How To Attract Bees Into Your Garden
Bees are wonderful to watch, and can bring pleasure and interest to any gardener. Bees are important means of pollination, which increases flower, fruit and vegetable yields. Bees are a vital part of a healthy eco-system, and their presence in the garden can be very educational for adults and children. The number of bees visiting gardens is dwindling, which is all the more reason to create a hospitable habitat to help them out. Following are some tips on how to make your garden a bee-friendly place.
1. Leave some of your lawn unkempt and allow it to grow. Most lawns have clover or dandelion, so allow these flowers to grow unchecked in one area of your yard. You can fence it off with a bit of low, portable fencing if it goes against your sense of aesthetics!
2. Do not use pesticides (insect-killers) or herbicides (weed-killers) of any kind. The insecticides on your plants will harm and kill the bees that visit them, and herbicides will kill off those flowers that are desirable for bees. Most Americans work to remove dandelions and clover from their lawns, but these are important plants for bees (and for the health of your lawn – clover adds nitrogen to the soil).
3. Plant the right flowers. Try to go with native plants as much as possible so the pollination effect with the surrounding ecosystem is positive and strengthening. Here are a few suggestions.
-Bee balm or bergamot
Vegetables and fruits:
-Blackberries and raspberries
-Wild roses or old-fashioned, shrub roses
-Apple and crabapple
-Chaste tree (Vitex)
4. Create shelter for bees. Bumble bees like leaf litter and the undersides of wooden boards. You may want to set up a commercial bee hive to attract honeybees, or improvise something with a wooden box.
5. Bees like and need water, so add a water feature or birdbath to your garden. Make sure you have plenty of stones or water plants punctuating the surface so that a bee can quickly climb out if it falls in. Use flowering water plants to add to the bee-friendly habitat.
6. Leave them alone. This is not only good advice for avoiding stings, but it will help keep bees coming to your garden. If bees perceive an area as unsafe, they will not return.