Bee Friendly Plants

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I recently learned that about 3/4 of the foods we eat rely on pollination to reproduce, and that the most common process of pollination requires a pollinator. Imagine a male flower and a female flower ready to reproduce but growing 5 feet apart and unable to come together to swap material; they require a third party to courier pollen grains from the anther of one blossom to the receptive pistil (stigma) of another in order for them to reproduce successfully. Enter the bee! Bees are wonderful little insects that feed off pollen and while doing so pollinate our plants for us. This allows the plant to reproduce and grow, creating the food that human beings rely on to survive. Pretty important, right?Well, bees are on the verge of extinction largely due to widespread use of toxic pesticides and habitat loss. No bees = no pollinators = no reproducing food source!

It’s pretty easy for us to help out our bee friends and combat habitat loss by creating bee friendly spaces in our gardens. A little goes a long way and bees are pretty easy to please. Here are some bee-friendly plants you can include in your landscaping to make the bees feel welcome.

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  • Lavender
  • Rhododendron
  • Bachelor’s Buttons
  • Lilac
  • Bell flower
  • Thyme
  • Heather
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Calendula
  • Borage
  • Blackberry

Here’s some more information about helping the bees from David Suzuki himself.

You can also read more about bee-friendly native plants in this region over at Bee Friendly!

It’s also good to remember that bees are not sting-happy little maniacs like wasps and hornets, they will only sting to protect the hive/queen and after doing so they die. Think of it as a little kamikaze (or Tokkō, suicide attack) to protect the community when it is under threat. I’ve never been stung by a bee (definitely by wasps, though) and many bee keepers don’t even wear the suit around their hives because honey bees can actually be quite docile. So don’t be afraid! (Unless you’re allergic, of course)

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Don’t forget about the mason bee! These bees (which don’t sting) are furious pollinators and only have a short season in early spring. Check out the start of our mason bee journey back in 2014, and how to harvest mason bee cocoons.

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Did you know that when you find a bee in your window or home that seems sluggish or nearly dead, it is often just super exhausted and you can revive it! Mix a small amount of water (1tbsp or less) with some white granulated sugar and place it where the bee can drink but not drown. This little energy boost should be enough to help it get back to the nest. Help a bee out! ❀

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