Here are eight simple ways to attract more bees—both native bees and honey bees—to your garden.[list icon=”plus”]
- Plant species that bloom in sequence. Just like any animal, bees need a constant supply of food. A garden containing blossoms throughout spring, winter, and fall will attract the greatest number of bees.
- Plant in clumps. It is easier to attract bees to a group of flowers than to a single flower. Each bee likes to collect pollen and/or nectar from many flowers of the same type.
- To attract a diversity of bees, plant species of many shapes and colors. Some bees—such as honey bees—don’t see much on the red end of the spectrum, so go heavier on the blues, whites, and yellows.
- Avoid highly inbred flowers. Clues to inbreeding include variegated flowers, flowers of unusual color, great size, long blooming period, or flowers known as “doubles” or “triples” with multiple sets of petals. In an effort to get particular effects, plant breeders often sacrifice the quality of nectar and pollen.
- Leave bare patches of earth. Many bees live beneath the ground or use mud for building. Mud not covered with mulch is essential.
- Maintain a “wild space” somewhere near your garden where grasses and weeds are allowed to grow to full height and remain undisturbed all winter long. Such an area provides habitat, nesting material, and shelter to wild bees.
- Provide a water source. All living things need water, and bees are no exception.
- Forget the pesticides and buy yourself a hoe. It’s better for them and better for you.