Honey Bees are a trending topic for gardens. Bees rely on flowers to supply them with the food they need to survive while pollinating blooms in the process. Bees are extremely important to humans because they help to sustain our crops, pollinating much of the food we eat and also providing products used in cleaning and beauty products. They need a safe environment to ensure optimal health and longevity. You can help the bee population by planting a bee friendly garden. Here are 5 helpful tips to support these important pollinators.
1. PLANT FLOWERS FOR CONTINUOUS BLOOMING
Design gardens with season-long flowers using plants that pollinators are attracted to. If your flowers are not lasting, make sure to mix different varieties that bloom at different times. For instance, mix together spring bloomers, summer bloomers and fall bloomers so that the bees will be happy throughout the growing season. Here is a list of plants recommended for Minnesota bees:
2. CREATE A BEE BATH
Giving the bees a fresh water source is essential for the hive. Make sure they have a way to drink the water without falling in. You can simply create your own bee bath by placing marbles or stones in a shallow dish and fill with water; making sure the marbles or stones are not fully submerged. The stones offer the bees a place to rest while still being able to access the water. Try to elevate your bee bath so it is not sitting on the ground. Also, make sure it is easily accessible and placed near your blooms.
3. BUILD HOMES FOR NATIVE BEES
Some native bees need access to the soil surface for nesting. Leave a patch of the garden in a sunny spot uncultivated for native bees that burrow. Consider buying or building a bee home. Mason bee houses are available to shelter these solitary pollinators. Mason bees’ range in size but are typically about half the size of a honey bee, and rarely sting - only females will sting if under extreme stress.
4. ONLY USE NATURAL PESTICIDES
Using low impact and organic based products helps keep the bee’s environment as natural as possible. Typically, insecticides are more dangerous to bees while fungicides and herbicides are less toxic. If you do purchase a pest control product that is bee-friendly, always make sure to follow the correct dosage, make sure to only apply to foliage or stems and never apply directly to flowering blooms as it will keep all the wonderful bees away.
Organic Neem Oil is one of the best ways to repel pests. It has the added benefit of controlling a number of different fungi as well. Other bee-friendly options are Epsom salts and chrysanthemum tea. Epsom salts, which when placed on the ground, will control ground pests like slugs and snails. When chrysanthemums are brewed into a tea, the plant will release its natural insect repelling compound, pyrethrin. Make sure to only apply pyrethrin at night after the bees have finishing feeding and pollinating for the day and are back safely at home because if exposed directly to this compound, it can affect the bees nervous system.
5. RELOCATING BEES
If you ever encounter a swarm of bees outside a hive, don’t panic! A local beekeeper will come and collect the bees for a new home. Here is a resource Beekeepers in Minnesota.
Let our expert team of gardeners help bring the bees to your garden by clicking below to schedule your appointment today.