4 Ways to Attract Honey Bees & Bumble Bees to Your Garden


The bee population hasn’t been having the best time lately. Use these four simple tricks to make your garden a welcoming home for native bee species. Keep in mind, however, that you may unintentionally attract species of bees, such as the carpenter bee, that may do more harm than good if they aren’t controlled.

1. Build a Flower-rich Habitat
Flowering plants provide food and shelter for many species of bees. You will want to plant at least three different types of flowers to ensure blooms through most of the year. Here are some examples for spring, summer, and fall.

Spring Plants: Crocus, Stonecrop, Galanthus, Hellebore, Flowering Currant, Primrose, Bluebell, and Japanese Mahonia.

Summer Plants: Bee Balm, Cosmo, Snapdragon, Foxglove, Hosta, Lavender, Pineapple Lily, Oregano, and Sunflower.

Fall Plants: Zinnia, Sedum, Witch Hazel, Purple Aster, Goldenrod, Bugbane, Autumn Joy Sedum, and Pineapple Sage.

2. Add a Bee Bath to the Garden
Bees also require a source of fresh water. You can create your own bee bath by adding some pebbles and twigs to a shallow tray of water. The pebbles and twigs provide a spot for the bees to land on. Make sure you to replace the tray with clean water every few days.

3. Nest Habitats for Native Bees
Some species of bees, such as solitary bees, build their nesting site in old pieces of wood or in semi-bare ground. You could help these bees out by buying or building your own bee hotel.

Scope out your garden and identify isolated areas where ground nesting bees can build their nesting site. Avoid creating as much disturbance (e.g. mulching, soil tilling) as possible in these areas of the garden.

For wood-nesting bees such as mason bees and leafcutter bees, consider placing old pieces of dry wood in sheltered areas of the garden.

4. Use Natural Alternatives to Pesticide
Like most insects, bees are very sensitive to pesticide and herbicide. Consider using natural pest control methods like sprinkling food-grade diatomaceous earth or attracting beneficial insects to control the garden pest population.