If you have seen Jerry Seinfeld’s "Bee Movie" you know the importance of bees in our own existence. Bees pollinate more than any insect in North America. Bees are great pollinators because they have flower fidelity. They will collect all of a particular flower before searching for another type. Bees do not chew plants or flowers. Bee mandibles are rounded. They cannot pierce or chew fruit or flowers.
Bees are not dying to sting us as Barry B Benson’s best friend, Adam Flayman, demonstrated in the courtroom. Bees only sting in self-defense. The bee dies when it stings so it does not sting unless threatened. Foraging bees, bees collecting nectar pollen or water, are least aggressive of all stinging insects. Almost all stinging incidents occur near the hive when the guard bees feel threatened.
Bee Friendly Flowers
Bees will collect nectar, pollen or nectar and pollen from any source they can reach. If bees are not available to collect the nectar and pollen other less desirable insects will. It is advantageous to have managed bee colonies rather than alternative insects. Double bloom or exotic flowers are not designed for bees. Exotics are purely for show and not bee friendly. Color and contrast attract bees. Bees do not see the red spectrum. Bees distinguish ultraviolet, blue and purple flowers best.
Have something blooming year round. Bees need nectar and pollen all year. Honey bees do not hibernate like other insects. They need food all year.
Plant a variety of colors, shapes and blooming times. Ten or more different plantings will attract more pollinators like bees and butterflies. Plantings of one meter area of any single specimen are preferred.
Bees do not know the word weed. Weeds are indigenous flowers to insects and birds.
Selecting native plantings is best for several reasons – they are more drought tolerant, more disease resistant, hardier and better for birds, bees and butterflies.
A recent study demonstrated that bees actually deter beetles and caterpillars from eating plants. The buzzing of the bee is perceived as a threat from real predators of the beetles and caterpillars. Pesticides or insecticides are the bees’ worst enemy. Imidicloprid Neonicotinoid (artificial Nicotine) is considered to be a cause or aggravating factor in the recent Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) cited in several recent bee deaths. We will lose about one third of our food supply and grazing animals’ crops if the bee losses continue.