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Creating a Bee Friendly Environment

Posted October 14th, 2016 by Robin Nichols in

beesCreating a bee friendly environment will help your yard and garden. Bees will pollinate your vegetable garden, fruit trees and bushes. Bee pollination will also help your garden plants and trees grow larger and tastier fruits and vegetables. These tips will help create a bee friendly environment for your yard and garden.

Plant Flowering Plants in Large Clusters

Bees like to buzz from one flower to the next in short order. They instinctively look for large clusters of flowers so they can get more nectar per minute of work. Mother Nature has designed the bee to be a highly efficient worker and this helps them be even more efficient.

Flowers to Plant

daisiesDaisy-like flowers tend to attract bees better than tubular flowers because most species of bees have an easier time getting to the nectar. But some tubular flowers like foxglove will attract certain species of native bees. There is no hard fast rule about what type of flowers to plant. The key point to remember is to plant a wide variety of different colors, shapes, and sizes. This attracts more bees and even better, it attracts more bee species.

Try to avoid flowers that have been too “inbred.” Over time, the nectar quality can become compromised as the growers try to create unusual traits in the flowers. Signs of this include variegated varieties and flowers that seem unnaturally large or have an unnatural color.

Plant Sequentially Blooming Flowers

If all of your flowers bloom in the spring and none of them bloom in the fall your yard won’t be attractive for bees. Bees communicate with each other and know how to locate the spots containing flowers that bloom continuously for several months.

Provide Shelter and a Place to Nest

Many people enjoy the convenience of living close to a grocery store. So do bees, but their version of a grocery store is flowering plants. Provide bees with shelter and food and it will quickly become a popular location for them. Leaving a large patch of natural vegetation helps create a great bee habitat. This should be an area that isn’t mowed, doesn’t have the sticks removed or the leaves racked.

If this isn’t possible try leaving an area of barren dirt or mud near the blooming plants. Bees like to burrow underground and will gravitate to the location. If you live in an urban area, providing bee houses is a possible option. Just to be safe check your neighborhood or city by-laws before doing it. You can find a wide variety of bee houses at your local garden center or through an online retailer. If you enjoy a project, a quick Internet search will reveal numerous plans for building your own bee house.

Native Plants Attract Native Bees

The bee population is declining for reasons are not yet completely understood. Entire bee colonies are being lost to a mysterious phenomenon called “colony collapse disorder” (CCD). You can help improve the native bee population by planting flowering plants that are native to your region. To determine the best native plants for your area, contact a local nursery or extension office.

Want more information? Read these articles:

Alternative “Garden Hives” for the Gardener Seeking Honeybee Pollination

Attracting Beneficial Insects to Your Garden

Chaos in the Garden and the Necessity of Biodiversity

How to Make a Bee Friendly Garden

Is Organic Gardening For You?

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