I am planting for bumblebees this year.
Which heath and heathers do your bbs prefer?
Don't know if I can help, but I hate to see a post go unanswered. I've read that bees are attracted to short wavelength colors, their favorites being purple, blue and yellow in that order. I'm guessing you'd have most success therefore with heathers flowering in the cooler range of purple. Scent is also important.
May I suggest you post your query to the beeking forum, and then share with us what you learn from the bee experts?
Ummm...I meant the beeKEEping forum.
Thanks for helping me.
You are right about the bb color favorites, and your suggestions make sense.
I was just hoping for some specific preferences by owner observation ("this named purple or yellow is the most visited in my garden", or "all seem to be loved equally")
I've only begun to grow them, and they haven't been through a bee season yet. Hope others can give some specific advice.
I recently bought some purple Erica Dalyn. (Mediteraen Queen) I think it was called-as soon as I planted it the bees swarmed it-it was likely the only flower in bloom yet.
Bumblebees loving purple makes sense. My rosemary is blooming and they are ALL over it. I think they are actually chasing me down when I get near them. My boyfriend says its in my head but I don't think so.
I planted Erica Carnea and Erica Darleyenis last fall. This spring, the bees loved them.
I have no memory of the bees having a preference to particular colors or varieties - they visited them all. I do know that they loved the early and late season ones which bloom when little else is blooming, so on those warm early spring or after-frost fall days, the bees, both honey and bumble, were busy visiting my H & H.
I've just read that Erica erigena is favored by beekeepers in Scotland because it flowers between late winter and early spring. It seems to be hardy to zone 7. Heaths and Heathers stocks a few. Erica x darlyensis hybrids are produced by crossing E. carnea and E. erigena. They are said to flower in winter, maybe not too early for zone 10 bees.