Do Honey Bees Like Lilac Bushes

If you have the space, beautiful, fragrant lilacs are a great option, and it’s easy to understand why bees adore them. Leave lots of room when starting your garden for lilacs to spread out because they grow into enormous bushes over time and enjoy sun and well-drained soil.

Which insects are drawn to lilac bushes?

The fragrant scent of the lilac heralds the arrival of spring for both humans and a plethora of insects. The lavender blossoms of this sun-loving shrub draw more than just bees and butterflies. Its stems and leaves are a favorite food source for destructive insects including lilac borers and leaf miners. Lilacs come in hundreds of varieties and are found in Sunset’s Climate Zones A1 or 11 and 14 or 16. Lilacs are a part of the Syringa species.

Which type of bush draws bees?

Consider what would happen if every backyard gardener in the country took steps to increase food and habitat for pollinators. For pollinators to live on, we would collectively contribute tens of thousands of acres! The best part is that creating a pollinator-friendly environment is simple and gratifying. This is how:

  • Plantings should be varied since different pollinators are active at various times of the year. Include a range of species that bloom from early spring to late fall. Choose plants of different heights, including flowering trees and shrubs, as well as those with a variety of flower forms and sizes, to draw in the complete range of pollinators.
  • Plant native plants and wildflowers: Since wild bees and wildflowers co-evolved, you can be fairly sure that native wildflowers will give pollinators a great source of pollen and nectar.
  • Make a habitat: Perfectly tidy yards don’t supply the resources needed for wild bees to build their nests. By keeping a small brush pile, patches of dry grass and reeds, and dead wood, you can create an excellent nesting environment. For mason bees, mud will make excellent nesting material.
  • The best flowers are solitary: Compared to double flowers, which have extra petals in place of the pollen-containing anthers, single flowers (those with a single ring of petals) offer more nectar and pollen. Bees have a harder time getting to the interior flower sections when the flowers are double. In contrast to double flowers, which are stuffed with petals, single blossoms, shown on the left, offer more food for pollinators.
  • Choose flowers in shades of blue, purple, and yellow since bees prefer these hues. The greatest variety of bees will be drawn to flat or shallow blossoms, such as daisies, zinnias, asters, and queen anne’s lace. Nepeta, salvia, oregano, mint, and lavender are among the plants in the mint family that will draw long-tongued bees. Flowers with hidden nectar spurs, such larkspur, monkshood, monarda, columbine, and snapdragons, draw long-tongued bumblebees.
  • Avoid using pesticides since many of them, including those that are organic, are dangerous to pollinators like bees. Pests can be managed using cultural methods like crop rotation and row coverings as well as benign ones like traps and hand-picking. In the event that you decide to apply pesticides, do so only as a last resort. Select specific herbicides, like Bt for caterpillars (keep in mind this kills butterfly larvae as well). Pesticides should not be applied on open blooms or when bees or other pollinators are around in order to protect pollinators.
  • You don’t need to live in a rural place to raise bees, therefore take into consideration backyard beekeeping. It used to be normal to keep a few beehives in the backyard, and it’s starting to acquire popularity once more. Study more: A Hobby With Sweet Rewards Is Beekeeping
  • Get active: National Pollinator Week is sponsored by the Pollinator Partnership, whose website is filled with useful information and activities for kids. There are volunteer possibilities with local gardening clubs, native plant societies, and other environmental organizations. Spread the word about the significance of pollinator numbers dwindling and what people, communities, and institutions can do to help.

What flower does a honey bee like best?

You wouldn’t want your preferred supermarket to be open for only one month out of the year. Similar to this, a healthy pollinator garden features flowers that bloom all year round. Some in the spring, summer, and fall.

We advise you to look for alternative guides if you’re in another state. A helpful resource center with a location-based organization is available from the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Bee balm (Monarda spp.)

Although bees are actually preoccupied with the blooms, this plant is known as “bee balm” since it was traditionally used to heal bee stings. The bee balm family includes a wide range of plants that are indigenous to North Carolina. Most have fragrant flowers that can last up to eight weeks in bloom.

