Bees play a vital role in pollination, besides the known provision of honey. The absence of these busy insects will make it hard for you to find a cluster of crookneck squash or an early summer tomato. However, attracting bees to your garden is harder than planting a marigold or two. To ensure bees visit your vegetable garden often, you will need to provide shelter along with a floral buffet.

How to Get Bees to Pollinate Your Vegetable Garden

Choose the Right Plants

Bees’ worldview is different from people’s. A peppered lawn with dandelion and clover sends bees into a pollinating frenzy. Plant flowers if you are keen on attracting bees to your vegetable garden. Native plants and daisy-like flowers attract bees more than exotic and tubular flowers like Asiatic lilies. Apart from their beauty, california asters (Aster chilensis), sunflowers (Helianthus spp.), seaside daisies (Eringeron glaucuses) and coneflowers (Echinacea spp.) attract bees better.

Here are more flowers that the bees find irresistible: Agastache (anise hyssop), Aster, Alyssum, Asclepias (butterfly weed), Geranium (cranesbill), Echinacea (coneflower), Papaver (poppies), Monarda (bee balm), Trifolium (clover), and Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan).

Use a Bee-Friendly Planting Style

How to Get Bees to Pollinate Your Vegetable Garden

Since bees have a habit of returning to highly rewarding flower beds that are easily visible, invest in enough of a species to plant in a large area once you select the flowers. One species should cover an area measuring at least 3 by 3 feet, to increase your chances of getting the bees’ attention. Just like an airport’s landing lights, a large group of flowers directs bees towards the yard and your vegetable garden. A mixed flower border may be pleasant to the human eye, but will not attract bees.

It also helps to plant different species that blossom throughout the year. A variety of plants that bloom throughout the early spring through late fall will ensure you attract a full spectrum of pollinators.

Provide Shelter for Bees

Unlike the assumption of many people, not all bees live in hives. Though honey bees build a social home base, about 95 percent of native bees wander in solitary. The females lay a single egg in short tunnels they dig in bare earth and tock the tunnels with gathered pollen. Other species prefer dead wood or cracks in branches. Many farmers, however, cover their flower beds with deep layers of mulch and using the landscape fabric which is unfortunate for the bees. This arrangement produces an attractive garden but keeps away native bees as they do not find the yard welcoming. To attract the pollinating bees in search of pollen in your nearby vegetable garden, leave half of your garden beds with no mulch. You can also drill bee sized holes with a width of 5 1/6 inch and depth of 3 ½  in untreated wood blocks to attract hard-working orchard mason bees.

A conducive environment with adequate space, clean water nearby and a variety of flowers enable bees to form a colony that may allow you have access to honey. Such delicious, raw honey has numerous benefits as it is packed with full nutritional value.

The sunny side of a fence or wall works perfectly for flowers if you want to attract bees as they need shelter from the wind and prefer sunny areas.

Reconsider Pesticides

Before you spray pesticides, think twice. Though these treatments control squash bugs, aphids and other insects that destroy vegetables, pesticides are not selective. They will kill ladybugs, hoverflies, and bees as fast as they will destroy a stink beetle. Remember, these sprays do not kill on contact, the visiting bee picks the pollen as well as the poison that remains as residue chemicals on the plant.

If you must spray chemicals, target small areas that the destructive insects gather, however, avoid spraying pesticides whenever you can. Squash bugs, for example, prefer the base of pumpkin vines while aphids remain on the underside of leaves. You can as well spray when the vegetable’s flower fades.

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I am Amila, a mom for a son and I love to keep my home clean.I also love gardening and DIY projects. I am also an engineer working in Construction sector,therefore in this blog I also share tips on home improvement and construction related to help others.