Plants to Encourage Bees in the Organic Garden

July 10, 2018 2:42 am0 commentsViews: 34

Not only do bees produce honey, they pollinate many of the plants which we or the animals which we eat rely on. Bees are active in the garden from very early in spring until the autumn frosts. It’s important to have suitable plants in flower throughout this period. They feed on nectar and take away large quantities of pollen to feed their young whilst carrying out the vital task of pollination, thereby ensuring the production of fruit and seeds later in the season.

The Decline of the Honey Bee

Their rapid decline is thought to be due to one or all of the following factors; namely the ‘ varroa mite’, the use of certain nicotine based pesticides, genetically modified crops and a series of wet summers. The inclusion of plenty of nectar rich flowers in the organic garden would go a long way to helping bee populations recover.

No Need to Fear Getting Stung

Understandably many people are hesitant to plant areas that are attractive to bees fearing they may get stung In actual fact most are gentle creatures simply searching for food and water for themselves and their young, a task in which they become so engrossed that you can even stroke them without getting stung.

Different Kinds of Bees Prefer Different Sorts of Flowers

Honey bees and bumble bees are widely known, but amazingly there are about 250 species of bees in Britain. The greater the variety of flowers on offer in the garden the more types of bees will visit. Bees’ tongues vary in length from about 1mm to 20mm and each species goes for flowers suited to its length of tongue. Short tongued bees favour dandelions and other plants in the daisy family, because the nectar is found in short tubular florets. Some bumble bees need flowers with long trumpets like foxgloves where the bee always starts with the oldest flowers at the bottom of the spike and after working their way to the top fly off to a different plant thus ensuring cross pollination.

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