ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Choosing garden flowers to encourage bees

Updated on May 29, 2013

In recent years bees around the world have had a very hard time, and are in serious decline in some areas. Beekeepers are losing high percentages of their stock due to such problems as the Virroa mite, and the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder. It's not just managed beehives that are in trouble either, many wild bees, and some species of solitary bee (eg bumblebees) are also reported to be in decline. This is bad news for the environment, agriculture and the future of our planet due to the vital role that bees play in pollinating plants, in particular our food crops.

There is much speculation about the cause of the decline, ranging from use of pesticides, genetically modified crops, mobile phone signals and loss of habitat. Europe has recently decided to ban the use of a particular pesticide containing neonicotinoids, which have been shown to contribute to bee death - let's hope this has the desired effect. Whatever the cause of the trouble, you can help to make a difference by providing a little bit of habitat to encourage bees to feed and breed in and around your garden. Most importantly is a food source, and as bees feed on nectar you can make a really big impact by providing the kind of nectar rich flowers that your local bees will love.


A honey bee on nectarine blossom.  Bees are one of the best pollinators for fruit trees.
A honey bee on nectarine blossom. Bees are one of the best pollinators for fruit trees. | Source
A black bee on a skimmia bush.
A black bee on a skimmia bush. | Source
A bumblebee on a skimmia bush
A bumblebee on a skimmia bush | Source
Bumblebee on a sunflower
Bumblebee on a sunflower | Source

A general guide to choosing the right flowers is to choose some native flowers that grow well in your local area, and are known to be frequented by plenty of insects. You could throw in a few attractive wild flowers, such as ox-eye daisies, poppies, scabious etc, but they don't all have to be weeds! Cottage-garden type flowers are particularly good, such as sunflowers, hollyhocks, delphiniums, lupins, rudbeckia, foxgloves and so on. Sweet scented herbs such as lavender, rosemary and thyme are also very popular with bees. Exotic species don't do any harm either, there's no reason why you can't include some big colourful foreign flowers, but when choosing varieties go for the single flowered types rather than double flowers, as bees find these easier to get into to feed on the nectar. Bees also love flowering fruit trees, and will reward you by pollinating the fruit. Other bushes and trees that will encourage the bees into your garden include buddleia (which is also great for butterflies), skimmia, hawthorn, viburnum, rhododendrons and potentillas. Try to choose a good selection that will provide nectar all year round, including plants such as early spring bulbs.

The recommendations here are based on an English garden, but whatever part of the world you are from, the general principle will apply. Provide food for your local bees, and they will pay you back tenfold by pollinating your flowers, fruits and local agricultural crops, and if you are lucky you may even get some local honey.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      5 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks for this look at choosing flower plants to attract bees with the link for more information.

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 

      6 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Another great hub - I love your bee pictures and the effort you have made to attract them in your garden.

    • Imogen French profile imageAUTHOR

      Imogen French 

      6 years ago from Southwest England

      Updated with new bee pictures, spring 2012.

    • Imogen French profile imageAUTHOR

      Imogen French 

      6 years ago from Southwest England

      thank you for reading, commenting and sharing sgbrown.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 

      6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Great hub! Good information here. I have noticed a decline in the bees in my garden during the summer. I hope this is not a problem that continues to worsen. Voted up, interesting and sharing! Have a Bee utiful day! :)

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 

      6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      This hub was recommended to me by two of your fans. I am happy to say, they were right. This is a wonderful hub on two of my favorite topics... gardening and bees!

    • Hollie Thomas profile image

      Hollie Thomas 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      It is worrying, particularly when we think about food crops and the number of people that will rely on these crops in the future. We need bees to secure our own survival. This is a really interesting hub Imogen, thanks.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      The decline of the bees is very worrying, hopefully if the problem is given more profile, we can all help by planting more flowers to attract them.

      Many thanks for sharing and voting up.

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 

      7 years ago from Sweden

      It is very sad that the bees are declining since they are so important for all living on this planet. Very good advices and that you wrote about this, we need to take care of the few that is left!

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 

      7 years ago from Orange County, California

      I love seeing bees buzz around my house. We have lots of flowering plants that attract them, and have never been stung ... and I hope things stay that way!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)