Bees are in trouble. The native habitats of native bees have continued to be degraded and destroyed. Among the native pollinating bees are chubby bumblebees, as well as so-called solitary bees that don't live in hives, such as carpenter bees (that look a lot like bumblebees, but have a shiny black rear end), mason bees and digger bees.
Fortunately, we can improve the lot of native bees by planting the flowers they love, whether we garden on an acre or in a window box. Provide a steady food supply by growing favorite bee plants that bloom in all the seasons the bees are active. It also helps to provide some nesting sites, including brush piles, clumps of moss or even prefabricated bumblebee nest boxes.
It's easy to encourage more visiting bees by adding pollinator-friendly flowers wherever possible. Bees prefer daisy-shaped, old-fashioned flowers such as bachelor buttons, calendula, zinnias, cosmos, gaillardia, and poppies which are easy to start from seed and supply plentiful bee food.
In high summer, short-tongued bees like to visit yarrows and tansy, while the medium-tongued bees prefer deeper-flowered knapweeds, bowl-shaped flowers such as Campanula and Malva, while the longer-tongued bees visit bramble and bindweed.
Bachelor's Buttons Centaurea montana
commonly known as perennial cornflower, mountain cornflower, montane knapweed or mountain bluet
Calendula Calendula officinalis
commonly known as pot marigold, ruddles, common marigold, garden marigold, English marigold, or Scottish marigold
Blanket Flower Gaillardia
California poppies Papaver
Common Mallow Malva sylvestris
commonly known as cheeses, high mallow and tall mallow
or morning glory
Purple Coneflower Echinacea purpurea
commonly known as eastern purple coneflower, or hedgehog coneflower
Butterfly bush Buddleia
Cornflower Centaurea cyanus
Biennial Gaura Gaura biennis
commonly known as biennial beeblossom
Spiny Plumeless Thistle Carduus acanthoides
commonly known as welted thistle, and plumeless thistle
Common Heather Calluna vulgaris
commonly known as ling, or simply heather
Mass flowering is preferable as just a few flowers would be unlikely to attract pollinators at all.
Bees are one of the most important and busy insects in the countryside as they pollinate so many plants. It has been estimated that they pollinate around 90 percent of all wild plants, which would fail to thrive and ultimately die out without them.