Individuals, gardeners, municipalities, government land management authorities and farmers can make a difference. Bees require a nest site, nest building materials and plants as a source of pollen and nectar.
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Native bees usually depend on undisturbed patches of bare soil, sand or clay banks and living and dead plant material as nesting sites. In an effort to promote native bees in the local environment, man-made habitats are becoming more popular. These can easily be placed in quiet, sheltered and sunny areas, either in or around farm sheds or placed in areas of native vegetation.
For more information about how to provide man-made habitats and nesting sites for native bees, visit Bees Business website, run by native bee researcher Dr Megan Halcroft. Avoiding or reducing pesticide use is essential for protecting native bee pollinators. Pests can often be controlled by other means, for example by encouraging their natural predators and other means of cultural control.
For more information about how to minimise the use of chemicals which may affect honey bee and native bee populations, visit the BeeAware Pollination and pesticides pages. Native bees do not travel as far as honeybees so they rely upon more local sources of nectar. If you are looking to increase the native bee population on your farm, it is important to manage remnant or natural areas of vegetation.
Plant a Bee Garden – Create an oasis for bees and other pollinators
In agricultural regions, vegetative wind breaks or areas of natural or remnant vegetation could be managed as refuges for plants which support native bees. Despite the unlikelihood of consecutive warm days in late winter for your honey bees to reap the full potential of red maple and willow blooms, the nutrition they acquire from these species is enough to boosts the hive - allowing them to maximize on the next progression of flowering plants. Red maple blossom visited by Honeybee: Image source here. Come mid-April through early May, many of your small flowering and fruiting trees will begin to bloom.
Larger flowering trees include Ohio buckeye and Yellow buckeye. Anyone of these would work well in a mass planting. For example: 5 service berries, 5 eastern redbuds, 5 plums… the more the merrier.
Honey bees are not choosy
We need people like you to let us know! Honeybee on American plum blossom: Image source here. Chickadee on eastern redbud: Image source here. This image of balled-and-burlapped serviceberries and redbuds illustrates their bloom progression very well.
The serviceberries on the left are in peak bloom and the redbuds on the right are beginning to bloom. Rows of individual species like this create very compelling corridors for your bees to forage.
Create a Honeybee Haven with Native Plants and Flowering Herbs
Late Spring May through early June is a very productive time because many large flowering trees begin to bloom. Again, planting in groups is best but remember these species get really large - so provide enough space for each one to grow. Catalpa tree blooming: Image source here. The American chestnut once on the edge of extinction from the chestnut blight is coming back thanks to the efforts of the American Chestnut Fountain and other organizations to breed resistant trees.
Foreign bees monopolize prize resources in biodiversity hotspot
Example of honey made from black cherry, tulip tree and black locust: Image source here. Tulip tree flower: Image source here. The basswood can produce , pounds of honey per acre. Honey from these two trees is world-renowned as the best you can get!
Best Native Plants for Honey Bees
Sourwood tree has breath taking fall color note flower forms persist : Image source here. Field of common milkweed with example of monarch butterfly caterpillar: Image of source of milkweed here , image source of caterpillar here. Example of sourwood honey note the bronze hue : Image source here.
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Mid-Summer July-August the blooming trees will stop flowering and herbaceous plants will take over. Fireweed can be found across north American all the way up to Alaska where it makes great honey! This crude sketch illustrates how one could make an effective perennial garden catered to honey bees using the plants we suggested in large patches. Like the image of the polar bear you and your bees want to experience a sea of color - extensive patches of flowers. The larger the patch the better, if you have more than a garden and actual land think about curated meadows with hundreds of plants flowering, then create a series of meadows adjacent to each other which bloom at different times.
These shrubs should be used in long rows or as boarders to your meadow or perennial bed.