All gardeners, particularly those who also grow vegetables, understand the important role bees play. Many readers will also have heard of the threat bees face to their very existence with allegations that pesticides have decimated bee populations abroad.
While the same problems haven’t yet hit Australia in quite the same way, gardeners understand that protection — and encouragement — of their most efficient pollinators are essential to the health of the garden.
There are many pollinators in the garden but bees play the key role. If, for example, you grow cucurbits such as pumpkin or zucchini in your vegie patch, pollinators are essential as the plant grows female and male plants separately. Bees pollinate the plant by transferring the pollen between the two as they collect nectar.
And they provide this service free! The cost of hand pollinating flowering vegetable plants cannot really be estimated as time and natural skill is needed. So, as bees are so important for the gardener, how best can you attract them to your garden to do their wonderful work?
Evergreen Growers has a few ideas.
Variety of flowering plants. The chief attraction for bees — both native and introduced species — is to have plenty of flowering plants to your garden that provide pollen for extended periods throughout the year. While native plants are great — they also attract native birds — we recommend making a flowering herb border around your vegetable and plant beds.
Put in plants that flower in sequence. Plant a bee smaorgasbord! This gives bees a constant supply of pollen that will encourage them to return throughout the growing times of the year.
Plant the flower beds in clumps. Attracting bees will be more successful if flowers are planted in groups rather than singly. Bees are attracted to these clumps as they forage for a large source of nectar.
Give bees water. Water is essential for bees’ survival as it is for all living things. Providing a water source will help encourage bees to your garden to stay.
Don’t use pesticides. By maintaining an organic garden you help maintain the health of the bees. As discussed, many groups and some scientific studies, maintain that the decline of bees overseas can be attributed to the overuse of pesticides.
Should you need any further advice on the best flowering tubestock plants to buy for your climate zone to help attract bees to your garden, please don’t hesitate to contact us at the Evergreen Growers website, or add a query or start a discussion over at our Facebook Page. Please share any tips you may have on how to attract — and keep — bees in your garden.