How to Create a Bee Friendly Garden

Three Methods:Selecting Bee Friendly PlantsAvoiding PesticidesProviding Habitat

Bees pollinate plants while searching for food, which plays an important role in worldwide food production. Bee populations are declining because of Colony Collapse Disorder and habitat destruction, which concerns agriculturalists. You can help support the bee population by creating a bee friendly garden, filled with plants that attract bees and places for them to build nests.

Method 1
Selecting Bee Friendly Plants

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    Grow the types of flowers that draw bees. Plant them in full sunshine and in clustered groups so bees can locate them easily.
    • Flowers that will attract bees to your garden include asters, Black-eyed Susan, clover, columbines, coneflowers, Forget-Me-Not, geranium, goldenrod, heather, honeysuckle, ivy, Joe Pye weed, lupines, Michaelmas daisies, partridge peas, rhododendrons, sedum, sunflowers, tulips, white deadnettle, wild bergamot, wild lilacs, and willows.
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    Choose flowers that bloom at different times of the year. This gives bees a dependable supply of nectar and pollen from early spring until late fall. You can plant flowers that bloom year-round if your climate permits.
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    Find appropriate flowers for planting in your area by consulting the United States Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone Map.
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    Add herbs to your bee garden. Many types of herbs attract bees, including basil, horehound, lavender, marjoram, mint, rosemary, sage, and thyme.
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    Consider planting blackberries, raspberries and trees that attract bees to your landscape.
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    Introduce yourself to local beekeepers. Contact the local office of the USDA Cooperative Extension Service and the Master Gardeners in your area (US, CA, UK) for names of beekeepers near you.

Method 2
Avoiding Pesticides

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    Avoid using pesticides in your bee garden. Even small amounts of pesticides can wreak havoc on bees' navigational abilities and cause them to get lost when returning to the nest. Foraging bees may carry pesticides back to the nest, where they end up in the honey and thus damage upcoming generations of bees.
    • Use natural methods of pest-control in your bee garden, if necessary.

Method 3
Providing Habitat

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    Provide nesting sites for bees that nest in wood or cavities.
    • Put logs or tree stumps in sunny spots, especially those that have some shelter from inclement weather. If possible, use wood riddled with beetle tunnels.
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    • Leave dead trees standing, if possible, where risk of them causing damage is low.
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    • Stand up stumps or logs to mimic dead trees. Drill an array of holes 3/32 to 3/8 inches (.25 to .95 cm) in diameter and 3 to 6 inches (7.6 to 15.25 cm) deep into the southeast side.
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    Create nesting sites for bees that nest in the ground.
    • Dig a hole in a sunny site with good drainage. The hole should measure about 2 feet (60 cm) deep.
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    • Blend fine, pale sand and some loam and fill the hole with the mixture.
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    • Fill a planter box with the blended sand and loam as an alternative to digging a hole.
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    Include shallow water sources such as a birdbath or a small pond in your bee garden.
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    Give the nesting sites some protection from adverse weather by shading the entrances to the nests.
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    Provide information warnings and instruct family and neighbors on the bees' presence, particularly for those with allergies. It's important that people know how to manage interactions with bees and the proper application and effects of using pesticides nearby.

Things You'll Need

  • Plants
  • Pots
  • Gardening tools
  • Logs
  • Tree stumps
  • Power drill
  • Shovel
  • Sand
  • Loam
  • Planter box
  • Birdbath


Article Info

Categories: Gardening