Bee Friendly GardeningBees are the most effective pollinators in the world and are an invaluable resource to our planet.
One of the best ways to attract bees is to provide them with food. Their food comes from the nectar and pollen of flowers. Nectar is full of sugars that provide the bee with energy and pollen provides a diet of proteins and fats. Bees have a seasonal emergence, which means that bees emerge out of their nests at different times of the year. A bee’s emergence is timed to when the native plants are flowering but they do visit non-native plants as well. When planting a garden it is very important to plant native perennials along with selection of other non-natives. The bigger the variety the more wildlife you will get. Also be sure to plant your perennials in a succession of flowers to provide food for the whole season. Bees also need a water supply. Honey and bumble bees will extract minerals and salts from a puddle of water.
Creating A Bee Friendly Garden
Imagine going into the grocery store and you can’t find any grapes, strawberries, melons or tomatoes. Since 2006 more than 70% of some bee populations have died out as a result of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). One third of our natural food supply depends on pollination by bees. You can help restore the bee population by creating a bee friendly garden.
Create a diverse landscape for your bees to enjoy.
1- Bee Friendly Plants
A larger diversity of plants will support more bees. Attract bees with nectar and pollen producing plants.
Think Native when designing your garden! Native plants are 4 times more likely to attract pollinators.
Choose a variety of blooming plants for each season. You want to keep a steady supply of pollen and nectar. Bees are active until they retreat in their hives for the winter.
Bees prefer single blossom flowers than double blossom flowers. (Such as impatiens.) Single blossom flowers provide more nectar and pollen, and it’s easier for the bees to get too.
Perfect Plants for Bees: (N= Native)
Annuals: Asters (N), Clover (N), Dandelions, Marigolds, Poppies, Zinnias, & Sunflowers
Perennials: Clematis, Echinacea (N), Foxglove, Geraniums (N), Hollyhocks, Roses, Sedum, & Asters (N)
Garden Plants: Blackberries, Cantaloupe, Cucumbers, Peppers, Raspberries, Squash, Strawberries, & Watermelons
Herbs: Beebalm. Catnip, Cilantro, Fennel, Lavender, Mints. Thyme, Sage, Dill, Oregano & Rosemary
Shrubs & Trees: Butterfly Bush, Honeysuckle, Mountain Laurel (N), Azalea (N), American Holly, Maples (N), Magnolia, Fruit Trees, & Tulip Trees
2- Water Source
Bees need a constant source of fresh water. You can provide a pond, a fountain or a small shallow dish. The easiest way to add a water source is using a shallow dish or bowl. Add some rocks and sticks in dish so the bees have somewhere to land while they drink water. Make sure to keep your water fresh and avoid contamination from pesticides that may be used in the garden.
3- NO Pesticides or Herbicides
Many pesticides and herbicides are toxic and deadly to the bee population. Many leave residues for days or weeks. Some evidence suggests fungicides can be harmful as well.
Avoid pesticides as much as possible, but if you need to spray here are a few key pointers:
1- “Product Selection” Choose the least toxic option available. DO NOT use dusts.
2- “Method” Keep the pesticide on target. Avoid windy/breezy days because the product will drift into areas you don’t want. Adjust nozzle to spray as close as possible to the affected areas.
3- “Timing” Best time to apply is when crops ARE NOT IN BLOOM & LATE EVENING or EARLY MORNING. Late evening is preferred. Bees are active from 8 AM to 5 PM. Also avoid dewy or wet foliage because it will take longer to dry.
DO NOT contaminate their water supply by product drift.
4- Creating a Home
- Leave a sunny spot uncultivated for native bees to burrow
- For wood and stem nesting bees provide piles of branches, bamboo sections, and hollow reeds to create a home
- Mason Bees need a source of water and mud for their homes
- Bees are attracted to weedy, untended hedgerows
More Helpful Information:
- Provide shelter from wind, and rain for bees.
- They are attracted to blue, purple and yellow.
- Triple your yield of fruit/ vegetables by adding bee friendly plants
- Plant your plants in groups of 5 or more
- Do not buy plants that contain neonicotinoids, most are found at big box stores. Such as Home Depot, Walmart and Lowes.
Come By and Check Out Our Hives!!! We have 5 Honey Bee Hives on the Town & Country Property.