Am noticing fewer honeybees, so far this year, than usual.
Had read that though honeybees are smaller, the ratio of honeybees to bumblebees is typically something close to 20 to 1. So far this year, have noticed just about as many bumblebees as honeybees and the honeybees seem rather smaller than last year. A friend in a large local garden centre says that normally they have lots of bees around the hanging plants when they are put outside. She too says that there are fewer honey bees than usual. She also said that she's seeing a lot of unusually large bumblebees, which is also my impression from my own garden. Perhaps there just seems to be a lot of large bumblebees because there are so few honeybees.
The time when I really notice large numbers of bees is in summer, when I'm deadheading tall nectar perennials like culver's root, purple loosestrife cultivars and globe thistle. It's going to be interesting to see if there are more honeybees around by then.
Did a bit of reading and have an answer to own question: Colony Collapse Disorder. Knew was a problem with bees, but didn't realize it was just with honeybees.
Don't know if it's too early in the growing season to say here yet, but the reduction in number of honeybees since just last year would seem to be dramatic. The ones I've seen so far seem to me, as a gardener, rather small. Are bumblebees actually larger than last year, or is it that we're just seeing so few (and small) honey bees? Just last summer, I was gardening in the middle of bees and the majority of them were certainly normal sized honeybees.
Numbers of bees has been dropping since about mid-1995 for various reasons especially a number of diseases. I've seen this all over the country. Wild bees are rare and most bees that we see belong to established bee keepers.