There’s a lot to be grateful for when it comes to honey bees and their influence on our local ecosystems. The most obvious, of course, is the impact they have on the foods we eat. In addition to creating honey, a condiment that is considered to be a pantry staple in many cultures around the world, these insects help pollinate more than 80% of the world’s fresh produce.
Without honey bee pollination, many types of flowers, fruits, and vegetables would cease to exist. However, this isn’t to say that honey bees are always welcome. Though not all bees sting humans, certain species of bees can and will sting a human that poses a potential threat to their hive. While the Mayo Clinic notes that most people that get stung by a bee will only have minor symptoms that disappear after a few hours, it’s understandable for homeowners, especially those wit h little kids, to not want a hive of honey bees living in their home.
Whether you hope to attract honey bees to your garden or help prevent them, learn which plants are the biggest draws for honey bees.
Because a honey bee’s diet primarily consists of nectar and pollen extracted from the stamen of a flower, these insects are drawn to many types of flowers, including peonies. Peonies are perennial flowers that provide a pleasant fragrance within a garden and can thrive throughout most regions in the continental United States. In addition to honey bees, peonies can help bring hummingbirds to your garden, too. Both of these plants thrive in full sunlight and will begin to bloom in early spring.
Lavender is another fragrant plant that honey bees love to pollinate. This summertime plant is a beautiful addition to any garden and can be used to help relieve pain, decrease anxiety, and improve sleep, a s well as flavor a variety of salads and other recipes. Chrysanthemums, as another popular honey bee flower, bloom from early September until the first frost, and their vibrant colors can help brighten up any garden or flower bed. Because both lavender and chrysanthemums grow best in warm climates, these plants will thrive in gardens located in the southern United States.
HerbsNot only will growing herbs help bring honey bees toward your home, but it can help keep your kitchen stocked with garnishes, too. Rosemary and basil, two herbs that belong to the mint family, are especially appealing to honey bees. Starting in the early summer, both plants grow light purple flowers t hat produce plenty of nectar and pollen, as long as they are located in warm climates with access to plenty of sunshine.
To help attract honey bees with herbs during the fall months, consider planting oregano, thyme, and sage. These herbs provide excellent ground cover that can help fill an otherwise empty garden. All three types of herbs prefer full sunlight and will grow throughout the summer and fall, though sage will often begin to bloom in the early spring, as well.
Did you know that certain types of vegetables can appeal to honey bees, too? If you’d like to attract honey bees while also growing fresh, consumable vegetables, consider planting onions this upcoming season. Though actual onions grow several inches below the ground’s surface, each onion plant sprouts multiple flowers above ground that provide nectar for bees to pollinate. However, honey be es are not as drawn to onions as they are to other crops, so this vegetable should be planted in a secluded location, away from other honey bee plants, in order to truly entice these insects.
Another good plant for honey bees is the Jerusalem artichoke, or topinambour. This vegetable often grows wild throughout North America, but it can also be used to lure various types of bees, including honey bees, to your garden. As members of the sunflower family, Jerusalem artichokes produce bright yellow flowers above ground that draw bees in, while growing small tubers below ground that can make a delicious addition to any meal. These plants are notorious for spreading quickly, however, so it’s best if Jerusalem artichokes are contained to a single pot or planter.
From flowers, to herbs, to vegetables, there are many types of plants you can grow to help attract honey bees to your home. However, if you prefer to avoid hosting these pests in your backyard, refrain from growing these types of plants, and call a professional service technician at Terminix if you have a stinging insect in your home.