It did indeed prove too late for the bee tubes I set out. I brought them inside so they'll be fresh for next year. I'll plan to set them out early next spring - March, I guess.
In the meantime I've turned into a bee watcher. I don't see many butterflies in my yard, but I have lots of bees! When my Penstemon digitalis started blooming I began to notice that there were always bumblebees hovering over the white tube-like flowers. I began watching more closely, and saw bees disappearing into the flowers, emerging a few seconds later to fly on to the next flower. It became a sight that delighted me: the glove-like fit between the flower and the bee, the idea that each is benefiting from the bee's visit.