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Honeybee decline

Q. For several summers now, I have noticed plenty of bumblebees in my garden but very few honeybees. What is the reason?

A. The honeybee has been a victim of two different mites—a tracheal mite and a Varroa mite. In addition, severe weather conditions over the past several years have threatened their numbers. There are, however, many other native bees, perhaps not as well-known to gardeners, that are capable of pollinating fruits, vegetables and other crops. Some nest in wood cavities or underground burrows. Before you swat that "strange flying insect" in your yard, make sure it isn't a beneficial pollinator. A few to look for include mason bees, leafcutter bees, digger bees, sweat bees, plasterer bees and the very large bumblebees.