Hello Bee Boxers!
I've been chatting a lot this spring with customers, bloggers, and bee lovers all asking the same question: "What can I do to help the bees?"
Of course, my gut response would be to say: "Start a beehive!!!"
But alas, Backyard Beekeeping is not for everyone, despite the recent rise in backyard beekeeping in Sacramento, CA.
For all those wondering what else they can do to help the honey bees, my advice is simple: Plant Native Flowers.
Did you know, that not all flowers are created equal? It's true: oftentimes the perfectly bred, fancy florals that are often chosen to occupy flower beds are in fact worse for bees than native wildflowers.
Despite the eye-catching and beautiful nature of "ornamental" flowers, they often don't contain enough nectar for a honeybee to actually utilize. This means that the honeybee will have to visit 2 or 3 times the normal amount of ornamental flowers just to gather the same amount of nectar it would from a native floral.
Imagine having to frequent two or three stores every time you go grocery shopping, just to get the basics you need to feed you and your family. It's a waste of time, it's a waste of energy, and it adds unnecessary stress on you.
Well, the same goes for a little honey bee, when they are surrounded by very little resources other ornamental flowers. They have to fly longer, and farther, just to find the nectar they need.
SO, if you want to help out your favorite little pollinators, choose florals native to your area to plant.
Do you live in the Sacramento/Northern California Area?
The following native wildflowers could be a great option for you!
Wildflowers to Plant:
Poppies, Common Yarrow, Wild Lilacs, Bush Sunflowers, California Bluebell, Sage Blossom, Cosmos, Purple Coneflower, Sunflowers, and Black-eyed Susans are all excellent floral sources for honey bees!
Ornamental Florals to Avoid:
Hydrangea, Daffodil, Pansy Flowers, Foxgloves, Datura, Geranium, Zinnias, Marigolds, Mums, Carnations, Orchids, and Starflowers.
Due to the genetic breeding of ornamental florals, they provide little nutrients for the honey bee. Also, the florals are usually sterile and do not contain nectar or pollen. It's not to say that you won't see a bee on one of the flowers mentioned above, it's just that these florals do not give the bee what it needs to survive.
Thanks for checking out our most recent blog post! Let us know if you ever have any feedback, comments, or questions!
- The Bee Box