Thursday, 26 October 2017

How To Be Bee-Friendly In Your Landscape Design

Bees are vital our local ecosystems. They pollinate the plants and are an important part of the food chain. But, many people take drastic measures to discourage bees and other pollinators from frequenting their flora, which is potentially harmful for the very lawns they wish to protect.
Here, we offer advice on which plants to avoid and which to consider when you want to attract beautiful buzzing bees.

Broadleaf evergreen shrubs

There are a number of low-lying broadleaf evergreen shrubs that won’t attract bees or their more aggressive cousins, wasps. Many are shade tolerant so these types of greenery make a great addition to your landscape but must be balanced with flowering shrubs, such as blueberry bushes, in order to offer a hospitable foraging zone for bees, butterflies, and other flying pollinators.

Evergreens are plants that, as their name suggests, remain green year-round. These trees and shrubs are not pollinated by bees but by the wind. They are common in virtually all regions and make excellent hedgers if you want a more private backyard. PennLive reports that while dense evergreens don’t provide food for bees, they do offer shelter, especially when paired with tall trees and ornamental grasses.

Flowering plants

Bees need flowering blooms to collect nectar and pollen for their hive and to pollinate other plants. There are a few varieties that, despite their beauty and inviting fragrance, aren’t particularly bee-friendly. In a 2007 article, LiveScience reported that bees tend to favor violet and blue hues. Irises and other tall, easily accessible flowers may be most attractive, especially in the spring. Red flowers are not as interesting for most bees, since their vision doesn’t pick up red as we do. Instead of the bright and brilliant color we see when we look at a bed full of red flowers, bees simply see a monotone sea of grey.

Flowers with long-throated blooms, like the foxglove, are also not especially conducive to an active bee population. A fall favorite in most of the country, marigolds are also considered a no-fly zone for bees. Marigolds have a very low pollen count and, due to their double corolla design, and are not attractive to bees and wasps. For more information on flowering plants to avoid when planning a bee-attracting garden, check out this list provided by Go Garden Guides. 

Accent plants and herbs

While we need the bees in our yards, it’s not a bad idea to discourage them from frequenting areas where people gather. Decks, patios, and porches can be designed as off-limits areas by including a few strong smelling herbs and accent plants that don’t act as an open invitation for bees and other perceived pests. Debug Pest Control recommends planters filled with spearmint and thyme. These herbs are pleasingly fragrant to humans but not pollinators. In larger areas, eucalyptus trees and bushes can work as a deterrent.

Living in harmony

It isn’t difficult to live side-by-side with bees. These beneficial flyers are usually non-aggressive and will take the path of least resistance while working the yard. Teach children, who are prone to bee stings in the summer, to stay away from densely flowered areas and to watch out for places bees like to hide, such as brush piles and dead trees. Before beginning any yard work, take a quick walk around your property to identify any areas where bees might be nesting or actively foraging. Don’t wear brightly-colored clothing outdoors, always wear protective footwear, and eliminate man-made attractants (food, beverages, and trash).

Remember, we need the bees and the bees need us to see their value. By balancing your landscape and respecting bees’ natural habits and habitats, we can encourage a healthy bee population and enjoy the fruits of their labor.



Article Kindly written for Grantham Beekeepers by;
Christy Erickson  info@savingourbees.org

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