Guest post by Emma Croft

Image via Unsplash

Beekeeping and gardening go hand-in-hand. Beekeepers who grow their own pollinator gardens provide year-round forage for colonies and an attractive environment for native bees and wild swarms. After setting up your custom handcrafted beehive, use this FAQ from Old School Garden to turn your backyard into a beekeeper’s paradise.

What are the must-haves for a bee-friendly garden?

  • Bees prefer areas away from human activity. Establish a space along the edge of your property to dedicate to pollinators and use massed plantings, anchor plants, and hardscaping for visual definition.
  • Water features provide necessary hydration to bees and other pollinators. Because bees are small and easily drown, a water feature for bees should include rocks and shallow areas for collecting water.
  • Be mindful of neighbors when keeping bees in suburban areas. Educate neighbors about bees and ask about pesticide use. If neighbors aren’t bee-friendly, consider conducting a property survey and erecting a fence to prevent future disputes.

What are the best plants for honey bees?

  • Honey bees visit a wide variety of blooming plants, but they’re especially attracted to white, yellow, blue, and purple flowers. Avoid double-flowering varieties, which are hard for bees to access.
  • Choose plants that bloom at different times to create year-round forage for bees. Pay special attention to spring and fall as nectar and pollen sources are sparse during these seasons.
  • Avoid rhododendron, mountain laurel, California buckeye, summer titi, and yellow jessamine in gardens where honeybees reside. These plants are poisonous to bees.

How can I control weeds and pests without harming bees?

  • Start by rethinking the way you view weeds. Southern Living points out that many common “weeds” are beneficial for bees. These include clover, dandelions, and native flowers.
  • Mulching, hand-picking, trapping, crop rotation, and other all-natural controls are the most bee-friendly ways to manage weeds and pests in the garden.
  • When pesticides are needed, choose low-toxicity formulas, apply in the late evening or early morning, and avoid spraying while plants are in bloom.

A bee-friendly garden is the perfect way to go above and beyond for your bees. With these tips, you can easily transform your ordinary backyard into an ideal habitat for honeybees.

Want to learn more about being a better gardener? Read more informative articles at Old School Garden.