Where shouldn’t lilac bushes be planted?

Avoid planting lilacs in areas that will receive more than a half-worth day’s of shade because they thrive in full sun. Make sure to give them room to expand when you plant them. To find out the mature plant’s height and spread, read the label on the plant.

Lilacs require sufficient drainage to thrive. The soil should have just enough moisture to support the root system while still allowing for free drainage after heavy rains.

Dig a hole that is about 8 inches in diameter and 12 inches deep to test the drainage before planting. Add water to the hole. Choose a different location if the water hasn’t drained after an hour.

Are bees drawn to lilac plants?

The lengthy daylight hours shine a focus on the lilac blossoms, which bloom in the spring and continue into the summer. Bees use their exceptional vision to look for vivid colors in the environment. Lilacs have vibrant purple and bluish petals that draw a lot of bees, especially because they grow in thick clusters. Bees don’t have to constantly fly to different plants, and they can stay on the blossoms for more nectar food. In a way, the lilac’s tendency of growing keeps the bees occupied for efficient pollination.

Do wasps swarm around lilac bushes?

Because they consume pests like caterpillars and grasshoppers, hornets are regarded as beneficial insects. However, lilac bushes are also a source of food for the European, or big, hornet.

Which bushes don’t draw bees?

Wind is the primary pollinator of juniper shrubs. Because there is no pollen present, bees are typically not drawn to these kinds of plants. These plants’ berries can be used to season food, and juniper is the primary flavour in gin. Juniper is a very low maintenance plant to cultivate. Their breadth ranges from six to 25 feet depending on the variety, but their height typically hovers around six feet. Juniper bushes flourish when they are in full sun and have well-drained soil, according to the website Nature Hills. In addition to being simple, junipers don’t require much trimming, keep weeds at bay, and reduce soil erosion. If given enough space to develop, these plants can act as a natural shade and barrier.

Do honey bees like hydrangeas?

I recently got the chance to assess a university campus for bee-friendly landscape plants. Large trees and sprawling lawns made up the majority of the campus, creating a plush and welcoming blanket of greenery that encircled tall buildings and trees like draped velvet. I’m delighted to report that it provided a quiet retreat for students and many families using or passing through the campus with young children.

The campus had so many trees that they formed an almost closed canopy, giving the impression that the trees had given permission for structures to be placed amid them for our benefit.

On the university grounds, a variety of trees including oaks, American elms, ash, mimosas, catalpas, mulberries, willows, golden chain trees, lindens, flowering crab apples, hawthorns, cedar, fir, pine, horse chestnuts, honey locusts, and eastern redbuds flourished in harmony and profusion. Many of the huge shrubs and trees were pollinator-friendly.

Willows were the first bee-friendly trees to blossom in the spring, and they were soon followed by hawthorn, horse chestnut, red buds (both eastern and western), and flowering crab apples.

Up to the end of July, golden chain tree, honey locust, linden, catalpa, mimosa, and linden all produced continuous tree bloom.

As long as there are other pollinator-friendly plants blooming before and after them, each tree holds a significant amount of floral resources during bloom time and is beneficial to pollinators; bees require sustained floral resources during the growing season.

Conifers, ash, elm, and other wind-pollinated trees are generally unwelcoming to bees.

On campus, hydrangeas were widely planted, so it was fascinating to see which ones were good for pollinators and which weren’t. Although we don’t typically think of plants as being friendly to bees, some are actually quite alluring to bees while others are not.

There was a fairly lengthy planting of lacecap hydrangeas on the east side of a sizable structure. The more popular mop-head hydrangea macrophylla hortensis is unsuitable for bees since its flowers are all sterile and, while attractive to humans, provide neither pollen nor nectar for bees.

Although hydrangeas’ fruitful blossoms are little, unimportant, and not particularly eye-catching, bees are very drawn to them. A large core cluster of fertile flowers is surrounded by stunning sterile flowers on lacecap hydrangeas.

They combine grace and delicacy with flowers that are friendly to pollinators, giving you the best of both worlds. These beautiful flowers are available in a variety of hues, including white, blue, and purple.

