I think by now everyone knows that most of our plants that provide us with food need bees to pollinate them. Some, like peas don’t but for the most part vegetables,fruits,nuts,and trees need pollinating to produce.
I am fairly certain that most folks also know that bee colonies are in decline. That is a pretty scary thought. If we need pollinators to produce food and the pollinators are in decline, how long till food production declines?
As we begin a new growing season, if you garden, whether flowers, trees or food lets think of the bees and provide them with plenty of pesticide free pollen and nectar. Maybe we can make a difference in their decline rate and get a more abundant garden at the same time.
There are many different trees, flowers,shrubs,herbs and vegetables that bees are attracted to. So just about anyone with any kind of yard can provide some food for the bees.I have made a list of several plants, trees and shrubs that do best at attracting the bees. There is also a commercial honey bee attractant that will bring them and only the honey bee. Honeybees can not see the color red and seem to prefer blue or violet colors so you can even just go with the color to help pick out flowers.
If you wish to have them stay around you could take up beekeeping if it is allowed in your area. Giving them a home and plenty of food would help them be safe. Providing shallow containers of water with rocks or stones tall enough to poke above the water line to provide landing spots would help them as well. Planting flowers in clusters with different shaped flowers is something that helps attract them too. After all who doesn’t like a buffet.
List of some of the many bee attracting plants,trees and shrubs.
BUSHES – Butterfly bush, Rose of Sharon, Rhododendron, American lilac, Wild cherry.
FLOWERS – Sunflowers, Geraniums, Zinnia, Impatiens, Poppy.
FRUITS – Melons, Blackberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Buckwheat.
HERBS – Bee Balm, Lavender, Primrose, Borage, Cilantro, dill, basil.
TREES – Most fruit trees, Maples, Cherry, Apple, Peach, Almond, Crabapple, Redbuds, Crape myrtle.
VEGETABLES – Cucumbers ,Summer squash, Pumpkin, Gourds, Early salad greens (If you let them go to seed, you can do some seed saving after they flower too)