Monday, January 5, 2009


Something terrible happened in my greenhouse on Saturday.

I have 5 citrus in there for the winter and all are in flower. Their perfume is almost overwhelming. With temperatures around 80 degrees on Saturday I opened the door and all the vents. When I went back in there in the late afternoon it was almost as though I was in the vicinity of a beehive. There were at least 30 bees in there. Some were busy on the flowers but others were up against the back window trying to get out. Apparently they were unable to navigate back through the door. 

I stood there quite helpless not knowing what to do. A felt terrible because I knew they were probably going to die. I left the door open all night but in the morning they were still there clinging to life.
A lesson learnt. I won't leave the door open again. I'll just open the screen in the door. In the past we have had a screech owl, cardinal, Carolina wren, hummingbird, rabbit and umpteen butterflies and moths in there and I struggled to get them out alive. This time I was not successful.


  1. This must have been so upsetting for you - I've heard of people using one of those little hand-vacs to suck up insects and then release them outside, but would that work on 30 bees?

    Some insects only fly to light - if it happens again, you could hook up a strong light outside of the open door and hope they fly to it. How did you get the hummingbird out?

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  2. What a shame. I've contemplated getting a greenhouse for wintering my cacti, but never thought about possible visitors. I'll have to consider that in the design.

  3. There's an idea Annie, although I would be afraid the suction would kill them. I was very careful yesterday to only leave the screen on the door open. There were a couple of bees which came to life in the warmth yesterday. They had bulging pollen sacs. I tried to get them out but didn't succeed.

  4. Commercial citrus growers somtimes rent bee hives to pollinate their orchards. When you overwinter your trees in the greenhouse, do you have trouble with pollination? Hope some of your bees survived - as much as I don't like to run into them when I'm in the garden, I know I need them . . .