They may be small, but bees play a huge role in our eco-system. Colossal, in fact. They are one of our key pollinators, a group of insects responsible for the production of one third of all the food we eat.
A good first step in attracting honey bees is to provide a natural habitat for bees. You can do this by leaving a small pile of brush near the edge of your property or a stump or hollow log. Honey bees love these to construct a home for the winter. If you’re brave enough put an old clay pot in your garden, they might just build a hive in it!
Another good idea is to use honeycomb frames. You can ask a local beekeeper for some. Place the frames near your gardens. This will attract the bees as they love the honeycomb to snack on!
If you live in an area which is too cold to keep a stingless hive there are still many other native bees that can help with pollination. Often they are solitary species which don’t congregate in a hive but nonetheless they will still be attracted to your garden if it is full of flowers ladened with pollen and nectar.
Honey bees have short tongues compared to other insects, so prefer shallow flowers where the nectar is easy to access. Plant a large variety of flowers that will attract the honey bees to your gardens. By planting a mix of plants, which flower throughout the year, you’re giving bees a regular food supply. This will encourage them to stay, feed, drink, shelter and even reproduce in your garden.
Here are the best plant to attract bees and other pollinators in your garden:
– In a formal garden, lavender may be clipped to form a low hedge or an aromatic border along a path. In a rock garden, a single plant or just a few plants may be used to great effect as an accent. And, of course, lavender is a natural choice for any herb garden.
Flowers contain lots of nectar, so are attractive to bees.
The Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
– Buddleia (also known as Buddleija and, Butterfly bush) are very easy to grow either from seed, cuttings, or small shrubs, but once established some varieties will grow to be quite tall (about 10 feet), so you will need somewhere spacious with plenty of sunshine, and if possible some protection from the wind.
The plant is available in shades of white, yellow, pink, red, blue and purple, and gives off a sweet smell which attracts both birds and pollinators including bees and butterflies.
– Also called Hyssop or Hummingbird Mint, all Agastache have nectar rich flowers. The orange and pink-flowered Agastache are highly attractive to hummingbirds, while the blue-flowered Agastache are a favorite of butterflies and bees.
If you grow Lavender and Penstemon successfully, you will enjoy growing Agastache as well.
– Marjoram has beautiful fragrant leaves that can be used in cooking. It is generally a trouble free herb to grow. As well as being grown for its aromatic leaves Marjoram is a good plant for Bees who love the pink and white flowers. It is suitable for pot-growing on the windowsill.
– Salvia plants like full sun. They grow well in average or better soil, but the soil should drain well. Add a general purpose fertilizer when planting them, then once a month after that.
This perennial is not only very low maintenance but it also attracts bees and butterflies.
– Nepeta is a cute blue-hued flower that is similar to both lavender and nettle. It adapts well to most climates, even cold and damp areas.
Nepeta is among the best bee friendly plants. If you want to see which pollinators are currently present in the surroundings, go straight to your nepeta plants.
DO NOT USE PESTICIDES! They will kill the honey bees!!