It is amazing to know that the honey bee will travel between 2 to 3 miles in search of nectar producing flowers. This distance for a bee to travel is extremely far. Would it not be more beneficial to have a flowering garden closer to home for the bees to pollinate and forage? But what flowering plants are the honey bees attracted to?
Provide the best bee-friendly garden:
- Choose the right plants: When selecting bee-friendly plants for your garden, you want to consider what will be useful for the bees. Flowering plants will be highly melliferous but are they all beneficial for honey bees? They may produce nectar and pollen but the shape and size of the flower may prevent the honey bee from visiting them.
Bees enjoy flowering herbs, berries and many flowering fruits and vegetables but they will also travel through surrounding wildflowers. If you have the space, planting any type of fruit tree or other blooming trees such as maple, tulip poplar, sourwood, willow, black locust, sumac, and basswood are all good food sources for your bees. Look into different nectar producing plants for your state.
- Consider Blooming Season: You will want to offer a range of plants in different blooming seasons. Have an early spring bloom, summer and fall so the bees will have a continuous food source. Some plants will have a short infrequent bloom whereas others will have a long rich bloom. The longer the bloom, the more frequent visits it will receive.
- Weeds and Wildflowers are your Friends: When you have noticed your bees bringing in pollen and nectar but you know your garden is not in bloom, you always wonder where they are getting it from. Look around your yard for dandelions or clover;these are vital plants for bees. Your bees will also forage through the native wildflowers.
- Be Conscious of What You Spray: Many pesticides are toxic and can be harmful or deadly to your bees. If there are no other options to using pesticides, use them in the evening so the field force are not carrying the chemicals back into the hive.Do not place pesticides directly onto blooming flowers and try using less toxic or rapidly degradable pesticides. There are different formulations that can be used to reduce bee exposure (solutions, emulsifiable concentrates, and granulars are the best to use). Mention this to your neighbors as well.