Here are eight simple ways to attract bees—both native bees and honey bees—to your garden.
- Plant flower species that bloom in sequence. Just like any animal, bees need a constant supply of food, so a garden containing blossoms throughout spring, summer, and fall will attract the greatest number of bees.
- Plant in clumps. Because bees like to collect pollen and/or nectar from many flowers of the same type, it is easier to attract bees to a group of flowers than a single flower.
- To attract a diversity of bees, select 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. But other pollinators, such as hummingbirds, love red.
- 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. but if the mud is covered with mulch, they may not be able to find it.
- 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. Logs and twigs attract bees, too. 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. And for the bees’ safety, place rocks or marbles in the water so bees have a place to stand. Remember, bees are not good swimmers!
- Forget the pesticides and buy yourself a hoe. It’s better for them and better for you.
Honey Bee Suite