It has often been said that bees are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat, we need all as an island to safeguard these important creatures given their role in pollinating many food crops and wild plants and their contribution to our food production and the diversity of our environment.
When a bee lands on a flower, the hairs all over the bees’ body attract pollen grains through electrostatic forces. Stiff hairs on their legs enable them to groom the pollen into specialized brushes or pockets on their legs or body, and then carry it back to their nest. By planting the right type of flowers, plants and trees, we can provide a larder for honey bees and other pollinators, habitats for wildlife and the pollination provides food for us and other wildlife from birds to insects. So, by planting for bees everyone is a winner.
With the spring equinox over on Friday 20th March, now is the time to choose plants that attract bees – Bees love native wildflowers, flowering herbs, berries and many flowering fruits and vegetables. Some honeybee favorites: mints, basil, sage, thyme, borage, oregano, lavender, chives, buckwheat, berries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cucumbers, tomato, winter squash, pumpkins, melons, watermelons, flowering broccoli, crocus, snowdrops, jonquils, tulips, sunflowers, asters, dandelions, clovers, lilacs, wisteria, cosmos, black-eyed susans, gaillardia, cup plants, goldenrod, loosestrife, bachelor’s buttons, bee balm, sedum, peony and honeysuckle.
If you have the space, planting any type of fruit tree is perfect and trees such as maple, willow, black locust and sumac are also good food sources for bees and provide an early spring food source for bees.
We can all join the World of Bee campaign in our own garden but also wouldn’t it “bee fabulous” to also encourage organisations such as Farmers’ Union, potato growers, garden centers, schools, states departments and the local businesses to grow a variety pollen and nectar bearing flowers.
Can you think how you could put “Bees at the heart” of your Corporate Social Responsibility?