How to Attract Bees to Your Garden

How to Attract Bees to Your Garden

If you love to garden and grow your own food, you should endeavor to attract bees to your garden. Bees are vitally important and without them, we would not have lovely fresh fruits and vegetables to harvest and eat. That’s because bees are prime pollinators and play a very important role in gardens all around the world.

You see, bees help to pollinate or fertilize plants that have both male and female flowers such as pumpkins and zucchini. With plants like these, the female flowers produce the fruit but they can’t do this until they receive pollen from the male flowers. 

And, that’s precisely what bees do. As they land on a male flower to gather the nectar that they need both for a food source and to make honey, they also pick up some of the pollen on their legs. When the bee then flies to a female flower, some of the pollen is automatically deposited onto the flower and pollination happens.

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Now that the female flower has been fertilized by the pollen from the male flower, a fruit will start to form. This is very similar to eggs being fertilized by sperm in mammals.

If you don’t have bees in your garden, you are going to have to do this pollination manually. That’s if you want your veggies to produce their fruits. While it is certainly possible to do this manually, it’s a precise task. But, if you have bees doing the work for you, you really don’t have to worry about this process.

So, now that you understand how important bees are, here are some expert tips on how you can attract them to your garden.

Plant Flowers that Attract Bees

closeup of bee on a sunflower

The best way to have lots of bees flock to your garden is to plant the flowers that they love. In general, bees love brightly colored flowers that have sweet fragrances. These include things like lavender, daisies and sunflowers. 

Wildflowers are also a good choice as the local bee population will be looking out for these in your neighborhood. It’s also interesting to note that bees are said to be attracted to certain colors like white, blue, purple and yellow.

I’ve found this to be the case in my garden as I always see bees on my lavender and my rosemary flowers. They also seem to love the bright yellow flowers of the nasturtiums. Plus, they adore the bright purple flowers of my Hardenbergia.

To make your flower choice a little easier, here’s a table that lists some of the different bee-attracting flowers arranged by colors.

White FlowersBlue FlowersPurple FlowersYellow Flowers
ThymeComfreyBee balmBlack-eyed susan
SedumPansiesChivesCalifornia poppies
PhloxGlobe thistleLiatrisLupine
Sweet alyssumBaby blue eyesConeflowersMarigolds
Garlic chivesBuddleiaCatmintCalendula
Honey MyrtlePride of MadeiraFoxgloveYarrow

While this is by no means a comprehensive list, it’s a good place to get started. You’ll notice that some of the flowers mentioned are also grown as herbs. With these, you actually have to allow them to flower in order to attract bees to your garden.

However, most herbs are still edible even during flowering. In fact, for some, even the flowers are edible. For example, chives, borage, and thyme all have edible flowers. 

So, choose a few of these flowers and plant them near or around your vegetable garden and you’ll have plenty of happy bees come and visit. It’s also prudent to grow plants that have different flowering seasons so that you always have an available food source for your local bee population.

Avoid Using Pesticides

If you want to attract bees to your garden and keep them coming back, you should definitely avoid using pesticides as these will not only kill the pests that you want to get rid of but also all the beneficial insects such as bees. 

Instead, you want to search for natural ways to get rid of pests or, if they’re not doing too much damage, just put up with them in order to create a healthy ecosystem in your garden.

Pests such as aphids can just be hosed off your roses while whiteflies can also be hosed off and then trapped using sticky yellow tape that you hang nearby. 

You can even make your own sprays using herbs like garlic to keep certain pests away from your flowers and vegetables. These types of natural sprays are perfectly safe to use around bees.

Provide a Source of Water

shallow bird bath with ornament which is perfect for bees

Just like every other living thing on the planet, bees need water to drink and help them to cool down on hot summer days. Therefore, you want to place a couple of water sources around your garden to keep the bees happy.

This could be in the form of some shallow dishes filled with water or even a nice bird bath. Make sure that you place some stones inside these. This allows the bees to climb out if they accidentally fall into the water.

Make sure that you check these water sources regularly and refill them as needed. Also, clean them out periodically so that you’re not providing a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Create a Bee House

bee house on its own stake

Bee houses have become very popular in recent years. They provide an excellent spot for bees to rest and lay their eggs. This can be as simple as drilling some holes in a block of wood and hanging this in a nice sunny spot in your garden. Make sure it’s high up in a tree.

Or, you can get a bit fancier and purchase a ready-made bee house from your local garden center. Or, search for one online. Hang this high up in a tree and wait for the bees to take up residence.

Spread the Word

Remember that your garden is not in isolation. There are other gardens all around you and all of these provide a natural ecosystem for bees and other native wildlife.

Therefore, try and encourage your neighbors to also create bee-friendly environments. Even if you only have a small outdoor space like a courtyard or balcony, you can still use this to attract bees. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some natural alternatives to pesticides that are bee-friendly?

You can make your own natural pesticide. Just mix water and dish soap and spray it on plants to deter pests. Other options include using neem oil, diatomaceous earth, and companion planting.

Should I only plant flowers to attract bees, or can I also plant vegetables?

You can definitely plant vegetables to attract bees! Bees are attracted to a variety of plants, including vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.

How can I ensure that my garden provides a steady supply of nectar and pollen for bees?

It’s a good idea to plant flowers with different blooming periods. This will provide a steady supply of nectar and pollen throughout the growing season. You can also plant a variety of flowers with different colors, shapes, and sizes to attract different types of bees.

Do I need to have a large garden to attract bees?

No, you don’t need to have a large garden to attract bees. Even a small container garden can provide a bee-friendly environment. Just make sure to plant a variety of flowers and provide a source of water.

Are there any other benefits to attracting bees to my garden?

Yes, in addition to pollinating your plants, bees also help to pollinate nearby wildflowers and crops. Plus, watching bees buzzing around your garden can be a fun and educational experience for kids and adults alike!

Final Thoughts

The more we work together, the greater chance we have of keeping these important pollinators happy and thriving. Personally, I could not imagine a world without bees. I hope that together, we can help to keep these beneficial insects buzzing around the world for the rest of eternity.

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