How To Attract Bees To Your Garden
Did you know that bees contribute at least $16 billion to the US economy? That is the value of pollination by these incredible insects.
Pretty amazing right?
Suffice to say you want to have these amazing little creatures in your yard. So lets look at how to attract bees to your garden.
Humans have kept bees for thousands of years for making honey. However, it turns out that besides producing honey, these hardworking insects also play an important role in promoting sustainable agriculture by aiding the process of pollination.
Flowers contain nectar which bees feed on. As the bees collect nectar, they transfer pollen from flower to flower and speed up the pollination process.
Now this is huge:
Since about one third of the global food supply relies on insect pollination, we cannot overlook the contribution of bees to our survival.
Seeing insects around your garden can send shivers down your spine, especially if you’ve had to deal with pests before. This is a perfectly logical response once you take into account the fact that the most harmful garden pests are usually insects.
Then it hit me:
With bees however, you shouldn’t have any worries at all. Bees will not feed on any of your precious crops. They are only interested in nectar and pollen from your flowers.
Furthermore, you are probably going to enjoy better harvests if you allow bees to pollinate your crops.
Taking all these factors into account, it is clear to see that attracting bees into your garden will provide more long-term benefits than driving them away.
You can easily attract bees into your garden using the methods outlined below.
So let’s dive in.
If you don’t have time to read the entire article the short video below might be of use.
Flowers contain nectar and pollen which bees feed on. Having flowers in your garden is therefore an easy way to lure bees. However, the effectiveness of this technique will depend on the type of flowers you choose to grow.
Here are some tips to help you select the best flowers for this task:
Choose wildflowers that are native to where you live.
Bees around your area are more likely to respond to flowers which are familiar to them rather than foreign flowers.
If you have no idea what species of flowers are native to your area, you can do some online research or consult a gardening expert for advice.
Go for flowers that have only one ring of petals rather than those with multiple rings.
Flowers that have a single ring of petals contain more nectar and pollen which makes them an excellent source of food for bees.
Such flowers include hyacinth, marigold, foxglove, dahlias and clover.
Grow purple, yellow, blue or white colors to lure bees.
Bees use their vision to find flowers that are rich in nectar and pollen. Research has shown that bees are more likely to be attracted to purple, yellow, blue and white colors compared to other bright colors such as red, pink and orange.
Examples of such flowers include daisies, lilacs, lavender, sunflower and primrose.
Grow your flowers in clusters to draw the attention of bees.
Bees are more likely to notice large clusters of flowers compared to individual flowers scattered all over the garden since clusters create a more dramatic visual distraction.
For the best results, ensure that your clusters are at least four feet across.
Have A Wide Variety of Flowering Plants
Planting several different species of trees, shrubs, herbs and vegetables will provide bees with a wider variety of flowers to enjoy.
Different plants will bloom during different times of the year and this will ensure that bees have a constant supply of nectar and pollen regardless of the season.
Pretty simple when you think about it, right?
Here are some common flowering plants that bees love:
- Fruits and vegetables – Cucumbers, squash, watermelons, blackberries, strawberries, peppers.
- Herbs – Rosemary, thyme, lavender, sage, fennel, catnip, borage.
- Trees – Southern magnolia, Cherry trees, American basswood, Tulip trees.
Create A Nesting Shelter In Your Backyard
Bees love their privacy, that’s why they love nesting in places that look abandoned.
They will happily create a nest inside old tree stumps, rotting organic matter or thick vegetation because they feel safer in such places.
So how do you do this?
If you have enough space, you can let a small area in your garden remain untended for some time. Allow grass and other plants to grow and let rotting leaves and branches remain on the ground. If you are lucky, bees will notice the neglected area and create a nest there.
Alternatively, you can purchase a ready-made bee house and place it in your backyard to attract bees.
Provide Some Water
Bees can also get dehydrated, especially in hot weather. They will visit your garden frequently if they can access water there. Fill a few shallow dishes with water and place them around your garden close to your flowers.
Since bees can’t land in deep water, you should place some pebbles or twigs inside the water to provide the bees with a dry surface to land on while they drink.
This water should be changed at least once every four days to keep it fresh and clean for the bees.
Avoid Using Pesticides
Pesticides are regarded as the most effective way to deal with garden pests. Unfortunately, most pesticides will kill all crawling and flying bugs regardless of whether they are harmful or beneficial.
Bees will have no chance of surviving in your garden if you use any toxic pesticides. There are several alternative methods of dealing with harmful pests that don’t involve using harmful chemicals.
Pesticides should be used as a last resort when all other methods have failed.
The bottom line is:
If you absolutely have to use pesticides in your garden, use organic pesticides which have been approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Organic pesticides are usually less toxic.
- Bees are generally docile and will only attack when they get provoked. Do not disturb them in their nesting area or go around swatting them for no reason.
- If someone in your family is allergic to bees, it is better to avoid attracting bees to your garden altogether. Allergic reactions to bee stings can be life-threatening, do not take any chances.
- Small children can unknowingly provoke bees when playing, causing them to attack out of self-defense. Teach your kids to respect bees and keep a safe distance from them when playing.