After a month and a half of blooming, my Hypericum shrubs are winding down. Known commonly as St. John’s wort, Hypericum is a genus of annuals, perennials and shrubs with 31 species that are native to Georgia. I have written about this genus before, so I won’t repeat, but these plants always highlight for me the support that bumble bees need.
|Bumble bees on Prenanthes|
|Bumble bee on Agastache|
The nest is only used for one year, and the workers die over the winter. I hope one day to find a nest (even an old one). I feel sure that there is probably one somewhere on my property given how many worker bees that I see. You can see a good picture of a nest here.
There are several recent articles out lately about bumble bee population declines and the trend is disturbing. Bees are being affected by pesticide use via the movement of pesticides through the nectar and pollen that they collect. In addition, a study on insect response to climate change shows that they are less likely to move north even while their populations are diminishing in their southern ranges.
I have noticed what other flowers that bumble bees visit in my yard. They include anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), Eupatorium, rattlesnakeroot (Prenanthes) and some of the non-native herbs that I grow like oregano, catnip and basil. If you grow those herbs, let them go to flower every now and then and see what you get. Their tiny flowers are just perfect for bumbles. Holly (Ilex spp.) flowers are also so popular that I tell people not to plant hollies if they don’t like bees.
|Bumble bee on Eupatorium|
|Bumble bee on Hypericum|
Bumble bees are worth supporting and provide a lot of important pollination services. If you would like to support them, observe what flowers they visit already and add more or try one of the ones mentioned here.