You may be familiar with the concept of butterfly gardens, but the notion of an outdoor space specifically designed to attract bees strikes fear into the hearts of many people. Although they’ve gotten a bad reputation as vicious, stinging pests, bees are actually a vital link in the global food supply chain. Bees are pollinators, and without their help, the world’s supply of most fruits, vegetables, nuts, and oils would be virtually eliminated.

Ready to do your part to protect bees and help the world’s ecosystem thrive? Keep reading to learn how to attract bees to your garden.

backyard with native plantsFill Your Garden with Native Plants

Native plants, or those that have adapted to grow in your area of the country without much extra care, are an excellent starting point for creating a garden that will appeal to bees. These plants have coexisted for many years with the bees and other critters in the area, so bringing native plants into your yard simply extends the native ecosystem.

bee flying near purple flowersChoose Colorful Blooms

Bees gravitate toward brightly colored flowers and plants, but they can’t see the color red. Keep this in mind as you design your bee garden. Flowers that attract bees bloom in shades of blue, purple, and yellow. Other bee-friendly plants include herbs such as borage, basil, and rosemary and vegetables such as squash and zucchini.

bee collecting nectar from cherry tree blossomCreate a Safe Habitat

Feeding bees that visit your garden isn’t too difficult—planting a mix of pollen- and nectar-producing plants will ensure that the bees have plenty to eat. Don’t forget to include a water source. Small, naturally occurring puddles work well, as do shallow planters or dishes. A garden that is allowed to grow freely will be a more comfortable landing spot for bees. Avoid using pesticides and insecticides, and don’t worry about keeping the plants perfectly pruned and shaped. Bees will use the garden as shelter from the elements, so the more protection the plants can provide, the better. Exposed dirt will serve as a nesting spot for solitary bees that don’t belong to a colony.

Attracting bees to your yard doesn’t necessarily mean turning your property into a series of small apiaries. A bee-friendly garden can be as small or as large as you’d like. Your neighborhood bees will appreciate the effort whether it’s your entire backyard or just a few potted plants on your patio.

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