How to Plant a Honey Bee Friendly Garden
In the winter of 2006 the honey bee population began to die out. Since then, as much as 70% of some bee populations have died as a result of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Seventy farm grown crops, about one-third of our natural food supply, rely on honey bees for pollination. Imagine peanut better without jelly. If the honey bees disappear, so will the grapes and the strawberries, along with many of the other foods that have become not only favorites, but staples of the modern diet. You can help restore the honey bee population with a bee friendly garden.
Attract and nourish honey bees with nectar producing plants. Wild flowers, including asters, goldenrod, sunflowers, even dandelions will provide food for the hives, and the native bee population as well. Plant flowering vegetables and fruits: apples, apricots, avocados, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, pears, pumpkins, squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, and cucumbers are all good choices for your garden.
Long Blooming Flowers
Plant long blooming plants, or a variety of plants that will bloom at different times throughout the spring and fall. Honey bees need to eat until they retreat to their hives for the winter. Try to group at least ten bee plants in a bunch or grouping.
Provide a pond, a fountain, or some other fresh water source. Not only do the bees need nectar, they need water as well.
Provide a space in your garden for native bees to make their home. Native bees do not live in hives, but in single living units underground. Leave a space in your garden un-mulched for them to gain access and set up housekeeping. A pile of undisturbed sand will work as well.
No Pesticides or Herbicides
Do not use pesticides and herbicides. Some of them are toxic to bees, and some aren’t. Many of them will leave a toxic residue for days or weeks. It is better to introduce good bugs to provide natural protection against pests, and to weed by hand.