 7 elderberries
that are covered w/ blossoms that are falling off without being pollinated. this spring my hummingbird feeders went untouched. last spring there were dozens around. I've seen a few small bumbles in my raspberries but not many. i don't spray or use herbicide and both my neighbors have many fruit and apple trees as well so there should be plenty around. i leave piles of brush for the bumbles and even made mason bee blocks to encourage them to breed nearby. I'm in a fairly rural area. i have a lot of fruit bushes and raspberries. this really worries me!  any ideas what might have ran off the pollinators?
 
Casie Becker
garden master
Posts: 1406
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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forest garden urban
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My first thought was to see if you'd had an unusually cold winter. The reports I'm finding suggest otherwise. The next thing I looked at was the drought conditions. Are you in one of the areas suffering from drought, right now? 
 
steve bossie
Posts: 284
Location: Northern Maine (zone 3b-4a)
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Casie Becker wrote:My first thought was to see if you'd had an unusually cold winter. The reports I'm finding suggest otherwise. The next thing I looked at was the drought conditions. Are you in one of the areas suffering from drought, right now? 
quite the opposite . we had a very wet late spring early summer and the winter was a lot warmer than the 2 before it. i just talked to my neighbor who also has a lot of berry bushes and fruit trees also and he's noticed  they are lacking at his place also. we aren't near any cities or even big towns so i can't blame it on pollution. i should be looking at a huge crop of elderberries by next month but all the flowers are falling with no little green berry starting to grow! i sat in front of those bushes for a half hr. on a nice calm sunny day and i didn't see one bee or butterfly land on those huge flower clusters! just the sweet smell should bring in at least a few! its very disturbing!
 
Casie Becker
garden master
Posts: 1406
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
105
forest garden urban
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Sorry, that was my best guess. I've seen fewer hummingbirds than usual this year, but I'm a long way from you and have plenty of other pollinators.
 
steve bossie
Posts: 284
Location: Northern Maine (zone 3b-4a)
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2 years ago i planted most of my berry bushes . back then the only thing on my property to bring them in was my feeders and my raspberry patch. i had tons of bumble and mason bees all over the flowers. the field next to me is all chokecherry bushes and they were loaded with bees. my humming bird feeder was a combat zone of hummingbirds fighting for a spot. now my berry bushes have tons of flowers and no bees. didn't see 1 humming bird either. maybe its just a off year. i hope so or I'm never going to get berries from any of my bushes. I'm going to call the cooperative extension to see what they have to say about this. thanks for your input. you folks still roasting down there? i was stationed in el paso when i was in the army.
 
Casie Becker
garden master
Posts: 1406
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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forest garden urban
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Texas always roasts in the summer. Though Austin trades some of the heat in for extra humidity. Still not as bad as Houston. This year hasn't been as bad as I've seen in the past. As much as we've had 100 degrees in the forecast, we've actually stayed under that for most of the summer.

As far as I can tell, we've actually managed to schedule our vacation so that we're going to be out of state for the hottest week of the year. In about two hours we're leaving for Montana.

Do you have much planted other than the berry bushes to draw in the pollinators?
 
steve bossie
Posts: 284
Location: Northern Maine (zone 3b-4a)
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i have planted strips of wildflowers and lupines around the edges of the property and the field next door. all my neighbors have apple trees and various flowers. i have 13 varieties of berry bushes that flower from late april through the summer. i can't see how i could make it more attractive than that! yeah el paso was hot but no humidity. it doesn't get much over 80 in the summer up here but when it does its sticky as hell! just came back from s.c. was 100 and 80% humidity! was glad to come home!
 
Anne Miller
pollinator
Posts: 625
Location: USDA Zone 8a
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We plant known flowers especially for what we want to attract.  Hummingbirds are attracted to red so we try to plant red or orange flowers.  We also put red solo drinking cups on sticks to attract them.  Best wishes on attracting them.
 
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