En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Decline of pollinating bees around Mexican plums

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - March 19, 2007

From: Driftwood, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Decline of pollinating bees around Mexican plums
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Dr. Smarty Plants While out working in my yard (about nine miles southwest of the Wildfower Center) this morning, I became aware that there was no sound of bees buzzing. I checked our Mexican Plum, which is in full bloom, and found no bees but lots of flying insects that I had had not noticed prior to this. They have slim bodies with orange/brown legs and metallic-green wings. Any ideas as to what they could be - and why we have so few bees this spring? Thanking you in advance,

ANSWER:

From your description I can't identify the insects that are visiting your Mexican plum. I did take a look at one of the Mexican plums at the Wildflower Center and saw some honey bees and smaller wild bees buzzing around it, but didn't see insects that looked like your description. Many of the small bees in the Order Hymenoptera, Family Halictidae, Sweat Bees, have greenish highlights and do serve as pollinators. Flies (Order Diptera) are also pollinators of many plants and come in a variety of colors.

Domestic honeybees have experienced declining populations for the past 50 years or so. This has created great concern for the future of food crops that are dependent on bees for pollination. The major contributor to the bees decline appears to be parasitism by mites and diseases transmitted by the mites. Improper use of pesticides and timing of their applications have also contributed to the decline. You can hear about efforts in the San Francisco area to increase the numbers of native bees as presented on National Public Radio.

 

More Trees Questions

Ground cover under trees from Austin
November 03, 2012 - I need ground cover plants that can tolerate leaf litter and grow under oak tree shade.
view the full question and answer

Cypress poisonous to livestock from Arlington, TN
December 06, 2012 - Are green giant cypress poisonous to livestock?
view the full question and answer

Placement of lemon cypress tree in Miami, FL
May 25, 2008 - Where is the best place to have a lemon cypress tree? indoors or out? Presently in south Miami climate, Scott's potting soil, clay pot, with good drainage.
view the full question and answer

Control of Juniperus ashei
August 08, 2007 - We have just purchased 2 acres in Burnet County at an elevation of 1604 feet above sea level. The land is almost flat, bedrock, with lots of Juniper, Cactus Apple and between these plants grasses and...
view the full question and answer

Distance of oak tree to existing driveway in San Antonio
July 07, 2009 - How close can I plant a live oak tree (15 gal) next to an existing driveway. I have about 3 feet space to plant between a fence and a driveway. This is the best spot to provide future shade. My concer...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center