Most people are scared when they see a bee, even more so if it’s in their garden. There is a myth that they are aggressive insects that sting when they want to, but the reality is different. The main goal of bees is to suck the nectar from different flowers. So if you don’t disturb them during their work, there won’t be any problems. Bees have a fundamental value in any ecosystem; A high percentage of their work consists of pollination and, thus, the plants bear fruit. But how to attract bees into your garden?
If you care about the environment, you may want to know how to attract bees into your garden. And this is not a task that we can postpone: our survival depends significantly on the survival of bees. Unfortunately, we see more and more news in the media about the disappearance of bees in large areas where they used to be found. Now it’s our responsibility to make sure that bees will find their way into our gardens.
What Can Attract Bees?
If you intend to attract bees into your garden, there are several tricks to achieve it.
Bees have precise routines and needs. This doesn’t mean that attracting them is difficult since it’s easier and more fun than it sounds: offer them what they want! These are the best tips you can follow to attract bees into your garden:
- Bees need water too.
- Include hedges and shrubs.
- Say no to the use of chemicals.
- Turn your garden into a paradise for bees.
- Include plants that bees love in your garden.
Ok, let’s see in detail what each step consists of.
1. Turn Your Garden Into A Paradise For Bees
Bees are creatures that need a wild habitat in which to grow, so if you want them to live in your garden, you’ll have to make some simple adaptations to create that “bee paradise.”
Creating this ideal environment for bees is nothing complicated. Just try to make some open spaces in your garden so that they can move freely.
Besides this, you must allow some areas to look a bit “wild.” To do this, avoid mowing some areas but also allow some wild grasses to grow.
Leave small piles of brush and leaves where they have fallen, as well as some areas with exposed soil that can turn to mud when it rains. Bees use these materials to build their nests.
2. Please Give Them A Shelter
Another fundamental aspect of attracting bees to your garden is that you provide them shelter, “a hotel” for insects.
QUICK TIP: If you want to build a shelter for bees, do it only if your garden is big enough since you should place the shelter as far away from your house as possible. This is important for your safety but also for the bees to feel comfortable and calm. To build this bee shelter, follow these steps:
- Get a small wooden box, preferably in a vertical orientation.
- Paint it with organic paint of some striking and bright color such as yellow, white, or blue.
- Buy some plastic tubes (nesting tubes) whose dimensions are appropriate to fit inside the wooden box.
- Place the tubes inside the box, so the tips with the holes stick out a bit so that it looks like an artificial hive.
- Hang the box from a tree a little above your head but well protected from the elements.
Remember to leave some space in your garden and use materials such as soil and leaves since the bees will use them to finish building their nest.
3. Include Plants That Bees Love In Your Garden
What follows is another highly effective method for attracting bees: giving them food sources! Indeed, bees have specific preferences for the type of plants they pursue, but the spectrum is vast.
QUICK TIP: Take into account the importance of using plants native to your area, as these will be the type of plants that local bees will be used to. You can go to a garden store and order a native wildflower mix or ask Google! It would be best to observe these following aspects:
The aroma of some flowers is lovely to bees, so this will be the first tactic to use since bees can perceive it at great distances.
Whenever you don’t want your garden to be completely wild, combine a few species to complement the rest of the plants. The following is a list of plants whose scent tends to attract bees:
- Bee balm
- Oriental lily
- Common peony
- English lavender
The Number Of Petals
Flowers with a single petal row are more attractive to bees as they generally have more pollen than other types of flowers. This feature also makes it easier for them to get pollen since the flower is less protected. Here are some of the best flowers with few petals that bees also love:
Among the selections of plants that we have presented here, try to choose yellow, white, blue, and purple flowers since these colors are the most attractive to bees.
Your garden won’t necessarily have to contain only yellow or blue flowers, for example, but it is vital to have a good amount of flowers of those tones so that the bees will walk for a longer time in your garden.
4. Include Hedges And Shrubs
Beyond aesthetic value, hedges and shrubs have exceptional environmental value in attracting bees and other beneficial insects.
Thanks to the fabric they form with their branches and leaves, they are an ideal refuge for this type of insect. Besides this, bushes and hedges are, of course, an essential source of food, mainly in cities.
For these reasons, it’s crucial to allow various shrubs to grow freely in selected locations and bear flowers and fruit, even if you have a small garden.
