Pollen and nectar are two of the most important things in a honey bee’s life. They use them to feed their hives, and they need them to fuel their incredible journeys to find flowers as sources of food. The closer their hives are built to food sources, the easier those trips become and the better prepared for winter the hive will be.
Since a lack of nutrition is one of the major contributors to honey bee health issues, we can we can do our part to make sure that bees near where we live are treated to sustainable and nutritious sources of pollen.
Some of the best plants we can grow for honey bees are actually the same plants we see every day, because they make up the habitat honey bees are used to. These include wildflowers like asters, daisies, calliopsis and gaillardias, but they also include plants people often call weeds. Plants like butterfly weed and milkweed aren’t just good for honey bees either, as they provide an attractive and nutritious meal for other pollinators like butterflies.
In a way though, the biggest pollinator gardens, are our country’s millions of acres of farmland. With flowering plants like canola, the benefit isn’t just to the pollinators either, as when pollinated by honey bees, the crop actually produces a better yield with larger pods and more seeds.
Best of all, we can also benefit from the honey bees’ habitat just as they do. Planting raspberries or lavender, or even onions, can mean reaping a harvest after the honey bees have come and gone.
For more information about pollinator gardens, and for a free garden kit, make sure to visit Buzzing Gardens!