Bees visit gardens to gather nectar to feed their families, called colonies. Nectar is the sweet stuff found inside flowers and when the bees gather this nectar, they pick up a bit of pollen from each flower. As they move from flower to flower, some of the pollen from the last flower drops onto the next flower, helping to pollinate it. Pollination helps the flower produce offspring (or children!), and also the fruit and vegetables that we eat.
A single bee can visit up to 5000 flowers in one day but without suitable food sources, they can starve and become weak.
Bees need our help to survive. When something is wrong with our bees, something is wrong in the environment! Bees love all kinds of plants, but do have some particular favourites. Making a garden ‘bee-friendly’ means the bees will love to visit your place.
Bee Balm - attracts bees, and other insects such as butterflies.
Herbs - bees love the flowers of mint, lavender, sage, thyme, oregano and rosemary.
Roses - good to generate a lot of insect traffic and can also increase the number of bees in the garden.
Fruit trees – bees love the nectar of apple, pear and peach tree flowers. They also like citrus flavours of lemon and orange trees.
Bees eat their vegetables too. Tomatoes and capsicums have yellow flowers….The colour YELLOW seems to attract the most bees. That's why bees, especially honeybees, love dandelions. Other yellow flowers, such as yellow asters, lilies and daisies, are also loved by bees.
Ask Mum and Dad not to be so tidy in the garden and let some weeds flower, including in the lawn (grow a meadow!). Clovers, dandelions and plenty of other weeds are a great source of food for bees.
Honey bee on marigold
Honey bee on lavender
Honey bee on wild fennel
Honey bees soaking up water from the soil next to a stream