Hi everyone, I’ve noticed a few times that a plant I will have in my garden which is rarely bumble-visited will be covered in bees in someone else’s garden, and vice versa. For example, I had a Salvia which I bought from a garden centre specifically because it was obviously a bee magnet but it never had the same effect in my garden.
Sometimes I write this off by saying that there must be something else flowering which is more interesting but I wondered if anyone else had noticed this and if there were other factors that made plants more or less desirable?
Yes, I agree that this sort of frustrating thing happens !
A few years ago we had a reasonably flourishing and flowering Verbena bonariensis plant for a couple of years. I expected to get lots of bee visitors, but I don’t think that any bees ever visited it - yet I’d seen BBs very active on this plant elsewhere.
So, my theory is that firstly the bees have to find the plant, secondly that the plant has to be secreting nectar when they inspect it (which brings it’s own rate control steps like temperature and moisture availability), thirdly, probably there have to be the right type of bee around too; and fourthly there should be no better competitive flowers already being worked.
And I’ve also noticed that everyday garden hybrid Salvias are sometimes ignored and other times worked freely: but in my garden they don’t seem to last long either.
I imagine that some of the factors you mention have been studied already - I seem to remember an article about nectar replenishment rates and bee pheremones - perhaps someone at Stirling could find us some detail on it?
I suppose the more scented flowers you have in your garden ‘advertising’ it, the more likely the bees are to find what you’ve got planted.
There’s probably something around nest proximity too - I’ve got an echinacea which is being visited by loads of white tailed bees at the moment, but I see them flying off and they seem to be going miles away to their nests, which has redoubled my plans for building in nest sites to the garden!