Honeybees are Important for Pollinating your Organic Garden


Help restore the declining population of honeybees by creating your own bee-friendly garden. Bees are in trouble across North America. Honeybee populations have declined about fifty percent since 1945, according to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. During that time the number of crops requiring pollination has doubled. The shrinking bee population has many reasons which include pesticide use, habitat loss, parasites, pathogens, and stress.

There is still hope with a number of remedies home gardeners can do to help. Stop pesticide use. Of the many pesticides and herbicides (even organic ones ) many of the labels say nothing about toxicity to bees.

Even some organic ingredients (the active ones), like rotenone and spinosad, are deadly to bees. Try planting pest resistant varieties of trees, shrubs, vegetables, and flowers instead. Use netting and supported row covers to protect food crops. If you absolutely need to use pesticides please use organic and spray in the evening when bee activity has ceased.

Honey Bee on Rosemary Honey Bee hives Honey

Honeybees are the only extant members of the Apini tribe all in the Apis genus, there are only seven recognized species with a total of 44 subspecies. Historically anywhere from six to eleven species have been recognized. Primarily distinguished by the production and storage of honey and the construction of perennial, colonial nests out of wax. They represent only a small fraction of about 20,000 known species of bees. Other types of related bees produce and store honey, but only members of the genus Apis are true honey bees.

Plant Flowers to Attract Bees


Single forms Attract More Bees

  • Anis hyssop hardy zone 4 to 11
  • Aster hardy zone 3 to 9
  • Bee Balm hardy zone 3 to 10
  • Black eyed Susan hardy zone 4 to 9
  • Catmint hardy zone 3 to 9
  • Chrysanthemum hardy (can be annual or perennial depending on species
  • Columbine hardy zone 3 to 9 by species
  • Cosmos grown as an annual
  • Fireweed hardy zone 2 to 9
  • Goldenrod hardy zone 2 to 9
  • Ironweed hardy zone 4 to 8
  • Joe Pye weed hardy zone 3 to 8
  • Lavender hardy zone 5 to 8
  • Lobelia hardy 2 to 9 by species
  • Lupine usually annual but some perennial species
  • Marigold grown as an annual
  • Mint hardy zone 3 to 11 by species
  • Obedient plant hardy zone 2 to 8
  • Penstemon hardy zone 3 to 11
  • Pincushion flower hardy zone 4 to 11
  • Poppy hardy by species annual and zone 2 to 9
  • Purple coneflower hardy zone 3 to 9
  • Purple prairie clover hardy zone 3 to 8
  • Russian sage hardy zone 3 to 9
  • Sage hardiness by species
  • Siberian squill hardy zone 3 to 11
  • Spiderwort hardy zone 4 to 9
  • Sunflower Annual
  • Thyme hardy zone 4 to 10 by species
  • Tickseed by species annual or hardy zone 4 to 9
  • Wild indigo, false indigo hardy zone 3 to 9 by species
  • Willow hardy zone 2 to 9
  • Zinnia Annual


Fireweed Joe Pye Weed Obedient Plant

Seventy percent of native honeybees nest in or near the ground. These bees like to nest in areas that are unkempt with brush piles and a nice wild appearing planting of some of the plants listed above. Sixty to eighty percent of the world's flowering plants depend on insects, including bees, for pollination.

The flavor is dependent on the plants that were visited.



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