Bees can get a bad reputation for their painful sting; however, their presence in your Southwest Florida landscape is extremely important to our eco-system. As Einstein once said, “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.” Well, bees are disappearing, but creating a garden that attracts bees and other pollinators can help.
So, how do you attract pollinators to your landscape? ArtisTree has a few tips.
•Use plants that require pollination — no surprise here, right? But let’s give you some interesting choices to consider, such as Black-eyed Susan, cannas, coral honeysuckle, gaillardia, marigolds, impatiens, nasturtiums, passion flower, pentas, purple coneflower, salvia, shrimp plant and trailing lantana. The trick is to select species with a long bloom life, not ones that bloom for just two weeks.
•Bees are nuts about nectar, so plant nectar-rich flowers such as sweet-smelling honeysuckle (and make a hummingbird’s day while you’re at it).
•Plant a diverse design of flowering plants, not just one kind. Bees like to be kept busy, so to speak, so diversity is key to keeping them around for a while.
•If you can avoid it, don’t use pesticides. In Southwest Florida this can be difficult to achieve, but the bees will thank you.
•Use as many Florida-friendly plants as possible. Invasive plant species can actually further damage the local insect eco-system.
Is that it? No, we have one more spicy tip for you. Have you thought using herbs as bee magnets? Thyme, basil and mint are as tasty to bees as they are to humans, so plant a few in a corner of your garden and enjoy fresh herbs for your next meal. It’s a win-win for you AND the bees.
Man is very dependent on our bee friends—one-third of our food supply in North America comes from plants that require insects to pollinate them. So…Bee informed and do what you can!