0
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How can I attract more bees and pollinators into my garden?

General    near Johnstown, PA

I swear I used to see a lot more bees in my garden than I do now. More or less everything I plant is self pollinating but if I was going to plant something like raspberry then I would quite like to attract the bees back. Has anybody had success with a particularly attractive flower? What else can I try, short of taking up beekeeping!?


Posted by: Larry Pelenski (4 points) Larry Pelenski
Posted: April 12, 2013




Answers

4
points
There are three key considerations to make to attract native pollinators, especially bees, to your garden. 1) You must plant plants that are animal pollinated. Perennials and fruiting trees and bushes are the best for attracting a variety of bee species, and you can guarantee that they will flower again in successive years. Selecting the right plants to add to your garden is tricky; you will have to do a little research to find out which plants are the most attractive to different pollinators, and which plants that can grow in your local area. For my research in central Pennsylvania, I use Echinacea, Joe-pye weed, Senna, Slender mountainmint, Boneset, Culver's root, Wild bergamot, Spiderwort, New England Aster, and Goldenrod, but there are a wealth of others. 2) It is recommended now, especially for bee conservation, to place solitary bee nesting sites in your garden. These are fun to construct and largely adaptable to your aesthetic preferences. 3) Reducing or eliminating the use of pesticides in your garden, especially in the areas you want to attract pollinators.

There is a wealth of good public information out there that can point you to the right plants in your area to attract your local pollinator community and how to construct nesting sites. A good place to start is Penn State's Center for Pollinator Research Public Outreach page, http://ento.psu.edu/pollinators/publi.... Here you can find literature and links related to pollinator conservation and gardening. Also, the Xerces Society's Pollinator Conservation page has great links to local plant lists for pollinator conservation http://www.xerces.org/pollinator-cons....


Posted by: Anthony Vaudo (5 points) Anthony Vaudo
Posted: April 12, 2013


Larry Pelenski commented,
Thank you Anthony!

almost 8 years ago.



1
point
The best way to attract bees without beekeeping (eek! even I wouldn't go that far) would be to plant wildflowers. You don't have to have an entire field of them, but if you have a few strips of flowers scattered around that would help attract them to your garden. For the best plants, I would go to the website of your state's Native Plant List. They will give descriptions of plants, and the best ones that will attract native bees.

If you don't want just flowering plants, you can also plant herbs that flower or raspberries and blackberries.


Posted by: Kathryn Fiedler (72 points) Kathryn Fiedler
Posted: April 12, 2013


Larry Pelenski commented,
Thank you for the very quick response!
almost 8 years ago.



1
point
HI Larry, you recieved some great answers, but here are a few more. Since I don't know what part of the country in, I will pass along what works great in the Northwest. I raise honeybees, and because there is such a shortage of food for them, since most people spray their weeds, and so many plants are non-pollen producing plants (so they don't drop seeds and regrow) that it is just plain hard for the bees. I always plant a long row of Cosmos (any color) as well as Mammoth Sunflowers. The cosmos are one of the best good bug plants around, and they can attract other bugs you will want in your garden. The sunflowers flower all summer, and this allows all variety of bees to collect the much needed pollen, to feed thier baby bees. On a summer day, go look at the sunflowers, you will see bumblebees, green bees, every color, it is amazing! These good plants will attract them to your garden, and then they will pollinate everything else you want. Native bee's are a blessing, as they will go thru all assortments of flowers, honeybees tend to go for one type of a flower at a time (hence their being used for almond tree pollination and such). I have also used Bachelor Buttons, they love them, but some places they can be invasive. At the end of the season, you can harvest the sunflower heads and put them in your bird feeders..so they have other advantages as well. I hope you can find the flowers that fit your area. Good luck.


Posted by: Angie Lee Morrow (18 points) Angie Lee Morrow
Posted: April 16, 2013




0
points
Any plants that produces flowers are good to plant because bees will gather the pollen from the flower. I have found that most herbs are "magnets" for bees, especially Siam Queen basil and Chamomile when allowed to seed.


Posted by: Deleted User (0 points) Deleted User
Posted: April 12, 2013


Larry Pelenski commented,
Thanks!
almost 8 years ago.

Deleted User commented,
your welcome
almost 8 years ago.



0
points
Don't rule out beekeeping! It's not that much work and the world could use more bees. If you would like to take a trip to Florida in March sometime, the University of Florida holds a 3 day Bee College yearly in St. Augustine. We encourage beekeeping as well as planting to attract pollinators (European honeybees as well as our native bees).

One of the best wildflowers for attracting pollinators that I have seen and grown, is Monarda punctata (Spotted or Dotted Horsemint or sometimes called Bee Balm). It can be grown in Zones 5-10, likes full sun but in central Florida does well with a little shade.


Posted by: Susan League, UF/IFAS Sumter Program Assistant (1 point) Susan League, UF/IFAS Sumter Program Assistant
Posted: April 19, 2013


Larry Pelenski commented,
well I will bear that in Mind Susan, thanks for your help
almost 8 years ago.

Susan League, UF/IFAS Sumter Program Assistant commented,
You're more than welcome for what little help it was. Being surrounded by the citrus industry, we are always pro-bee! The industry actually "rents" bees for the orchards here.
almost 8 years ago.



0
points
Borage! The bees just go crazy for the borage flowers! I also have raspberries, and they are currently just loaded with bees.


Posted by: Arlis (1 point) Arlis
Posted: September 26, 2013




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