Creating a bee-friendly garden can be easy and fun, but it’s vital to do your research before starting. If you’re interested in increasing the number of bees in your area, consider incorporating these five tips into your gardening routine:
Grow Fragrant Flowers
Not only do bees love to feed on fragrant flowers, but they also use the scent as a way to communicate with other bees. Plant some of your favorite scented flowers in your garden, and you’ll be sure to attract lots of bees. Some examples include honeysuckle, jasmine, and sweet alyssum.
Get a Little Wild
Bees love to roll around in pollen, and they’ll often do this on the ground. Consider growing wildflowers such as Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Common Knapweed, Red Campion, and Common Poppy. If you want to attract more bees, consider using bee bombs in your yard. They are small hand-made balls containing wildflower seeds that will sprout when thrown on your lawn or garden. You can find seeds at most gardening stores or online. Planting these flowers in succession throughout the season will ensure your garden is buzzing with bees.
Plant a succession of blooms
Bees love to feast on a variety of flowers, so planting a succession of blooms is a great way to attract them to your garden. Choose plants that will bloom sequentially throughout the season, so you’ll always have something new for the bees to enjoy. Some bee-friendly favorites include lavender, black-eyed Susans, and zinnias.
Bees need water to survive, so consider adding a birdbath or other water feature such as bee bars to your yard. This will give bees a reliable source of fresh drinking water in addition to the moisture they’ll get from flowers and plants in your garden. Don’t worry about providing too much—bees prefer small clean, clear water sources free from chemicals and other contaminants.
Bees have a natural aversion to wind, so consider adding some overhead cover or refuge for your garden. It can be anything from a large umbrella to an old tree branch laid across the ground; make sure it provides shade without blocking out all sunlight. You may even want to consider planting some climbing vine that will provide shelter for your bees.
You can provide food for bees in your garden by planting different varieties of flowers and herbs that will flower at different times throughout the season—and don’t forget to add a few annuals such as marigolds since they’ll keep coming back year after year. Many vegetables also attract bees, so consider adding strawberries, tomatoes, or zucchini to your garden.
Attract Other Pollinators
Bees are not the only insects that benefit from a bee-friendly garden; you can attract butterflies, moths, and hummingbirds by creating an environment where they’ll feel at home. Use different colors, shapes, and textures to draw in various pollinators so that you can enjoy the wildlife all year long.
Go Easy on the Chemicals
You don’t have to be an organic gardener to attract bees, but you must avoid using chemicals whenever possible. If you must use pesticides on your garden plants, try to apply them early in the morning or late at night when bees are less active—and never spray blooming flowers with anything other than soap and water.
Leave Some Weeds
Some types of weeds are great for plants that attract bees, such as dandelions—so don’t be afraid to let some grow in your garden. Not only will these provide a good source of water and shelter for the bees, but they’ll also beautify your yard with vibrant blooms. However, avoid planting invasive weed species such as Japanese knotweed, giant hogweed, and purple loosestrife.
Create a Bug Hotel
Build a simple bug hotel using twigs or bamboo canes filled with carefully drilled holes in which you can tie small bundles of hay or straw. This is the perfect way to attract mason bees, which are efficient pollinators since they tend to visit two different plants when looking for food.
You might also consider purchasing a beehive if there aren’t any local beekeepers in your area that will rent out hives to you. This is a great way to get involved with beekeeping, and it’s also good for the environment since these busy insects are known for being efficient pollinators that live by visiting two different plants when looking for food. However, Be sure to check with your local beekeeping association before doing this, as some areas have restrictions on where to place these hives.
If you want a garden filled with lots of bees from spring through autumn, then be sure to try some of these tips.