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

Acorns for craft project in Santa Rosa CA
October 05, 2009 - Where can I find mature northern red oaks, northern pin oaks in Santa Rosa, CA 95404 in order to get their cute chubby acorns for a craft project I'm doing?
view the full question and answer

Bark flaking off oaks in New Braunfels, TX
April 12, 2010 - We have several large clusters of oak trees. Some of the trees are losing their bark. The bark is flaking off in fairly large pieces; even on some of the trees that are leafing out. Is this a result o...
view the full question and answer

Distinguishing elm species from volunteers in yard
April 10, 2008 - What's the best way to distinguish young elm tree species apart from one another? We have a bunch coming up in our yard and we're trying to figure out if they are Winged, Cedar or American. Some of ...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Texas Mountain Laurel in Austin
May 02, 2010 - I have an adult (over 25 years?, 20 feet tall?) Mountain Laurel next to my house in Austin. The winter of 2009/10 it lost most of its leaves. It did bloom and leaf out this Spring--not vigorous espec...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing tree for privacy in Berkeley, CA
July 30, 2013 - Help. I need fast growing tree for backyard privacy. Where in Berkeley is there a tree nursery to Buy Pittosporum trees? Thank you.
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