I want to attract bees to my veggie garden

bigoledude(SE Louisiana)August 1, 2004

Living in "Zone 9" I am able to raise vegetables year-round. Honestly, I can't remember if I see bees during winter. Do they come out during the winter? My most important question is, should I plant specific plants in my vegetable garden to attract the honey bees or is the flowers on my vegetable plants sufficient? The more honey bees the better right? Ray

If God is on our side who can be against us!

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I posted the following in the topic "has anyone used 'bee scent'?" in this forum:

"I used bee scent in the past, before I started keeping honeybees. It will only attract honeybees (which it is made to attract) if there are honeybees around to be attracted. I atarted keeping bees in 2000 because there just weren't many (any)honeybees in my area."

Yes honeybees do fly year round and if they are in your area, they will be there during the winter. Honeybees are crop specific, so if you don't have acreage, plant what you want and enjoy and try a bottle of "bee scent" Amazon.com carries it.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2004 at 8:37AM
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As I've seen posted elsewhere "it's easier to attract a beekeeper or become one yourself than to attract a bee"

Planting flowers (vegetable or otherwise) can be hit and miss when it comes to honeybees. Assuming there is a hive somewhere in flying range, you are competing with all the flowers in a couple mile radius from the hive. They will choose the flowers they feel are best at the time (nectar quality, quantity, ease of gathering, distance, etc.) I've seen them completely ignore the 3 acres of sweet clover behind my house just feet from their hives to travel half a mile or more to basswood trees when they start blooming. I always find it surpising how few bees I see around the house when I have many hives on my property.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2004 at 12:59PM
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For several years I have planted a few seedlings in the midst of my planter boxes. I have 9 now - and plantings are for the most part - wherever there is vacant spot, in the soil, that's where the seedling goes. So these boxes are in different locations, some shadier - some sunnier than others. I planted Thai or cinnamon basil in all, sprinkled dill seeds in the boxes to grow where they will and allowed several plants to go to seed - parsley, cilantro, celery, to attract bees and other beneficials.

Another plant borage is attractive to bees. I notice the thing that attracts not only honey bees but also bumbles is ice plant. I have a lot of Aptinea around - (great for fire-resistance along the canyon rims).

Bear with me - a story. I used to keep bees in the desert - but moved to town. I brought a bee hive with me -thinking I would start up some day. It was in good shape and bee-ready - with combs and inserts, etc. Anyway, I postponed doing so, because of the frantic building in the area. About 2 months ago, I noticed a swarm in my apricot tree. I called a professional bee-keeper to climb the tree - a ladder job - and he brushed the bees into my waiting hive. Truly, a gift of the gods!

Well, as the above posts say, those bees will pick and chose, mine seem to like the Aptinea - but they also seem to like a bit of spice now and then, and do me the honor of visiting my veggies from time to time. I seem to have plenty of pollination anyway.

Forgive the ramble, but try the borage, dill, cilantro, basil trick if you have a mind to, and even if the bees don't like them, perhaps you will.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2004 at 10:57AM
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i am growing teskubato squash for the first time. the honeybees are ALL OVER INSIDE THE BLOOMS in the morning.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2004 at 8:15PM
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So - guess we need to add teskubator squash to the list of honey bee attractants - Way to go!


    Bookmark   August 4, 2004 at 10:52PM
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beemantn(West TN)

Lemongrass grown inside over winter and placed in the garden is a good attractant.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 2:17AM
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the first plant i saw them on thiss year was the oregano flowers

    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 10:35PM
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Yas - everyone likes a little spice in their regular diet once in awhile.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2004 at 11:49AM
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I'm new to the thought of beekeeping, but folks,
Buckwheat brings those little buggers to the garden
every time. It is very inexpensive in bulk and very
beneficial to the soil.

Just wanted to mention that. :-) Love this forum!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2004 at 2:46PM
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Onion(z9b/15 Nor Cal)

As far as flowering plants go, my echinacea and stachys are absolutely covered with both bumblebees and honeybees. The little guys look very happy :)


    Bookmark   September 2, 2004 at 8:45PM
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buttercupia(zone4 IA)

I have noticed that the flowering broccoli plants which I let go after the first harvest are swarming with honeybees and also white cabbage moths. The neighbor's autumn joy sedums are also full of honeybees. I grow white clover in the grass and the bees like it too.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2004 at 11:51PM
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I haven't seen many bees even considering my tomatoes this year. The plants are quite beautiful and flowering plentifully, yet no bees.

They are all over the lavender in the front yard though. What about capturing a bee and releasing it in the back yard near the tomatoes? I wonder if they just haven't found them and would pay more attention if the bees new they were there?

Also, God is on everyone's side, assuming he exists.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 2:20AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

This wouldn't work...bees only go to plants which are considered to them as best pollen&nectar source.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 1:53PM
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We're beginner beekeepers, so of course we've been very attuned to what plants in our landscape seem to attract our bees...to our surprise, my little bed of cleome (spider flower) is our bees' most popular hanging-out place in our yard, next to the white clover in the lawn. The bees hit the cleome early in the morning and then late in the evening, and the plants are literally bent over with honeybees. Nothing in our bee books or networking with beekeepers would have led us to believe that bees have a special fondness for this flower.

Other bee favorites we've noticed, although nothing like the cleome: Our bean plants usually have bees buzzing around them; also catmint and lavender.

On the other hand, we've been told that sedum are a good nectar source for bees, but we really don't see them in our sedum bed. Ditto borage -- an oft-noted "bee plant," but we just don't notice the bees on our borage. (This may be because they visit at a different time of day than the early morning/early evening when we're gardening.)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 6:52PM
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Mine go to my borage, but nothing like they go for my oregano. Another favorite in my yard is a hideous geranium (true geranium) that has reverted from big blue flowers to a nondescript, tiny, maroon flower. They were both scheduled for the compost pile this year, but now I'm stuck with them.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 3:07PM
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In my yard, this was the favorite so far:

Here is a link that might be useful: bee favorite

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 3:11PM
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