Thursday, July 9, 2015

Another Plug for Native Bees- We Can Help Them

Although I have true bumblebees  (bees with yellow or orange fuzzy bodies) early in the season, as more wild flowers start blooming, they seem to move on and I see more carpenter bees. Both kinds of bees are important pollinators.
I heard yet another item on the radio about bee declines, including our native bumblebees (honey bees are not native to Canada). The scientists said that bumblebees don't travel around much so even a small garden geared to them can be very helpful to their survival.
With that in mind, here are some suggested plants to make a happy home for the bees. Of course, never use pesticides. If you have a balanced garden (a variety of insects,birds, toads,and plants), you will have minimal insect damage anyway.
Early in the season :  crocuses, and pulmonaria  (absolute favourites), dandelions , forget-me-nots ,
Going into summer: cranesbill(perennial geranium), ajuga (a good groundcover),
beebalm, snapdragon, sage, butterfly weed, yarrow, nasturtium, petunias.
Don't forget that the bees will happily visit fruit trees ,peas, beans and tomatoes. If you let a bit of broccoli go to flower, they like that, too.
Later in summer: rudbeckia hirta, echinacea, sedum, heliopsis, heirloom sunflowers.
Early fall: goldenrod, asters.
There are lots of other shrubs and flowers that bees like, especially ones with clusters of small flowers.
You will notice that the list is a combination of native and domesticated plants.  It is so easy to have both in a garden, and this provides great variety and a steady nectar supply for the bees.
Also provide your bees with places to shelter - a little brush pile, a few stacked logs, a bit of gravelly ground.  Insects like an environment that's not too manicured.

1 comment:

  1. Great list. I seem to have lots of bumbles this year. Haven't seen any honeybees!