Whether you are a beekeeper or not it is beneficial to plant a pollinator garden. Pollinator gardens are gardens that specifically contain plants for attracting bees and butterflies. Not only are these bee gardens beautiful, they also play a big role in helping bees. If you have a vegetable garden, pollinators are essential for your plants to produce fruit and vegetables.
Bees visit many flowers a day to forage pollen and nectar. The pollen and nectar is then stored and used to feed larvae and make honey. If you are a beekeeper, you want your bees to forage on the best flowers to produce the best tasting honey. So what are the best flowers for bees to make honey?
Single flowered plants are the best for bees because the pollen and nectar are easily accessible. Bees also prefer flowers that are colored yellow, blue, and purple.
How to Choose the Best Flowers for Bees to Make Honey
- Skip hybrids and double flower tops. While these flowers may be beautiful, they are not the best for bees. Many hybrid plants have been bred not to seed, therefore they offer little to no pollen for bees. A double flowered plant contains extra petals. These plants lack pollen and the nectar is difficult for bees to access.
- Plan for your garden to bloom year round. Bees enjoy a variety of flowers that bloom during different seasons. See below for a list of flowers bees love, by season. It is also recommended that you plant a mixture of annual and perennial flowers in your garden. Annuals are planted in the spring and summer, bloom for the season, and then die. Perennials bloom every year, though they remain dormant in the winter.
- Bees love flowering trees. If you have the space, consider planting a flowering tree. Trees are great because they provide a large amount of nutrient rich pollen and nectar. Maple trees, Crapemyrtle trees, and various fruit trees are good for bees.
- Plant wildflowers. Not only do bees love them, they are also easy to grow and care for. I suggest getting a mixture of wildflower seeds. These pre packaged mixtures contain a variety of flowers that are attractive to pollinators.
Why Plants for Attracting Bees Are Important
If you haven’t heard by now, bees need our help. There has been a rapid decline in the bee population over the past few years. Experts say that there has been a nearly 40% decline in honey bees last year. A loss of that magnitude is unsustainable and poses a huge problem for us.
The produce industry in the US is a $60 billion industry. Pollinators such as bees and butterflies are essential for crop production. Simply put, no bees = no fruits and vegetables. The loss of bees will be directly related to the rise in food costs. There are several reasons for the decline of the honey bee population. Colony collapse disorder, mites, disease, poor nutrition, and exposure to pesticides are main factors.
How to Help Bees
Everyone can do their part to help bees. Providing plants for attracting bees at your home is something most people can do. If you are going to plant a pollinator garden be sure not to use pesticides, as they are harmful to bees.
Bee baths are also very helpful to bees. They need access to a supply of clean water. To do this, fill a shallow dish with water and add some rocks and twigs for the bees to rest on.
Flowers that Bees Love
- Bee Balm
- Black Eyed Susan
- Joe Pye Weed
- Bug Bane
If you live in a home without a yard or garden you can still have the best flowers for bees to make honey. Consider having a small container garden of plants bees are attracted to. Your pollinator garden does not need to take up a lot of space and will still be helping bees.
The best flowers for bees to make honey are single flowered, non hybrids. Bees prefer the colors yellow, blue, and purple. The best pollinator gardens contain flowers that bloom year round, with both annual and perennial flowers. Do not use chemical pesticides, as it is toxic to bees.