We understand that many people are concerned about getting stung by bees. Some people are even allergic, but pollinators - bees in particular - are so important to Mother Nature. They're even critical to how we live our every day lives. It's important to consider plants that attract pollinators when you're ready to plant your garden.
I know what you're thinking "but I don't want to have to worry about getting stung by bees when I'm outside enjoying a beautiful day, or even worse -when I have company". I get it. But trust me, all day I work around flowers, even in flower beds when I'm dead heading that have bees buzzing all around. Truth be told, I've only been stung twice in my life! Once as a little kid when I accidentally leaned on a yellow jacket (OUCH! THAT SMARTED!!) and once in my 12 year career when I went to deadhead a flower and accidentally grabbed a bee. (Ok, I'm definitely asking to get stung now!)
Usually if you see a bee, all you have to do to avoid getting stung is leave it alone. Even yellow jackets that can get somewhat aggressive in the fall are only likely to sting you if you bother them.
Having bees around is a really good thing. Bees are vital to many crops we consume every day. Some important crops are:
And Plums just to name a few.
According to the Pollinator Partnership http://pollinator.org/learning-center/bee-issues
the US has lost over 50% if it's managed colonies of honeybees in the past 10 years. (Pretty scary, isn't it?!) That's why having a healthy garden where bees can gather pollen and transfer it from one plant to another is so important.
Bees topically travel about 4 miles from the hive to gather pollen, but they have been known to travel up to 7 miles. Over time, colonies grow and new hives form. This is critical to keep the
plants pollinated that we depend on for ourselves and also that we feed our livestock. This is essentially important as Hurricanes grow in strength and continue to ravage certain areas. Bee keepers in Puerto Rico are desperately struggling to maintain it's bee population after devastating Hurricane Maria which left 1 million people without power.
You can help without any effort at all. There are flowers that are very popular among humans and bees alike!
PLANTS BEES LOVE:
Coneflower (especially popular with our Shoreline clients!)
Butterfly weed (also great for attracting - you guessed it - butterflies!)
Black Eyed Susan
GROW A DIVERSE BLOOMING GARDEN
Choose a variety of plants so that there's always something blooming in your garden. From early spring annuals to fall favorites such as mum's there are plenty of opportunities to plant for pollinators. By doing this, you're always creating a food source for bees.
Studies show that bees prefer certain colors. When selecting plants, choose lots of blue, yellow and purple to attract bees. Popular flowers include Zinnia, Snapdragon, Daisies, Nepeta, Bee Balm (of course!), and lavender (told you it was easy!). Never ever have I had in over 12 years of professional Landscaping had anyone say "EEEW! Lavender! Please make sure you keep that OUT of my garden!".
Single flowers - those with just one ring of petals - make it easier for bees to reach the pollen. Even better are those with a nice, cushy center. Flowers such as Daisies, Gaillardia and Coneflower have large centers in which the bees can rest. My favorite part of maintaining our clients gardens along the Shoreline is quietly starting off weeding and deadheading in the mornings and coming across bees slumbering in flowers.
KEEP PESTICIDES TO A MINIMUM
As a professional, I realize it can be challenging to maintain an ideal lawn and garden without Pesticides. Managing complete weed and pest control for many gardens along the Connecticut Shoreline, it's difficult sometimes for us to strike the balance between man, nature, and budget. We opt for either all natural products, or those that are more environmentally friendly. And of course, we only use pesticides when we absolutely have to.
Need additional resources or help? You don't have to be a professional or even an amateur bee keeper to attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies to your garden. We have oodles of resources and plenty of experience. We are happy to help you attract these friendly flyers to your garden!
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