Bees are essential to the environment and the pollination process. They play a vital role in our ecosystem yet they’re disappearing.
One of the best things you can do to help the bee population is to create a bee-friendly garden.
Here are a few tips on how to make your garden attractive to bees.
How to Attract Bees to Your Garden: But Why Are Bees Not Coming To My Garden?
Here are a few potential reasons why your bee friends may be staying away.
One of the most common reasons for a bee decline is the use of pesticides.
While pesticides can kill the pests that are wreaking havoc on your plants, they can also have a detrimental effect on bees.
If you’re using pesticides, try to choose ones that specifically target the pests you’re trying to get rid of and avoid using broad-spectrum insecticides.
You should also avoid spraying pesticides when bees are most active, which is typically early in the morning or late in the evening.
Lack of Flowers
Bees need flowers for food, so it’s essential to have plenty of blooms in your garden if you want to attract them.
If you live in an area where there aren’t many wildflowers, you can try planting a variety of bee-friendly flowers in your garden, such as lavender, sunflowers, and clover.
You should also make sure to plant flowers that bloom at different times so that there is always something in bloom for the bees to eat.
Lack of Water
Bees need water just like any other living creature. If there isn’t a water source nearby, they may not bother visiting your garden at all.
To attract bees, try putting out a shallow dish filled with water and pebbles or setting up a little birdbath.
Just make sure to change the water regularly so that it doesn’t become stagnant.
How to Attract Bees To Your Garden
There are a number of reasons why you might want to attract bees to your garden.
For one, bees are essential for the pollination of many flowers and plants.
In fact, without bees, we wouldn’t have a lot of the fruits and vegetables that we take for granted, like apples and tomatoes.
What’s more, bees are interesting creatures that can add a touch of whimsy to your garden.
If you’re looking to attract bees to your garden, here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Grow Pollinator-Friendly Flowers
Bees are attracted to certain types of flowers more than others.
Some of the best flowers for attracting bees are coneflowers, daisies, lavender, and sunflowers.
These flowers are not only pretty, but they also provide a good source of nectar and pollen for bees.
When choosing flowers for your garden, be sure to include a variety of colors and blooming times so that there’s always something in bloom for the bees to enjoy.
Here are some good flowers to consider growing:
Coneflowers are excellent bee plants.
They produce a large amount of nectar and are one of the few flowers that bees will visit even when it’s cloudy.
They come in a variety of colors including pink, red, purple, and yellow.
Lavender is another great plant for bees.
The nectar produced by lavender flowers is high in sugar content which makes it especially attractive to bees.
In addition to being a valuable food source for bees, lavender also has a calming effect on them which makes them less likely to sting.
Sunflowers are yet another excellent plant for bees.
They produce a large amount of nectar and their large flower heads make them easy for bees to land on.
Additionally, the pollen produced by sunflowers is high in protein which is essential for bee larvae development.
Wildflowers are a great option for those who want to attract bees but don’t want to plant a garden full of flowers.
Wildflowers are easier to grow than cultivated varieties and they provide an important food source for bees during the spring when other flowers are not yet in bloom.
Other good options include:
- Bee balm
- Alpine currant
2. Avoid Pesticides
Pesticides can be harmful to bees and other pollinators.
If you are using pesticides in your garden, try to avoid using them when plants are in bloom.
You should also try to use pesticides that are less toxic to bees.
3. Install a Bee Box
Bees also need somewhere to take refuge from the hot sun and inclement weather.
A bee house is a great way to provide them with shelter while also adding some beauty to your garden.
You can purchase a bee house or build one yourself using simple materials like bamboo, wood, or reeds.
After all, wild bees nests in holes in dead wood.
You can create a nesting site for them by drilling holes in a block of wood or even an old broom handle.
Place the bee box in a sunny location near your garden.
4. Provide Drinking Water
Bees need water just like we do, so it’s important to provide them with a source of fresh water in the garden.
A small birdbath or shallow dish filled with pebbles is a perfect way to give bees the water they need without drowning them.
Be sure to change the water often so that it stays clean and fresh.
5. Plant Companion Plants
Some plants attract bees while others repel them. Try planting some flowers that bees love, such as lavender, marigolds, and roses.
These flowers will not only attract bees to your garden but will make it look beautiful as well—all while providing benefits to nearby plants too.
6. Leave out Dead Branches and Brush for Wild Bees
Another way to provide nesting sites for wild bees is by leaving out dead branches and brush.
Just be sure to place them in a sunny location near your garden so the bees can find them easily.
7. Use Native Plants
Native plants are those that naturally occur in an area.
They are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions and will typically require less water than non-native plants.
Native plants are also more likely to attract local pollinators like bees.
8. Don’t Over-Manicure the Lawn
A well-manicured lawn may look nice, but it’s not so great for bees.
Leave some areas of your lawn uncut so that wildflowers can grow. These flowers will attract bees (and other pollinators) to your yard.
9. Plant a Variety of Host Plants to Attract Different Species (and Growth Stages)
Bees are essential pollinators, which means they play a vital role in the health of our ecosystems.
