Where did the bees go?


I have noticed this year I hardly have any bees. I’m wondering if this is a Toronto-wide problem (or bigger) or if it’s just me. I haven’t changed much in my garden – still lots of perennials that they used to love. But, for instance, last year they were all over my chive flowers and this year I’d be lucky to see one or 2. I’ve noticed a lack of honey bees and bumble bees. I’m sad! Is there anything more I can do? I have some asters, monarda and black eyed Susan that will bloom soon but I just don’t know if that will help. Thanks!


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners with your inquiry.

You are correct in your observations. I’ve not seem many pollinators so far this spring/summer, either. Bumblebees like honeybees are declining due to habitat loss, disease, pesticide use and climate change. Planting a variety of native plants which link up directly to native pollinators’ needs are four times more likely to attract native bees. Mass planting a single plant will allow pollinators to collect pollen and nectar more efficiently. If you are interested in attracting a variety of pollinators to your garden Native Plants for Pollinators is an excellent resource.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Farming and Rural Affairs has some great resources herefor gardeners interested in helping pollinator populations.

If you really want to get involved, the site bumblebeewatch.org allows you to contribute to the science of bumble bee conservation by reporting sightings. This site also has a great range of resources on bumble bees as well as a range of guides and information on pollinator conservation.

Lastly, additional plants that may be of interest to you, as well as other strategies to attract pollinators are set out in Pollinator Garden: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide.