A well-tended garden is beautiful, but it takes more than just good looks to produce a bountiful harvest. One of the most important elements of a successful garden is pollinators, and there are few creatures more important to the health of your plants than bees.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to encourage bees to take up residence in your garden. Here are some guaranteed effective methods to attract bees to your vegetable garden:
Plant a Variety of Flowers
One of the simplest things you can do is plant various flowers that bloom at different times throughout the growing season. Bees are attracted to brightly colored flowers with a strong scent.
Some bee-friendly flowers include lavender, sunflowers, and marigolds. By planting a mix of these flowers, you can ensure that there will always be something in bloom for the bees to enjoy.
In addition to planting flowers, you can let your lawn grow a little longer than usual. Leaving some areas of your garden wild will give bees a place to rest and collect nectar.
Plant More Native Plants
Another great way to attract bees is to focus on planting native plants. These plants have evolved to coexist with local bee populations, and as a result, they are more likely to be appealing to bees.
Planting native plants in your garden will also help support struggling local bee populations. If you’re not sure which plants are native to your area, you can ask at your local nursery or do a quick online search.
Bees need water to survive, too. A shallow dish filled with pebbles and water is ideal, allowing bees to drink without becoming trapped. You can also place a birdbath in your garden. Not only will this provide a water source for bees, but you may also attract other beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings.
Pesticides can be harmful to bees and other pollinators, so it’s important to avoid using them in your garden.
If you must use pesticides, do so sparingly and only when necessary, or you can opt for more bee-friendly pest control methods, such as traps and barriers. Bio or eco-friendly products such as neem oil can also effectively control pests without harming bees.
Keep Your Garden Clean
A tidy garden is more likely to attract bees than a messy one. Be sure to remove any dead leaves or debris from your garden so it is clean and inviting for bees.
If you have to cut grass in spring, try your best to wait until June instead. This will allow bees to build their nests and lay their eggs before you disturb them. A movement called #nomowmay has even been started to encourage people to let their lawns grow to help save bees.
Build a Bug Hotel
A bug hotel, also known as a bee hotel, is a structure that provides bees with a place to nest and lay their eggs. You can build one using materials like bamboo, straw, and wood, or buy one online or at a garden center.
Building up a bug hotel can be a funny activity for kids and a great way to teach them about the importance of bees in the garden. It will provide a safe place for bees to reproduce and help other beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings—these bugs will help keep your garden free of pests.
The Bottom Lines
Bees are essential to a healthy garden—they help pollinate plants and keep the ecosystem in balance. As you can see, there are some things you can do to attract bees to your garden. You’ll soon see an uptick in bee activity in your garden by providing bees with the food, water, and shelter they need.
What are you waiting for? Get started today and enjoy the benefits of a bee-friendly garden!