Many people think of bees as a nuisance, but they are quite beneficial to have buzzing around your garden. These busy little insects are responsible for much of the pollination that takes place. If a plant is not pollinated, it will not be fertilized. If it is not fertilized, it will not produce fruits or seeds, so it’s obvious your garden would benefit from the presence of the best pollinators around.
Bees are usually paired with thoughts of a large field of flowers, or non-edible plants outside of a vegetable garden. However, it is quite simple to lure bees over to where you need them the most. Bees are attracted to brightly colored and aromatic flowers and plants, so having a section of flowers amongst the vegetables is a great way to get the bees in the general area.
When choosing which flowers to integrate into the vegetable garden, try to plant native flowers. Native flowers will be more attractive to bees since they are already familiar with them. Native plants and flowers also fair better in their natural surroundings making them easier to care for than exotic plants and flowers.
Choose a few different kinds of the brightly colored native flowers and plant a large quantity in one section of your garden. Then plant a few of the same native flowers throughout your garden. The larger flower section will make the garden more visible to the bees, and the flowers planted throughout your garden will help guide the bees to your crops. The larger flower section will make the area more memorable to the bees, and they will be likely to return, in larger numbers, to collect the nectar and pollinate your plants.
If you want the bees to stay permanently, you can create a shelter for them. Contrary to popular belief, almost all bees do not live in hives. Many dig tunnels under ground, construct makeshift nests, or find small cracks for shelter. Some gardeners lay down many layers of mulch and plastics to prevent weeds from growing, but this will also prevent the bees from staying. To combat this, leave the ground around the flowers un-mulched, or at most, lay down a very light layer of mulch, making sure the bees can get to the dirt. Also, leaving grass, a bit of dirt, and other nest-making materials out will help the bees make their permanent home in your garden. Adjusting the amount of nesting materials you supply will allow you to adjust the number of bees around. This will help make sure the bees do not take over the garden, which is very rare anyway.
Bees can be a great addition to any type of garden and will definitely bring your garden to life.