My name is Dr Margriet Dogterom and am the founder and owner of Beediverse. I write this blog for all who love bees and who want to learn more about these wonderful creatures.
Gardening for bees is a lot of fun. One way of creating space for bee attractive plants is to create an edge of plants adjacent to your lawns. Bees need food in the form of pollen and nectar. Therefore choose plants that are attractive to bees and that are suitable for your region. The ultimate is to have flowers blooming throughout the spring, summer and autumn because different species of bees abound at different times of the year. A great way to see what attract bees is to go to a nursery at different times of the year and see which plant are the most attractive to bees. It is a fun way to go shopping. Go shopping for garden plants on a sunny day. The mornings are usually the best time to do this. Have fun and send us your pictures. The bees will love your garden and they will come back every year for your enjoyment.
This is a great fact sheet on what to consider when gardening for bees. Link to fact sheet.
“KFAR BILU, Rehovot A bee buzzed around the yellow, bell-shaped flower of the Lemon Mallee eucalyptus, one of dozens of eucalyptus varietals planted in an empty lot sandwiched between a supermarket and Route 40 of the busy
Bilu Junction. Its quiet, gracing presence in this orchard of smooth-barked eucalyptus trees proves that when flowering trees are planted, even on a dilapidated highway divider, they help preserve the local habitat for pollinating bees.”
Improving nectar and pollen availability improves the availability of food for all bees.
From the ‘News from the world of bees’ Editor Fran Bach. Jan 2017
PICKY EATERS: BUMBLE BEES PREFER PLANTS WITH NUTRIENT-RICH POLLEN
Bumble bees have discriminating palates when it comes to their pollen meals, according to researchers at Penn State. The researchers found that bumble bees can detect the nutritional quality of pollen, and that this ability helps them selectively forage among plant species to optimize their diets.
“Populations of many bee species are in decline across the world, and poor nutrition is thought to be a major factor causing these declines,” said Christina Grozinger, director of the Center for Pollinator Research, Penn State. “Our studies can help identify plant species and stocks that provide high-quality nutrition for bumble bees and potentially other bee species, which will help in the development of pollinator friendly gardens and planting strips.” According to Anthony Vaudo, a graduate student in entomology who led the study, scientists previously believed that bees’ preferences for flowering plants were driven by floral traits, such as color, scent, morphology or nectar concentration. “Here we show that bumble bees actually choose a plant for the nutritional quality of its pollen,” said Vaudo. “This is important because pollen is bees’ primary source of protein and lipids.”
Thank you Bruce for putting me onto this awesome reference. For anyone interested in identifying bumble bees in the west this is the one to use.
Bumble bees are the fuzzy bees in our garden. Their fuzziness makes them excellent pollinators. Here are a few facts from this Fact sheet.
Bees prefer to forage upside down on these flowers so their hind legs and bee butts are warmed by the dark petals as they drink nectar and collect pollen –
Peter Bernhardt, Ph.D., a professor of biology at SLU and research associate at the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust in Sydney, New South Wales, has been studying reproductive patterns in wildflowers in six countries for more than 40 years and, like most dedicated scientists, thrives on new discoveries such as how bees respond to the color of the flowers they pollinate.
“Remember how you were told that a dark coat keeps you a little warmer on a cold but sunny day?” Bernhardt said. “Some plants blooming in chilly environments have dark purple or almost black patches on their flowers to keep cold-blooded insects toasty warm as they pollinate.”
Exerpt from ‘News from the world of bees’ 14 Jan 2017