Where are the Bees and Butterflies?

Bees on Echinacea July 22 2018 sm
First time this year I was able to spot and capture an image of bees in the Echinacea patch.

I’ve noticed a marked drop in the numbers of bees and butterflies around my patch this spring and summer.  I heard very little buzzing around the early spring Crocus, Scilla and Chionodoxa; in our front yard/field, where we put off spring mowing until after the first flush of dandelion blooms, I noticed very few pollinator visitors.  Although my broccoli leaves are very holey and appear well eaten by caterpillars I’m not seeing nearly  as many white cabbage butterflies as last year (perhaps this, though, is a good thing?).

Whereas last year there were Monarch and Swallowtails wherever you turned, this year I can count with the fingers of one hand the number of large butterflies I’ve seen.

Perhaps it’s just too early for the butterflies.  Perhaps, even though I let the dill and parsley grow and go to seed to provide food, and encourage milkweed all over the place, their pupae were affected by our cold spring.  Bee producers in various parts of Canada and the U.S. have reported larger than usual winter die-off of bee colonies, thanks in part to the cold spring.  Maybe that’s why there’s not many bees around here, as well.

Perhaps, in the grand cycle of life, this is an off year and things will rebound in August and next spring.

dill seed heads
Swallowtail butterflies, in particular, seem to love munching on dill foliage.  I let a large patch spring up this year (self seeding from last year) but haven’t spotted a single caterpillar showing down.



  1. I know where the bees are! They are HERE! We had not one, not two, but THREE hives that needed to be removed from old buildings. Two hives were removed only a few months ago. (They went to good homes.) The big sycamore that broke apart earlier in the Park has two hives in it. (That is another topic.)
    Butterflies are a bit different though. There are more of the rare types, but the common skippers are noticeably absent.

    Liked by 1 person

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