Having beautiful trees in your yard is one thing, but having trees that attract local wildlife to your yard is the next level. At Mr. Tree, we understand this. We have already shared with you which trees you should plant to attract local wildlife and, more specifically, which trees you should plant to attract birds to your yard. Now we want to get specific again and share with you how to attract honey bees to your yard.
Honey bees are important, as they’re pollinating insects. They help plants grow, breed, and produce food. To take you back to elementary school science class, honey bees transfer pollen from flowering plants, which keeps the plants’ life cycles going. In fact, the majority of plants that we as humans need for food rely on this pollination. By learning how to attract honey bees to your yard, you’re also making an environmental and agricultural difference.
Of course, we must first acknowledge that if you or a member of your family is allergic to bees, it may not be the best idea for you to learn how to attract honey bees to your yard. You should use this article as knowledge of what to look out for and try to avoid.
Do Not Use Strong Pesticides
Pesticides are meant to kill and harm insects … and bees are not immune to this. By using pesticides, you’re trying to prevent all bugs from coming to your plants and trees. Even if your aim is to eliminate insects that could damage your plants, such as aphids, pesticides will kill off bugs that are beneficial to your plants too.
If you must use a pesticide, try to use one that’s the least toxic. This may still do some harm to honey bees, but it will be better than if you use a strong pesticide. One thing to note is that when you’re using pesticides, it’s important to follow the instructions verbatim.
Plant in the Sun
This may seem self-explanatory, as plants typically need bright sunshine for survival. But a location in the sun is important for bees too. Bees tend to favor sunny spots over shade—they want to do their work in the sun.
Additionally, if you have an area of your yard that tends to be windy, avoid planting flowers there. Not only can be it dangerous for the plant, but bees also need shelter from strong winds while pollinating.
Plant Local Native Plants in Your Yard
Did you know that planting native plants in your yard makes it four times more attractive for native bees than if you were to plant exotic flowers? Stay local. Exotic plants may be tempting due to their beauty, but if you want honey bees in your yard, it’s not beneficial.
Another perk of planting local plants and trees in your yard is that they’re already adapted to the growing conditions of your area. This means that they can better thrive and remain healthy. This can result in a longer life span for your plants, meaning both less work for you and more reason for the honey bees to keep coming back.
Choose the Right Flowers
In addition to planting local native plants, choosing the right flowers is very important too. You should plant various plants, but they should offer a succession of flowers throughout the entire growing season. This means that you’ll have an influx of nectar and pollen—the two things honey bees are looking for—throughout the season, meaning that honey bees will have a reason to keep coming back.
Many garden plants, like heirloom varieties of herbs and perennials, are great sources of pollen and nectar. Herbs that bees tend to love include lavender, mint, thyme, sage, rosemary, fennel, and cilantro.
Plant Flowers in Various Colors
Unlike other animals or insects, bees have a great color vision. This is purposeful, as having color vision helps them find the flowers with the nectar and the pollen that they need. That means the more colorful your yard is, the more likely bees are going to want to flock to it.
Some particular colors are known to attract bees, including purple, violet, blue, yellow, and surprisingly, white. Focus on planting those colors, and you’ll see an uptick in the number of honey bees in your yard.
Plant Flowers of the Same Species in Clumps
It may be tempting to spread out the flowers in your yard, especially if you have a large yard. However, if you want to successfully attract honey bees, it’s better if you plant flowers of the same species together in clumps. This proximity will attract more pollinators than flowers that are spread throughout a yard. Why? Because it’s a one-stop shop for bees, rather than having to fly all over. If you have space, make the clumps four feet or larger in diameter.
Plant Fruit and Vegetable Plants
Not only do flowering fruit and vegetable plants attract bees, but bees are beneficial to these plants too. Some great examples of vegetables for you to plant are cucumbers, squash, melons, and berries. For fruit trees, all are good, but cherry trees tend to attract the most honey bees. All of these plants and trees produce flowers that are quite fragrant so they also attract bees.
Is it easier to attract honey bees to your yard than you originally thought? Likely so! Honey bees can help your garden grow more beautiful, as pollination helps the lifecycle of your plants. Plus, you may enjoy the summery sound of buzzing bees.
One other way to attract honey bees is to let your yard get a “little wild.” This isn’t something everyone is a fan of, but wildflowers and overgrown plants do attract bees as well. All of the above are, however, tamer ways of how to attract honey bees to your garden. And, if you love sunflowers, plant those instead of wildflowers, and that can work too.
These are just some great ways to help you attract honey bees to your yard. If you’re looking for even more ideas, please give us a call today, and we’ll be happy to discuss your yard personally.