Hi to all gardeners Does anyone have any suggestions on how to entice bees
to increase their numbers? What flowers do they particularly like? Do
those little bee houses actually work? I no longer use insecticides -
except on rare occasions when a prized plant is about to succumb - and then
only such specific things as bacillus thuringensis for caterpillers and
spray only that particular spot where the nasties are. Could even this small
amount of spray be too much for the bees? I even dug up all the roses that
seemed to have black spot all the time. I have a lot of flowers in summer
and despite being in my garden everyday for a couple of hours, I only see
about 5 bees a summer. Can home gardens help bees in some way or has the
problem originated in some area other than than residential yards? Thanks
for any suggestions
Clarissa Vancouver BC
I don't know, but my parent's house back fence has attracted two or
three hives in the last three years (I think one was allowed to
double), and my apartment building attracted two more!
In all four cases, the hives were destroyed. Seems a terrible waste!
BT will not harm bees at all. Insecticidal sprays certainly will but if you
use the less toxic ones and don't spray while bees are active you shouldn't
have a problem. Weird as it seems spraying at night is the best time as the
bees are all home in bed with the covers tucked up under their litle chins.
I even dug up all the roses that
It may not be a problem with your garden. What kind of bees are found in your
area? Is there anywhere that they could live within a couple of miles?
Remember that bees will only travel a limited distance to get blossoms.
Can home gardens help bees in some way or has the
I don't know if you're aware of it but there seems to be a honeybee
crisis--exactly what the cause of it might be and how widespread it is
seems to be a matter of some debate, with some holding that it's
mostly the bees in big commercial operations that get trucked all over
Creation and others holding that it's all honeybees, and with various
causes claimed, from BT crops to the alignment of the stars.
Bee houses are intended to attract mason bees, not honeybees. Whether
they work or not I dunno--you can buy mason bees though, but this
isn't the right time of year and they may be hard to find. If you
google "Mason Bees" you'll find quite a lot of information about how
to attract them and how to use bee houses. If you google "Mason bee
sales" you'll find a number of suppliers including some in Canada.
Something to try--set out some unpainted cedar posts--I don't know how
it works in Canada but in Florida if there are carpenter bees around
they'll dig right into those. If you nail them to a wall under an
overhang so they stay dry that seems to make a difference.
If you want a large and stable population and are willing to put some
work into it, you could raise honeybees.
Do you mulch heavily? If so that can make it difficult for many kinds
of bee to find nesting ground (a lot of them live in holes in the
ground and can't dig through a lot of mulch).
Google "bee garden" and you'll find a good deal of advice on what
species of plants attract bees.
Some things that the bees love in my garden are
Bottlebrush, the red kind
Fruit trees, peach, apricot, almond
These are early bloomers.
Later they like
NorCal zone 9
Here is a list a friend and I built to post on Beemaster.com, a
beekeeping forum. Since not all were gardeners, we specified what
type of plant they were:
Many on the list are herb, many others are annuals. None of these are
at nurseries yet, I'm sure. Wait a month and there will be plenty
there! Also, some of them are more common on the west coast than they
are around here (east coast).
I'll outline them below:
Annual Flower-Centaurea Blue Boy Bachelors Button -- Bees and hover
Annual Herb-Borage officinalis -- Bees love it, cousin to comfrey, not
affected by rain because of drooping blue flowers
Perennial Herb-Agastache (Anise Hyssop) -- loved by bees
Perennial Herb -Comfrey -- Bees love it
Annual (??)Flower-Centaurea Dwarf polkdot mix Bachelors Button -- Bees
and hoverflies love it
Annual Flower -Consolida (larkspur) Consolida ambigua -- attracts
Perennial Herb -Eryngium planum Sea holly -- Bees are mad about this
Perennial Herb- Thyme T. Vulgaris -- a good honey plant for bees
Perennial Herb - Fireweed -- excellent honey, bees love it (west coast
*Annual vine -Canary Creeper T. peregrinum -- bees love it, late late
pollen plant (related to nasturtium)
Annual Flower - Cosmos -- valuable for late nectar source
Annual Flower - Phacelia tanacetifolia (Purple Tansy) -- attracts bee
Annual Flower -Poppy giganthemum p. somniferum poppyseed poppy
Annual Flower -California poppy "Apricot chiffon"eschscholzia
californica -- bees love it
Perennial Herb -Catnip Nepeta Cataria -- a good bee plant
Perennial Herb -Lemon Balm Melissa officinanlis -- Perennial, bees
Perennial Herb -Hyssop Hyssopus officinalis Perennial, -- bees,
Perennial Herb -Lovage Levisticum officinale -- bees love it (so do I,
it's great in potato salad!)
Perennial Herb -Spearmint Mentha spicata blooms late summer, --- bees,
*Annual Flower -Helipterum (Acroclinium) helipterum roseum Sensation
*Annual Flower -Impatiens capensis grows wild around my house, great
for late nectar/pollen, lasts til frost-kill (Jewelweed, wild just
about everywhere there's woodlands and water)
Perennial Flower -Great Blue Lobelia L. siphilitica perennial, dappled
light, self-sows, flowers summer through autumn
Perennial Flower-Salvia Violet Queen S nemorosa -- particularly
attractive to butterflies & bees Flowers 2nd year
*Annual Flower -Crimson clover Trifolium incarnatum outstanding cut
flowers, -- annual, bees love it
*Annual Flower -Buckwheat Fagopyrum esculentum -- bees love it, turn
under 10 days after flowering to avoid seed drop
*Perennial - White Dutch Clover Trifolium repens -- all beneficial
* = not likely to find in nursery, however, seeds are available
http://nature.berkeley.edu/urbanbeegardens/list.html an excellent
listing of bee plants by season, somewhat California oriented but many
applicable plants can be found for New England.
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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