A combination of different varieties can work well here too, helping to provide year-round food for insects. Some of the trees and bushes perfect for bees are:
- Apple trees
- Wild cherry
- Salix caprea
- Cornus more
- Most fruit trees
- Wild rose bushes
5. Bees Need Water Too
Unlike birds, bees have difficulty standing in deep water sources. For this reason, they need to have a small island where they can stop to walk along the edges and drink water or bathe without drowning.
The best idea is to create mini pools in different places in your garden to provide the bees with the water they need. For this, you can use small bathtubs in large stones or places where birds usually bathe, with a large rock on them.
You can also use a wide tray and place lots of small aquarium stones along the tray edges and a couple of larger stones in the center.
You place it in your garden near the flowers that attract the most bees, and thus they’ll always have their mini pond available to bathe or drink.
QUICK TIP: Many wild bees use water for drinking but also to build their nests. So leave some exposed dirt around for this purpose.
6. Say No To The Use Of Chemicals
One of the biggest enemies of bees are the chemicals we use in gardens, such as insecticides or pesticides. These products are considered the main reason for the disappearance of bees worldwide.
What To Use Instead Of Chemical Pesticides?
Bet on ecological and natural products that allow you to eliminate certain pests from the garden but are harmless to bees. There are currently many excellent products on the market to eliminate garden pests that have nothing to do with chemicals, so there are no excuses.
Tips And Warnings
- Note that plants that attract bees also tend to attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and other insects that feed on nectar.
- Instead of using chemicals, one option is to use predatory insects such as spiders or ladybugs, as they are beneficial in killing certain types of pests.
- Be sure to constantly keep an eye on the bathtubs for bees, as other annoying insects such as mosquitoes can use them to lay their eggs.
- Never disturb the bees in their hive!
- Avoid feeding bees any processed food such as candy, as this only hurts them.
- Take precautions if you or someone in your family is allergic to bees. It is best to avoid approaching them and, in any case, always wear clothing that protects the whole body. It also doesn’t hurt to have epinephrine at home.
What Can Attract Bees?
The best strategy is to use flowering plants attractive to bees, both in smell, color, and food source. All this is offered in a specially conditioned environment so that the bees feel comfortable and calm.
Can Plants Pollinate Without Bees?
Although most plants that bear fruit need the help of bees and other insects for reproduction, there are certain types of plants that do not.
Among these, we have wheat or rice that only needs wind, but others are self-pollinating – they include both sexes in the same flower -, such as tomatoes, eggplants, green beans, sweet peas, and peanuts.
Can You Buy Bees For Your Garden?
Yes, of course. The two most common ways to receive bees are package bees or a nucleus hive.
You can order packages of bees by contacting a local beekeeper supply or a local association. These packages usually contain a queen, workers, and feeder-filled food.
In nucleus hives, these are a half-size colony – usually a five-frame size. These typically include five frames of comb, a queen, workers, honey, and some baby bees.
Why Are There No Bees In My Garden?
The most likely reason for this is that there are not bees at all close to your home. Also, it could be that you don’t even have any plants in your garden that are attractive to bees; now is a perfect time to change that!
What Garden Plants Don’t Need Bees?
Several garden plants can pollinate without bees. We can find orchids, tomatoes, green peppers, chili peppers, eggplants, green beans, lima beans, sweet peas, and peanut varieties that don’t need pollinators to produce an abundant harvest.
What Plants Do Bees Like And Don’t Like?
Bees love flowering plants with attractive and slightly sweet smells, such as lavender, rosemary, bee balm, common peony, and catnip. They are also attracted to brightly colored flowers such as blue, purple, yellow, or white.
On the other hand, bees detest plants like cucumber, basil, wormwood, mint, marigold, eucalyptus, citronella, and geraniums. Consider trying these plants if you don’t like to have bees in your garden!
Ok, now you know exactly how to attract bees into your garden, and if you’re still wondering whether you should “entice” them to your garden, keep the following thing in mind:
The well-being of bees and other insects is vital for the well-being of people and the ecosystem. All the tips we have given you in this guide will become handy to make your garden, terrace or balcony, become a mini paradise for the bees and other insects.
Also, consider that when you are redesigning your garden, you should think about all insects in general, not only about bees, since the principal value of these insects is in their pollination capacity and not in honey production.
Featured image credit – RUKSUTAKARN studio/Shutterstock.com