Hydrangea aspera, sometimes known as rough-leaf hydrangea, is a too rarely planted lacecap variety. Zone 9 locations with maritime influences, enough water, and annual composting are best suited for its use. This lovely big shrub, which grows to a height of 8 feet and flowers in the late summer, needs filtered shade.

A ring of light purple sterile blooms surrounds the bright purple, extremely fragrant fertile flowers. Both we and the bees adore its blossoms.

The appeal of the various hydrangea paniculata varieties to bees varies. The elongated, white flower heads typically contain a mixture of viable and sterile blooms.

Some varieties have non-scented, primarily sterile flowers whereas others have highly fragrant, bee-friendly blossoms. All are garish.

It is better to visit a nursery and distinguish between plants with a lot of bees visiting them and others that are not aromatic. The plants can range in size from three feet to roughly six or eight feet. Numerous cultivars exist.

Native to the eastern United States, hydrangea arborescens is frequently planted along the coast or in regions that receive a lot of coastal impact. ‘Annabelle’ is a popular cultivar.

It features very enormous umbels of white flowers that resemble mopheads, but each blossom is somewhat smaller than the mophead varieties, giving the flowering plant a softer and more elegant appearance.

The leaves are a brighter shade of green, much smaller, and less waxy. Large flower heads and weak stems can cause flowers to occasionally topple down.

While cultivars like “Haas Halo” have lacecap blooms made up of both fertile and sterile flowers and are exceedingly spectacular and bee-friendly, this cultivar only has sterile flowers. H. arborescens has exclusively viable blooms in its wild form. The scent of hydrangeas can help determine whether they are bee-friendly.

Why like purple flowers among bees?

What makes purple flowers the greatest for bees? Well, it should give you a hint. They also enjoy blue and violet flowers greatly.

The attention of bees is drawn to scented flowers, purple flowers, blue flowers, and specific markings on flowers of any color.

Yet why? Well, because it stands to reason that flowers that bees pollinate must attract bees to them. However, that response is rather brief, so let’s look into it more.

Not all Pollinating Insects like the same Flowers

This shouldn’t come as a shock. Pollinating insects are not a uniform species, despite the fact that they all enjoy and depend on nectar-rich flowers for the sustenance they offer. For instance, a hoverfly’s mouth is shaped differently from a bee’s, making some floral forms accessible to one but not the other.

Some pollinators are drawn to scent. How many times have you experienced flower intoxication? The flowery fragrance molecules that flowers generate to entice pollinators are the source of many essential oils used in aromatherapy and perfumes.

Every smell is unique. Flowers pollinated by bees and hoverflies typically have sweet odors, whereas beetles typically pollinate flowers with a spicy scent.

What is so special about Bees?

The majority of insect pollinators in the world are bees. I freely admit that I am lazy and frequently refer to bees as Apis or Apoidea. In actuality, there are approximately 16,000 species of bees, which are divided into seven biological groups and belong to the Apoidea “superfamily.”

Bees are regarded as a keystone species by scientists because their importance to an ecosystem makes it impossible for it to exist without them. Which is hardly surprising considering that bees can be found everywhere but Antarctica. And in every habitat on those continents where flowering plants are pollinated by insects.

If that isn’t enough to persuade you, consider the fact that insects pollinate 35% of crops, or the food we eat as humans. Bees also carry out 80% of that insect crop pollination, with honey bees, Apis mellifera, contributing 14% in particular. These are the bees that we typically keep in hives.

Returning to the reason why purple flowers are the greatest for bees, though,

Why Do Bees Like Purple Flowers Best?

Now is the time to briefly shift the attention away from the bees and onto the flowers themselves.

Bees pollinate flowers, so it is important to draw their attention to this simple truth. However, have you ever wondered how they manage to do that?

Being a “nectar rich bloom” alone is insufficient. A flower must discover strategies for luring pollinators to it if it hopes to be pollinated (that’s the goal!). Additionally, as we noted before, certain pollination insects favor various flowers’ colors and smells.

