Want to attract more bees to your veggie garden?
Are you looking to help support the sustainability of your neighbourhood bee population? With a few simple tips, your garden can become a haven for our littlest livestock. Read on to discover!
Bees, whether honey bees or native bees, play an important role in our ecosystem and are critical to our food supply. Here’s a few reasons you might want to have them naturally buzzing their way into your garden:
Just like humans, bees need a balanced diet for their growth and development. Their diet consists of the pollen and nectar from flowers which provides them essential carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals to keep them buzzing at their best.
It is important bees forage on a wide variety of flowering plants to obtain a balanced diet and feel their best. That’s why planting a diverse array on bee-friendly plants in your garden can make such a big difference to their wellbeing!
Here are a few tips to get you started. A beautiful garden filled with bees can be very rewarding!
One of the easiest ways to attract bees is to ensure their favourite food sources – pollen and nectar – is in abundance year-round. You can do this with a little planning to ensure you have plants in flower across the seasons.
Spring: You’ll be spoilt for flower choices in spring, but look to include rosemary, forget-me-nots, Manuka, snowdrop, as well as allowing some of your herbs to go to flower such as basil, coriander and rocket. During spring, vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes will begin to flower too.
Summer: Vegetables and roses come to life in summer! Tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, capsicum and summer berries will be in full bloom. If produce isn’t an option for you, paper daisies, roses and natives such as grevillea (which depending on the variety, will bloom year-round) and eucalypt are beautiful flower (and pollen) producers your bees will love too.
Autumn: Autumn is a wonderful time to enjoy the blooms of lavender, cornflower, daisies, camelias and begonias. Your winter produce will begin flower too including lemons, pears, figs and strawberries.
Winter: The gentle sun allows an abundance of flowers to bloom including those of pumpkin, lemons, limes and all citrus, as well as sunflowers, and marigolds. Just be sure to plant them in a location that captures the full winter sun!
Bees are attracted to colour and use the sun to find their way around. Choose plants that grow well in full sun and include lots of yellow, white, purple and blue flowers in your garden.
Solitary bees like to make nests in small holes. Why not give them the 5-star treatment in your garden with a little ‘bee hotel’. You can get crafty and make one yourself or buy one already made. Make sure to place them in sunny spots and keep an eye on your different guests that check-in!
Water is just as important as pollen and nectar as this keeps the bees hydrated. Create a ‘bee bath’ by leaving a shallow dish of pebbles in water. You will want to keep this very shallow to avoid unwanted visitors like mosquitos and change the water often, so it remains fresh for your thirsty visitors.
Pesticides and other gardening products can be harmful to bees, so be careful in what you use. Keep an eye out for treatments that have no toxicity for bees and if you have to use one with possible low toxicity to bees, apply when bees are less active (such as at night or on a cold day) and avoid spraying the flowers of the plant.
To protect friends and family that may have an allergy to bees, create a little sign to let them know you have a bee friendly garden that they may need to take caution around. If a bee passes near you, be sure to avoid quick movements as these tiny little garden heroes will naturally get caught in the breeze you create moving. Simply move carefully away and you’ll both stay safe and enjoy a beautiful flowering garden together!
We have a FREE eBook “The Buzz On Bees” filled with even more information about the wonderful world of bees, and the role they play in our food supply. Simply join our Honey Lover’s Club to download now!
*AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination. 2020. The Extraordinary Honey Bee and Its Impact on the Food We Eat. Publication No. 20-084, AgriFutures Australia.