By planting a variety of host plants in your garden, you can attract different species of bees and support their different life stages.
For example, bee balm (Monarda didyma) is a great plant for attracting mason bees, while lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is ideal for honeybees.
10. Plant Flowers in Groupings
Bees are attracted to color, so planting flowers in groupings is a great way to get their attention.
Plus, by planting flowers close together, you’ll give bees easy access to the pollen and nectar they need.
Try grouping plants with similar water and sun needs together to make things easy on yourself—you don’t want to accidentally drown or starve your precious pollinators!
11. Make Bee Nests
You can buy bee houses or build your own bee nests by using untreated wood, bamboo, or cardboard tubes stuffed with well-aged wood chips or shredded paper.
Once you’ve got your nest material sorted, just drill some holes into it, and voila!—you’ve created a safe space for bees to lay their eggs and raise their young.
Make sure to place your nests in a sunny spot near some of the flowers you planted earlier—that way, the bees will have everything they need right at their doorstep!
12. Don’t Stress About Weeding
Weeds are bee magnets!
Dandelions, clover, and other so-called “weeds” are actually early-blooming flowers that provide an important source of food for bees as they emerge from hibernation in spring.
So before you reach for the weedkiller, take a moment to consider whether those plants might be beneficial for bees.
After all, a few weeds here and there won’t hurt your garden—and it just might help the bees!
13. Build a Bee Hotel
You can buy bee houses or make your own out of recycled materials like hollowed-out blocks of wood or bamboo with different-sized holes drilled into them to provide homes for mason bees and leafcutter bees.
You can hang these houses up in a shady area in your yard or mount them on a fence or post. Just be sure to put them up before the weather gets too cold in the fall so the bees have time to move in!
14. Grow Bee-Friendly Plants for Every Season
Bees need food throughout the entire year, so it’s important to have plants that will bloom at different times of the year.
Early blooming flowers like dandelions and crocuses will give bees something to eat when they first come out of hibernation in spring.
Summer bloomers like lavender, sunflowers, and zinnias will provide food later in the season when many other flowers have stopped blooming.
And fall bloomers like Sedum and aster will give bees a much-needed boost as they prepare for winter.
By planting a variety of bee-friendly plants, you can make sure there’s always something blooming in your garden—and always something for the bees to eat!
15. Include Flowers of Different Shapes
While all flowers are good for bees, some flowers are better than others when it comes to providing nectar and pollen.
Flowers with landing pads like daisies are easy for bees to land on and access nectar and pollen. Flowers with deepthroats (or long tubes) like tube roses or
Oriental lilies require special long tongues that only some bee species have—so they tend to be less attractive to bees overall.
And small flowers with very little nectar or pollen tend to benefit only very small bee species like sweat bees.
To attract the widest variety of bee species, try planting a mix of different-shaped flowers in your garden!
It’s also important to remember that not all flowers are created equal when it comes to bee-friendliness.
While double blooms may look pretty, they actually make it harder for bees to access nectar and pollen because their petals are often fused together.
So if you really want to attract bees, stick with single blooms!
16. Plant Where Bees Will Visit
Bees are attracted to certain colors of flowers, including blue, purple, white, and yellow. They are also attracted to the scent of certain flowers.
Some of the best flowers for attracting bees include lavender, basil, marjoram, oregano, and mint.
Planting a variety of bee-friendly flowers will give the bees plenty of options and keep them coming back to your garden all season long.
17. Reduce Lawn Space and Grow Natural Shrubs and Trees Instead
Bees are also attracted to natural areas with native plants. If you have a lot of lawn space in your yard, consider reducing it and planting native shrubs and trees instead.
This will provide the bees with a natural habitat where they can find food and shelter.
Plus, it will help reduce the amount of maintenance you have to do in your yard!
18. Grow a Wildflower Garden
Wildflowers are another great option for attracting bees to your garden.
These brightly colored flowers are easy to grow and don’t require much upkeep. Plus, they provide a beautiful pop of color in any landscape.
To get started, simply scatter the seeds in an area that gets full sun and wait for them to sprout!
In no time at all, you’ll have a beautiful wildflower garden that’s sure to attract bees from near and far.
19. Consider Backyard Beekeeping
While not everyone is ready to take on the responsibility of backyard beekeeping, it’s definitely something to consider if you’re serious about attracting bees to your garden.
Bee hives can be purchased online or at your local hardware store. Once you have a hive set up, all you need to do is wait for the bees to arrive!
Backyard beekeeping is a great way to get involved in the local ecosystem and help out these important pollinators at the same time.
How to Attract Bees to Your Garden: Final Thoughts
There are over 20,000 species of bees in the world and they play a critical role in our ecosystem.
As pollinators, bees help flowers reproduce and they also play a part in the production of fruits and vegetables.
In fact, one out of every three bites of food we eat is thanks to pollinators like bees.
By following these simple tips, you can create a garden that’s not only beautiful but also bee-friendly.
By attracting bees to your garden, you’ll be doing your part to help these important creatures while also making your garden look its best.
So what are you waiting for? Get started today!