The year of the bumblebee

One of our bumblebees

See that fuzzy dark blob in the lower foreground? That’s one of our friendly local bumblebees, doing good pollination work on a shrub in the front yard of the Manse. (By the way, do you know how hard it is to take a good picture of a bumblebee? They move faster than you’d think!)

If you’ve borne with me here at Meanwhile, at the Manse through the past couple of summers, you’ll probably recall me reporting multiple times on the wasps that were plaguing us. Raymond is highly allergic to wasp stings, so it’s no fun at all when lots of them are buzzing around the Manse – or, as happened one ghastly afternoon early last summer, inside one of the bedrooms. This year, I am extremely happy to report (and I am touching wood as I do so), the wasp activity has been minimal. I gather they like hot, dry weather, and perhaps all the coldness and wetness of this past neverending winter and late-arriving spring has put a damper (so to speak) on them. To which I can only say: good.

Big fat bumblebee

Here’s another big fat bumblebee that I captured in flight in Queensborough the other day.

But I’ve noticed what seems (to my unpractised eye, anyway) like more activity than usual on the bumblebee front. There are a lot of them around. I’ve always liked bumblebees and the happy, slow buzzing sound they make as they do good work for us all by pollinating our plants and flowers, so to me this is a good state of affairs. (Also, I gather they’re not much for stinging, which is excellent news for Raymond.)

In the front yard of the Manse there is an elderly shrub that at this time of year, after coming out of winter hibernation, has a lot of pink flowers on it. (Of course I haven’t the vaguest idea what it is, being the rookiest of rookie gardeners; I’m hoping knowledgeable readers might enlighten me on that front, so here is a photo of it that I took this evening:

Front-yard shrub

Can you name this shrub? (Because lord knows I can’t.)

Anyway, that shrub is absolutely alive with bumblebees these days. There’s a constant buzzing in it, as three or four of them at a time bumble along from bloom to bloom, pollinating their heads off. As we all know, the disappearance of bees and thus of their essential-to-all-life pollinating work is an alarming situation, so I have nothing but good will toward the bees busily buzzing in our front yard.

In other words: Go bumblebees go!

10 thoughts on “The year of the bumblebee

  1. Hi Katherine, Your shrub looks like my honeysuckle and you are right. Mine is also full of bumblebees this year. Carol

    • Hi Carol! I thought it might be honeysuckle, but I was under the impression that honeysuckle has a sweet scent, and this shrub doesn’t seem to have any scent whatsoever. Maybe later in the season? Anyway, I’m glad to hear you’ve seen lots of bumblebees too.

  2. Carol, I was just about to guess honeysuckle shrub; mine is a vine but the flowers are similar. Any humming birds in the shrub? Our lilacs were full of bees this year, and now that the lupines are coming out, they’ve moved to that area. I hate to tell you Katherine, but wasps tend to make their presence known in August and September.

    • Oh dear, Pauline (re the wasps) – but I will say that for the last two years we’ve had wasps all over the place all summer long, so just not seeing much of them early in the year this time around is a great relief. Fingers crossed that they stay away…

  3. Honeysuckle. Can be a vine or a shrub. Hummingbirds love it. Yes, I also notice more bumblebees around.

    • That’s interesting, John. Maybe the bumblebees have migrated a little bit north of you, to the Queensborough-Tweed sector. But yes, it’s good to know they’re around and doing their important work, wherever it may be!

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