Attracting Bees To The Vegetable Garden

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Bees are sometimes regarded as a menace in the backyard. They can buzz around you becoming annoying or possibly even sting you if you get them mad. The truth is that bees are very important to the productivity of your vegetable garden. Bees are the number one pollinator in the U.S. You can work like crazy on the care of your precious vegetable plants, but if bees do not visit some of the blooms, your vegetable garden could be in trouble.

Why do I want to attract bees to my vegetable garden?

attract-beeBees have an important role in the production of vegetable plants – by pollinating the flowers (or blooms). When you see a bee perched on a flower that bee is looking for two things: pollen and nectar. Pollen provides a balanced source of protein and fats for the bee. Nectar is loaded with sugar and is a bee’s main source of energy.

Bees are equipped with very tiny hairs on their bodies and legs. bee_pollenWhen the bee lands on a flower, pollen will stick to these hairs. When the bee moves to another flower he transfers the pollen from the previous flower to the next one, pollinating the bloom. This pollination is required for many garden vegetables such as some okra, beans, squash, cucumbers and many more. With out this pollination most vegetables will never set fruit, and that can be bad news for your garden.

Attracting bees to your vegetable garden

The best way to attract bees to your vegetable garden is to create an environment that bees will enjoy and visit. You can accomplish this by doing several things:

  1. Avoid using chemical pesticides – If you have unwanted bugs in your vegetable garden it may be tempting to use pesticides to control them. This is very bad for bees since the pesticides used to kill pests can possibly kill the bees as well. Try to avoid chemical pesticides and control pests using natural or organic methods.
  2. Use native plants – Use plants that are native to your particular area. Bees are far more likely to be attracted to plants they are familiar with over exotic varieties. Local plants are also more likely to grow better because they are far more adaptive to the climate conditions.
  3. Plant several different colored flowers – Bees have good color vision so they can pick out flowers that offer nectar and pollen. Bees are especially attracted to flowers which are white, blue, purple, violet, and yellow.wildflowers
  4. Plant flowers in clumps – Bees will be more attracted to large batches of flowers of one species over one or two flowers spread out over an area. Plant the flowers in clumps 2 or 3 feet wide, where space permits.
  5. Plant where bees will visit – Bees prefer areas which are sunny and need some shelter from wind. The sunny side of a wall or fence would be perfect.

Plants and flowers that attract bees

Here is a list of excellent plant and flower choices for attracting bees. The types of plants and flowers which are attractive to bees does not stop with this list; there are many different types of plants and flowers that will attract bees. These are the most popular and easiest to grow:

  • Agastache
  • Aster
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Caltrop
  • Coreopsis
  • Cosmos
  • Creosote bush
  • Currant
  • Daisy
  • Elder
  • Goldenrod
  • Joe Pye Weed
  • Lilac
  • Lupine
  • Mexican Sunflower
  • Penstemon
  • Pincushion Flower
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Rhododendron
  • Scorpion-weed
  • Snowberry
  • Stonecrop (Sedum)
  • Sunflower
  • Wild buckwheat
  • Wild-lilac
  • Willow
  • Zinnia

Here is a list of herbs that are great for attracting bees:

There are also some weeds that are great for attracting bees such as dandelions. I wouldn’t recommend planting dandelions in your vegetable garden, but if you have them in your lawn (like I do) they can act as a good bee attractant.

With recent data suggesting bee populations are declining, it could be an important time to consider attracting bees, and create a buzz in your vegetable garden!.

Start Attracting Bees To Your Garden With These Beautiful Flower Seeds!

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Comments

  1. Do you think that the declining bee population could be due to the fact that so many farmers are using pesticides on their plants? Just a thought.

    • Hi Lindsey,

      Scientists believe there are many factors to the decline in bee populations. Some theories are Bee Collapse Syndrome which is believed to be caused by a parasite that infects bees. Some believe urbanization is destroying bee habitats at a very quick rate, which in turn kills bees. And yes, I’m sure the usage of pesticides doesn’t help much either.

      Thanks so much for your comment and have a great day!

  2. I was just outside and noticed my redbud tree had tons of bees buzzing around it. :) I know how important bees are ~ do you recommend planting these flowers right in your veggie garden?

    Tee ~ do you keep bees? A couple years ago we had a swarm land in our yard. I really wish I had known more about beekeeping at the time. If it happened now I’d just keep them for myself ~ instead of paying another beekeeper to come and get them. I’m really thinking about keeping bees.
    .-= Jackie Lee´s last blog ..What’s in the Kitchen? Ham. =-.

    • Hi Jackie!

      Most of the flowers mentioned in the post can be planted right in the vegetable garden. You can also use the bright beautiful flowers as a border around the garden patch. Before planting, I would double check to make sure the flower you are planting is compatible to the veggies you are planting next to. If you have some ideas, just shoot me an email and we’ll find out if it’s compatible :)

      Oh… and no, I’ve never kept bees myself. I’ve always been fascinated by bees and ants but never really had the desire to keep them. Let me know if you do decide to start keeping them!

      Thanks and have a great day!

  3. I’m super slow in getting around to comment, but I linked to this a while ago on my weekly roundup. The post is under my name. I’m fascinated by bees and hubs is considering getting some hives going – his grandpa kept bees for years and years. Pretty cool – thanks for sharing!
    .-= Lenetta @ Nettacow´s last blog ..Birthday Crafting =-.

    • Hi Lenetta,

      I know what you mean about the commenting – I’m slow about it sometimes too ;) Bees are truly fascinating and important creatures. Thank you so much for linking to the post! I am glad you enjoyed the post and hope your readers find it useful.

      Have a great day!

  4. When my purple sage blooms I have bees galore but otherwise very few bees visit my vegetable garden. I have tried sugar water without success. My tomatoes, peppers, and beans are producing very well but my cucumbers are a mass of vines and flowers by the baby cucumbers are forming and then turning yellow telling me no pollination occurred. Wish I could get the honey bees in my garden.

  5. Hi, thank you for your post.. this is great information…
    I am growing my first vegetable garden this year and ,,, OMG so many things i would do differently. In my garden are tomatos, cucumbers, red peppers, chili peppers and collards. I made the mistake of planting my cucumbers next to my tomatos!!! First i have plenty of bees all over my garden especially in my cucumber flowers… the problem is the cucumbers are grabbing the tomato plants and they are not growing UPWARD.. I think the cucumbers are pulling the tomatos down? what should i do??

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