Has anyone noticed a lack of pollinators this year?

Our south facing heather plants are usually alive with many different types of bees beginning late March. This year has definitely been a slow start, but we are noticing that we haven’t really seen any type of flying bugs anywhere. And nothing at all of note in the heather. Very concerning.

Is anyone else noticing that there are fewer pollinators out there?


We’ve definitely seen a decline in insects of all kinds in the last few years. Remember when you used to drive on the highway and your windshield would end up covered in squashed bugs? It’s been at least a decade since that has been happening here. Many people are calling this the ‘insect apocalypse’.

The insect apocalypse is more nuanced than it first appears (anthropocenemagazine.org)

Insects are vanishing from our planet at an alarming rate. But there are ways to help them | Dave Goulson | The Guardian


I have seen a few big bumblebees, but certainly fewer visitors to the flowers in general this spring. Last year our Cornus mas trees were LOADED with fruit, and although they flowered beautifully this year, we’ve noticed almost no pollinators visiting them. I guess time will tell whether they set much fruit this year.

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We have noticed a decline in pollinators this year. The winter was particularly hard on the bee colonies here this year from what I have heard and read. Also, with the cooler weather we have been having, not so many are out and about. Hoping for better weather and more bees!

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I have also noticed few bees on the blueberries or even just flying around our area. I am hand pollinating the strawberries and my hardy citrus. Hoping for more to appear soon.

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Thanks everyone for your input! With finally getting two whole days strung together that were warm and non rainy, we noticed a few more bees in the heather. Still fewer than normal :cry: and still we appreciate and do whatever we can to support our pollinator friends!

Hi Kim, I doubt very much we have an insect apocalypse here. I still have to clean my windshield after driving the inland highway.
This spring the pollinators are still here, just not as active or plentiful due to a very harsh winter and very slow spring. Many insects love heat and smelly flowers. Last summer I had swarms of bees of all kinds around my California Lilacs, mountain ash during flowering, and many others, This year the California lilac are in the burn pile and the mountain ash are only now starting to flower. Such is life. The california lilacs haave been replaced with something more winnter hardy (and flowery) and the insects will multiply again when it warms up. And on another note the ants have not died off and still try to get into the house where it is warmer!

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Hey John, my windshields used to be splattered all over, and the grill too on the front of the car when driving the inland highway. It’s rare any bugs are splattered on mine now. Maybe you are more fastidious in your cleaning than me!

I certainly agree about the harsh winter and slow spring dissuading bugs and slugs. Still, for sure there is a massive decline in all kinds of bugs here and around the world, due to intensive farming practices, monocultures, insecticides everywhere, and the changing climate. Studies have shown this for years, and now it’s becoming more obvious to we non-scientists. As another example, I am a person particularly attractive to mosquitoes and didn’t used to be able to sit outside in the evenings because of being constantly bitten all over. Now though, I can sit outside and there is nary a bite. Not that I enjoy being bitten!

I can see Kim we should get together for some lively debate.
I am skeptical that most insects locally, regionally or globally are in decline. I am a scientist and have worked in intensive agriculture and seen all kinds of insects present in Ont, Man, Sask, Ab and BC over the last 40 yrs or so. I have been well munched on by mosquitoes horse flies, deer flies etc consistently. Ag production didnt seem to bother them. Perhaps the scientist from University of Sussex that you have cited needs a tour?
Also over the last 40 plus years I worked on soil and environmental matters in the Canadian boreal forest and tundra. Now if you want to see insect diversity and get eaten I strongly. recomment you visit either area with a bottle of deet in hand. perhaps if southern England is so lacking in bugs now we could. export a few of ours. We have more than enough. :smile:

I hope you’re right, John! I have no desire to be attacked by bugs but do worry about the loss of biodiversity and all the rest of it.

me too Kim……and I am an eternal optimist with respect to the resilience of nature, having worked with it (not against it) for so long.

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WIth the cool weather and rainy days this spring, has anyone started hand pollinating any fruit trees, strawberry flowers, etc? I’m also concerned with the lack of pollinators in my gardens this year!

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I tried hand pollinating a pear tree last year with not much luck. I might just give it another go if I have some spare time and it’s not too nasty out there…don’t think there is a downside to trying!

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