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Nashville, Ark. –
With the days getting longer and spring right around the corner, many people are hard
at work in their gardens preparing for this year’s growing season. One common question
that is asked is, “What can I plant to encourage honeybees to come pollinate my garden
for me?” Truth be told, you can never plant enough for the bees. Honeybees are not
typically too picky about what is planted just as long as they are able to get the
nectar and/or pollen from the flowers. Just one colony may travel as far as 3 miles
from its hive for food. This gives that colony more than 28 square miles to cover
finding the best food source. Bees go out and scout the area around the hive and return
back to let their nest mates know where to go find the best source of food. Wild and
cultivated plants seem to be very popular among most honeybee colonies.
Alfalfa, clover, basil, rosemary, sunflowers, dandelions, turnip greens, blackberries,
and apple trees are a few of the honeybee’s favorites. One thing not to plant is the
Bradford pear tree. It may be a pretty tree to look at, but it has become a true problem
When deciding on a strategy of what to plant, you should consider planting plants
and trees that will bloom very early in the year and during the dry summer months.
These are when honeybees have the most difficult time finding food. It is best to
have an area that has a constant bloom throughout the growing season as well. When
bees are out looking for food, they are looking for an area that has large patches
of identical flowers and will often turn down an area that has lots of flowers but
few of the same kind.
Another thing to consider when deciding what to plant is that bees cannot see the
color red. If possible, stay with colors like white, blue, yellow, and violet; these
blooms honeybees can see. Honeybees do not see red light wavelengths, but they can
see UV light. Humans cannot see UV lights, so bees are able to see thing differently
than how we see them. Most flowers have patterns on UV-reflecting pigments called
nectar guides that are used to attract pollinators. Most red blooming flowers are
pollinated by butterflies and hummingbirds.
It is important to remember that no one plant is going to give a honeybee all the
nutrients it requires. Colonies are healthiest when there is a wide variety of flowering
plants planted, just be sure you plant many of each kind.
You can contact me for more information on what to plant to increase honeybees and
other pollinators around your garden by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Howard County Extension office is still working and is there for all the residences
in Howard County during this time.
By Samantha Horn County Extension Agent - AgricultureThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Samantha Horn County Extension Agent - AgricultureU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service421 N. Main Nashville AR 71852 (870) 845-7517 email@example.com
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.