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- Use local native plants. Research suggests native plants are four times more attractive to native bees than exotic flowers. They are usually well adapted to your growing conditions and can thrive with minimum attention. In gardens, heirlooms varieties of herbs and perennials can also provide good foraging.
- Provide fresh water that is very shallow as bees have short little legs
- Don’t use pesticides. Most pesticides are not selective. You are killing off the beneficial bugs along with the pests. If you must use a pesticide, start with the least toxic one and follow the label instructions to the letter, it’s the law.
- Plant for flowers that bloom in sequence.
- Choose several colors of flowers. Bees have excellent color vision to help find flowers and the nectar and pollen they offer. Flower colors that mainly attract bees are blue, purple, violet, white, and yellow, which are better than pink, orange, and red.
- Plant flowers in clumps. Flowers clustered into clumps of one species will attract more pollinators than individual plants scattered through the habitat patch. Make the clumps four or more feet in diameter where space allows.
- Include flowers of different shapes. There are four thousand other species of bees in North America, and they are all different sizes, have different tongue lengths, and will feed on different shaped flowers. Consequently, proving a range of flower shapes means more bees can benefit.
- Have a diversity of plant species flowering all season. Most bee species are generalists, feeding on various plants through their life cycle. Several plant species flowering at once, and a sequence of plants flowering through the spring, summer, and fall where you can support a range of bee species that fly at different times of the season.
- Plant where bees will visit. Bees favor sunny spots over shade and need some shelter from strong winds.
If you have questions about your yard and garden, please call the Bladen County Cooperative Extension office at (910) 862-4591.