Every garden needs pollinators, and bees are among the best. Without them, there would be very few flowers and even fewer fruits and vegetables. Pollinators are responsible for 1 out of every three bites of food you take. While the honey bee gets most of the credit for providing pollination, there are about 500 bee species in Ohio.
Bees rely on flowers for food to feed their young when they visit your garden; they are looking for two things.
Nectar - Nectar is loaded with sugars, and it's a bee's primary source of energy.
Pollen - pollen provides a balanced diet of proteins and fats.
Ideally, your garden should provide bee-friendly flowers rich in pollen and nectar, which bees can easily access from spring until late summer.
Whether your garden is a balcony, allotment, window box, hanging basket, pots, and tubs, or a swathe of green open space, we can all provide bees with a banquet of pollen and nectar throughout the year.
* Chose several colors of flowers:
Bees have a good color vision to help them find flowers and the nectar and pollen they offer. The colors that bees are most attracted to are blue, purple, violet, white and yellow.
* Plant flowers in clumps:
Flowers clustered into clumps of one species will attract more than individual plants scattered throughout the garden.
* Include flowers of different shapes:
Not all bees are attracted to the same flowers. Providing a range of flower shapes and sizes allows more bees to benefit.
* Have a diversity of plants that flower throughout the season:
Most bee species are generalists, feeding on various plants through their life cycle. By having several plant species flowering at once, and a sequence of plants flowering through spring, summer, and fall, you can support many bee species that fly at different times of the season.
* Plant where bees will visit:
Bees favor sunny spots over shade and need some shelter from strong winds.
* Don't use pesticides:
Most pesticides are not selective and will kill off the bees and other beneficial insects. If you must use a pesticide, use it in the early morning or late in the evening when bees are less active. Make sure to follow the label instructions.
Native Plants For Bees
- Dwarf Fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenia)
- Red Horsechestnut (Aesculus x carnea)
- Serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.)
- Eastern Redbud (cercis canadensis)
- Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica)
- Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)
- American Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea)
- False Indigo (Amorpha fruticosa)
- Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
- Common Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
- Sweetspire (Itea virginica)
- Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)
- St. John's Wort (Hypericum frondosum)
- Clethra (Clethra alnifolia)