Importance Of Bees
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% of all wild plants, which would fail to thrive and ultimately die out without them.
However, 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.
How To Help
Nesting Sites & Food Source
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
- Bellflower (Campanula)
- Biennial Gaura (Gaura biennis) commonly known as biennial beeblossom
- Bindweed (Calystegia) or morning glory
- Blackberry (Rubus)
- Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)
- Butterfly bush (Buddleia)
- Calendula (Calendula officinalis) commonly known as pot marigold, ruddles, common marigold, garden marigold, English marigold, or Scottish marigold
- California poppies (Papaver)
- Common Heather (Calluna vulgaris) commonly known as ling, or simply heather
- Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris) commonly known as cheeses, high mallow and tall mallow
- Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)
- Cosmos Cosmos
- Goldenrod (Solidago) Mass flowering is preferable as just a few flowers would be unlikely to attract pollinators at all
- Lavender (Lavandula)
- Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) commonly known as eastern purple coneflower, or hedgehog coneflower
- Spiny Plumeless Thistle (Carduus acanthoides) commonly known as welted thistle, and plumeless thistle
- Zinnia (Zinnia)