Most gardeners are familiar with the vital role that bees and other pollinators play within the ecosystem. Bees are amazing pollinators – in addition to the familiar honeybee, there are about 4000 species of native or wild bees in North America including bumblebees, carpenter bees, sweat bees, leafcutter bees and mason bees. However, due to causes that are still not fully understood, bee populations are currently in serious decline. Contributing factors may include parasites, diseases, exposure to pesticides, decline in habitat and reduction in plant diversity. By creating diverse plantings, incorporating wildflowers and native species, we can help build habitat and food sources for bees and other pollinators.
Tips and Plants to Attract Bees
When choosing new plants for your garden, consider the following factors to attract bees:
- Single flowers provide more nectar and pollen than double flowers
- Flat or shallow blossoms will attract the widest variety of bees
- Blue, yellow and purple are the most attractive colours for bees
- Bees especially love the following perennial plants: Aconitum (Monkshood), Agastache (Anise Hyssop), Aquilegia (Columbine), Aster, Echinacea (Coneflower), Geranium (Cranesbill), Lavender, Leucanthemum (Daisy), Monarda (Beebalm), Nepeta (Catmint), Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susan), Salvia