Best Trees And Shrubs For Bees
With bees playing an essential role in our food chain and plants and trees playing an imperative role in our ecosystem, it’s important to ensure that they’re working in accordance with each other. The sheer importance of bees has become an increasingly hot topic. Their health and survival have been threatened (in part by a lack of forage). The act of bees moving pollen from flower to flower is what puts fruits and vegetables on our dinner tables. Trees’ flowers provide pollen and nectar as a food source for bees, as well as assist them in making honey. So which trees and shrubs are they most attracted to? Let’s dive in.
Best Trees And Shrubs For Bees
When supplying bees with grub, flowering annuals and perennials may be what first comes to mind. The truth is, trees and shrubs flower too. And even more abundantly, with hundreds of pollen-laden flowers on just one single plant. The benefit of flowering trees is that bees don’t have to travel far. Their foraging is more efficient as they don’t have to fly too far from flower to flower. Additionally, trees will bloom earlier in the spring than perennials.
This can be essential for a bee’s survival as their energy’s been depleted after those long winter months. And finally, they provide adequate shelter. Dead stems and cavities will provide protection and nesting areas for both solitary and social bees. Let’s take a look at some different shrubs and trees that will have bees happily buzzing in your direction.
The buttonbush has one of the most unique flowers of any shrub, and pollinators tend to agree. They attract everything from bees to moths to butterflies to hummingbirds. The blossoms are usually a creamy white. The reason this plant is so valuable for bees is that it can bear flowers for an extended period of time. In some locations, it can be from July all the way into September.
Hydrangeas aren’t always a pollinator plant. However, there are some exceptions. The Gatsby Pink, in particular, emits a sweet honey-like fragrance that will attract pollinators on a breezy summer day.
Bees fall head over heels for daphne as the fragrance is both divine and strong. You can even find bees and butterflies foraging on these beautiful pink flowers in pretty cool temperatures.
With wintertime being a rough season for pollinators when it comes to finding food, mahonias will step up to the plate. Just be sure to get the right mahonias, such as the mahonia aquifolium. These guys bring in food in the winter when bees need it most.
Dogwood trees attract all kinds of wildlife. From robins to sparrows to spring azure butterflies. Their spring flowers lure in bees and other pollinator insects. The pagoda dogwood has a delicate white flower that attracts short and long-tongued bees. These fluffy spring flowers are loaded with nectar.
The tiny white blossoms of this shrub bring in a variety of bees. Sitting at about 1 to 3 feet tall with perfect five-petal flowers, they are sure to bring in many species. Additionally, they even grow a black fruit that can be eaten fresh or saved for whatever wildlife you have to lurk around.
This deciduous tree is quite a bee-friendly tree. They’re one of the first trees to produce flowers in the spring season with ample amounts of nectar and pollen, making them essential for starving bees. This stimulates colony building after those dead winter months.
Tulip-like flowers are perfect for pollinators. Whether it’s the bumblebee, long-tongued bee, or ruby-throated hummingbird, it’s a mid-season bloomer that’s sure to coax in the flying creatures.
This tree is a favorite among beekeepers due to its irresistibility for bees. You can catch bumblebees, sweat bees, flies, and wasps surrounding this tree. So much so that when the basswood is in full bloom, the fragrant yellow flowers attract such an immense amount that the humming can be heard from several feet from the tree.
Keeping bees happy and healthy
Keeping bees fed and thriving is becoming an increasingly important task. They rank as one of the most important insects and we rely on them more than we realize. The list of best trees and shrubs for bees can be extensive but these should be enough to get you started on your bee adventure.
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