Gardening Tip: Attracting Bees for Pollination

Bee Pollinating a Sunflower

Image Credit: San Francisco State Universy

Just this week, there were two more studies out of the UK and France showing that the mystery of the disappearing bees, known as Colony Collapse Disorder, can be linked to a relatively new class of insecticides called neonicotinoids.  This is important because bees are critical to pollinating not only flowers, but many food crops as well.  Fewer bees means fewer yields.

So what’s the best way to attract bees to your Phoenix desert garden?

  • Limit your use of (or don’t use) insectides in the landscape.  Identify the plant and the problem and then do a little research to figure out how to manage diseases and pests without resorting to pesticides.  The solution is often a lot simpler than you think!
  • Plant a wide variety of plants.  Bees and other pollinators love flowers, so plant a variety of flowering plants to ensure near year-round blooming.
  • Plant native xeriscape plants.  Native species are four times more likely to attract bees and other pollinators than non-natives or exotics.  I noticed this in my own garden when we removed the grass and planted a few native shrubs.  Nearly overnight we had more birds, bees, and butterflies in our garden!
  • Create a habitat that’s friendly to bees.  Bees like shallow pools of water, but if you’re really ambitious, you can build a nesting area for them.  Invite them in to stay awhile!

 

 

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