En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Tree that will not interfere with hardscape in San Diego
February 07, 2009 - I am looking for a small tap root tree that will reach max height of 20-25 ft. The area is only about 4 to 6 ft. to the house slab or driveway which I need to be very careful so it doesn't crack the...
view the full question and answer

Double trunks on bur oaks in Houston
March 15, 2010 - I am involved in a garden club propagation project. One of the trees we have had success propagating is the Bur Oak. Two of these baby Bur Oaks have multi trunks..one has two and the other has three....
view the full question and answer

Evergreen tree for Phoenix
November 17, 2013 - I need your help. I'm looking for a pretty evergreen tree for my small front yard in Phoenix. One that is not horribly messy and doesn't get wider that 10 - 15 ft. I want to be able to decorate at...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a bald cypress from Houston
December 10, 2012 - We would like to transplant a bald cypress from front yard to back. It is about 10 ft tall, 3" trunk diameter, 2-1/2 years old and in good health. Any idea how large the root ball might need to be du...
view the full question and answer

Fruit trees for South Austin.
January 25, 2008 - I live in South, South Austin, just a pinch West of 35 near 1626. I would like to plant some fruit trees in the back yard. Anyone will sell fruit trees, but they don't always grow. What fruiting var...
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