Friday, September 3, 2010

Do bees chase butterflies?

Someone emailed me this question and I thought I would share it, hoping to find an answer for her:

Question: I have lots of container plants to attract butterflies and bees, both larval-host and nectar plants. Blue hyssop especially seems to draw a great variety and number of bees and now I don't see as many butterflies around. I wonder whether the bees are scaring off butterflies. Yesterday I observed what seemed to be a bee chasing a butterfly away from a flower blossom. Have you ever heard of this?

From Martha M.

My answer: Hi Martha. I know I have seen bumblebees and other insects that come to my flowers chasing off hummingbirds, but I have never seen it with bees and butterflies. Even with hummingbirds, I think it is more the hummingbirds flying away than the wasps actually chasing.

I do know that certain WASPS actually eat caterpillars. I was really surprised the first time that I saw it, but I know that a lot more of my caterpillars are just disappearing and I think it is the wasps.


I told Martha that I would post the question in hopes of finding someone with a little more knowledge on the subject. Soooooo, has anyone else ever noticed butterflies and bees competing for the same plants? If so, can bees actually hurt butterflies? I'd sure love to know the answer myself.


  1. my husband and i wittnessed a bee chasing a humming bird from a feeder. I have my to husband to verify that the bee was chasing the humming bird (appox. 5 feet 3 or 4 times), we were both surprised. so I went on line to verify, this has been seem before. Wish we had video!

  2. My husband and I have observed bees chasing butterflies away from the blossoms on our butterfly bush. We were surprised and at first thought it was coincidental. Today we were watching again - and it happened again. Repeatedly. The blossom would light on a flower with the bee hovering off to the side. As soon as the butterfly settled, the bee zoomed directly at the butterfly. The butterfly flew off to another flower. The bee repeated its earlier action. We saw this repeatedly this AM. This afternoon it appears to be happening again.


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