When the bees die off so do we. Bees are essential to our survival. Without them, we would not produce enough food to feed our population and many people would go hungry. Sady a lot of our current conventional farming and gardening practices put bees in harm’s way and are quickly leading to the destruction of bees and the lifeline they provide all living things. The good news is you can build a bee-friendly garden in your backyard to do your part for the bee population.
What can I plant to attract bees to my garden?
The best thing you can do for the bees in your garden is plant things that provide them with plenty of food from the time they begin to wake up to the time they go into their homes for the winter.
Flowers you can plant to attract bees
Plant a patch of wildflowers in your yard near your garden. You can find wildflower mixes designed with native wildflowers at your local plant nursery for the best results. Planting patches of wildflowers is a great way to reduce how much space you need to mow in your yard while providing food for bees, butterflies, and other essential pollinators.
Herbs you can plant to attract bees
Herbs are valuable plants that help provide us with everything from flavoring for our food to skin salves and soothing teas that help us thrive just as much as these flowered herbs help the bee population recover and become stronger than ever.
Bee Balm is a sweet herb that smells similar to bergamot oranges. Bee balm is naturally antimicrobial and is commonly used to help treat the common cold and flu viruses. Beem balm makes a great soothing tea that can be served with a bit of home honey to soothe sore throats and help those that are sick rest.
Goldenrod is made up of bundles of bright golden flowers. This flowery herb attracts bees and provides them with plenty of nectar to make them keep coming back. This herb is a great healing herb that is commonly used for pain and inflammation. Goldenrod can be used as a tea to soothe aches and pains or as a topical balm for skin conditions. Growing goldenrod in your medicinal garden is a great way to attract bees.
Calendula or pot marigold is one of my favorite flowers to grow in my garden. These flowers help to repel mosquitoes that like to bite when we spend summer nights outside. While protecting us from biting insects they also protect our garden from aphids and other common pests. Calendula is also a useful herb for adding to my medicinal herb supply for making skin slaves and stress-reducing teas. Calendula can even be used in fresh summer salads. All while attracting bees and butterflies to your garden.
When it comes to caring for the bees many people look right past this essential medicinal herb. Lavender has thousands of uses making it perhaps one of the most valuable herbs in your garden. With its small purple flowers and strong elegant fragrance, lavender tends to attract bees while repelling unwanted insects like mosquitoes from your garden and outdoor entertainment areas.
Planting flowering vegetables that you allow to produce flowers is a great way to help attract bees to your vegetable garden while still growing plenty of edibles your family can enjoy. Vegetables that produce large numbers of flowers like beans and peas make a great addition to your garden for attracting bees. Planting onions, garlic, and nearly any type of fruit will help attract bees to your vegetable garden.
What should I avoid using in my garden?
Do NOT use harmful chemical pesticides in your garden. These pesticides are the main reason bees are currently endangered and the best way to help the bees is to provide them with safe plants they can collect nectar from that won’t kill them and the rest of the bees in their home.
Do NOT buy your plants from big box stores that bring plants in from other parts of the country. Due to the was involved in transporting plants from one state to another these plants are sprayed with heavy pesticides that harm bees and do not wash off of the plants to make them any safer. Instead, opt to buy your plants from a local nursery or start your own plants from heirloom seeds.
How can I help bees that come to my garden?
As the fall moves in, many gardens stop producing flowers just as the bees need sugar to make the food that will sustain them over the winter. To help these bees you can leave sliced fruit out in your garden. This can also help you to attract bees to your garden in the spring when blooms are still lacking. Fresh berries or sliced melons will do perfectly for attracting bees to your garden.
Another popular way people attract bees to their garden is to build a bee house to welcome solitary bees that do not live in hives. If you chose to go this route built it yourself from things you find in your yard or the woods. Avoid using wood that has been treated and sold in headwear stores as many of these treatments can make bees sick.