However, it appears that bees, in particular honeybees, are drawn to the color purple from birth. This is quite clever of them because blooms in the violet-blue spectrum have the highest nectar production rates.

The purple blossoms, on the other hand, are the ones that have taught the bees to prefer their color and to visit them for pollination, which is pretty ingenious. In essence, this explains why bees prefer purple flowers. I find that bees tend to be cunning and not always straightforward. Thought should be given to the blooms, since they must work hard to produce purple hues that attract bees by generating an ultraviolet haze that is visible to bees with good vision.

Yes, bees have good vision. Karl von Frisch, known for inventing the honey bee waggle dance, discovered more than a century ago that bees had remarkable eyesight and see in color (see below). Bees have trichromatic vision, or three distinct photoreceptors in the retina, just like humans do. These differentiate three specific primary colors, which serve as the foundation for many color schemes. Humans perceive the fundamental colors red, blue, and green, while bees perceive blue, green, and ultraviolet light.

Studies on wild flowers, especially those in Australia and Germany, reveal that bees’ innate predilection for the color purple provides them a head start in life. Additionally, it appears to apply to many bee species found in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Bees Like Purple Flowers so much they have a Dance

In contrast to their affinity for purple flowers, bees must explore their surroundings in order to understand the benefits of flowers of various colors.

Bees can eat from all colors of flowers because they can perceive reddish hues like yellow and orange and because ultraviolet patterns on flowers guide them to the locations of the nectar and pollen stores.

The bee must also inform the other members of her colony when they discover a reliable source of nectar. Karl von Frisch demonstrated that honey bees communicate by performing the waggle dance by observing how honey bees move across space. Here, a worker bee engages in a specific figure-eight dance to communicate with other bees in the colony about the location and distance to nectar-filled flowers.

Bees can identify a desired compass direction in three separate methods, according to Von Frisch: by the sun, by the polarization of the blue sky, and by the earth’s magnetic field. The sun is the preferred compass, which may explain why many of us associate bees with yellow flowers. You’ll start to associate bees with purple flowers more frequently from now on!

If Bees like Purple Flowers best, What should we Grow in Our Gardens?

Does this mean we should only produce purple flowers if bees prefer them? Obviously not! We’ve demonstrated that different flower hues can draw these insect pollinators.

All year long, we should be growing a good variety of flowering plants in our gardens to entice bees and other helpful creatures. Even while straightforward flower forms are preferable, as long as there are lots of single flowers as well, you don’t have to forgo elaborate double flower variations.

For planting suggestions that will provide you and the bees with year-round fun, click on the links below!

A Warning

Additionally, it’s crucial to promote organic gardening among others. This, in my opinion, is more crucial than ever. Let me give you an illustration:

I recently visited a client’s garden, where we have built a wildlife pond, a herb garden, and are currently constructing a kitchen garden. The aforementioned client practices organic gardening, and typically the garden is humming and twittering with activity. It is an organic, wildlife-friendly space for people and pets alike.

We were talking there when we noticed how quiet it was. There were hardly any birds and no bees.

We could only infer that a nearby neighbor had sprayed a chemical pesticide. On flowers that bees pollinate, sometimes next to a wild bees’ nest. Whether it was done intentionally or not, it is really concerning that the garden might be vibrant one day and then be completely silent and devoid of birds and bees the next.

Bees Needs Week UK

Annually, Defra organizes Bees’ Needs Week, collaborating with and involving a variety of nonprofit organizations, businesses, academic institutions, conservation organizations, American gardeners, and the general public to help spread awareness about bees and other pollinators. It fits within England’s National Pollinator Strategy. This ten-year initiative to support bees and other pollinators in surviving and thriving was started in 2014.

Bees’ Needs Week is a seven-day event that takes place primarily online in 2020 from July 13 to July 19. For inspiration, look at the Bumble Bee Conservation. And do get in touch with Plews if you want a planting or garden design that is bee-friendly.

Enjoy the bee movie below and identify the perennial herbaceous flowers that are in the bees’ line of sight.