You can make a significant difference by planting a flower. It may seem simple, or a bit silly, but the world needs you to plant more flowers. Why? Because, food. Actually, there are tons of reasons but today we are talking about the food. Both for us and the bees.
Bees’ food is the pollen and nectar produced within flowers. Bees collect the food by flying between flowers and ‘accidentally’ pollinate the flowers through the process. After pollination the plant can produce fruit, seed, squash, nuts, ect. Without the bees’ help many fruits and seeds we eat everyday would disappear.
So, why do we need to plant flowers for bees? As the province continues to develop the bees’ food sources diminish. This makes it difficult for BC’s native bees to survive in urban centres. The native bees help maintain a healthy landscape in our cities as well as provide efficient pollinating services for the farms that surround our cities. Without the bees, our gardens would look bare and the abundance of fresh local fruits and veggies would diminish.
Here are some tips to get the most out of your bee garden:
- Be selective when choosing your flower colours. Bees see in the ultraviolet colour spectrum, plant flowers ranging from yellow to deep purple. Avoid orange and red, these colours are invisible to bees.
- Group flowers together. By having the same flowers grouped together, the bees don’t need to relearn how to enter each flower. This increases their efficiency to pollinate the garden and provide food for their hive.
- Plant diverse types of flowers in your garden. Having a range of flowers in your garden will encourage many types of wild bees to visit your garden. Some flower shapes are perfect for the large bumble bee while smaller flowers are better for other native bees. Offering a range of options also provides the bees more variety and nutrients as they collect food.
- Stick to single petal flowers. Although double petal flowers can be attractive, bees have difficulty navigating the flowers to find the pollen. For this reason, the single petal flowers are the way to go!
- Provide a dish with water and small rocks for landing pads. Bees get thirsty too. Having a small dish of water allows bees to find water while they are working in your garden. Make sure you add small rocks for the bees to land.
- Choose plants that bloom successively. This will provide food for the bees throughout the gardening season. By having flowers that bloom in the early fall and late winter, the bees can find food at the most crucial times.
- Try to avoid wildflower seed mixes. Unless you know exactly which plants are in the mix and how they will react to the environment, there’s a possibility that the wildflower mixes include invasive plants. But don’t be afraid of planting wildflowers in your garden when you know they are native to your region.
- Look for Neonic free plants. Research is currently being conducted to determine if Neonics have a negative effect on bees. It’s best to steer clear of plants grown with this chemical until we know how it effects bees.
- Find locally grown Bee Friendly Plants. We’ve compiled a list of popular bee friendly plants you can include in your garden. Our list was carefully selected by local nursery growers to help you select plants that are grown in communities around BC. Using locally grown plants is particularly important as it helps reduce the risk of introducing invasive plants, bugs and other issues that can impact BC’s biodiversity.
What’s the difference between pollen and nectar?
Watch our video to find out!
Use our searchable map to find local garden centres and landscapers in your area to help you create the perfect bee friendly garden in your yard.