4 Ways to Help Bees in Your Garden

Scientists call it the mystery of the vanishing bees; here’s how to help solve the problem.

With bumblebee populations on the decline in the United States and honeybees prone to a perplexing phenomenon called colony collapse disorder, the search for answers is on. Researchers say the pollinators’ problem could be pesticides, or a virus, or the fact that because of land development, there are fewer flowers in the world. That last one is something we can help fix, in our own gardens. Here are a few ways, including flowers to plant, to start helping the bees.

Above: Bees go after anything in bloom, but are particularly drawn to white, yellow, and blue; they see a color called “bee ultraviolet” that guides them to nectar. Lavender is intoxicating to bees (to us, as well). Lavandula angustifolia ‘Violet Intrigue’ has long-lasting blooms; $15.95 at White Flower Farm. Image via Centsational.

Above: Most beekeepers in the United States and Europe raise Apis mellifera, or western honeybees. For beginners, consider a lightweight Backyard Beehive; $339.95 at Williams-Sonona. Image via Botanic Garden.

Above: Salvia, which is drought-tolerant, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, as well as bees. There are dozens of varieties to choose among; Salvia x sylvestris ‘May Night’ is one of the few that can survive in colder climates; $24 for a set of three plants at White Flower Farm. Image by Wood Elf Gardener.

Above: Many of the plants bees like best have large tubular flowers with a lower petal that acts as a landing platform. Image (salvia) by Susy Morris, via Flickr.

Above: A bumblebee gathers nectar from wild lupine; lupinus perennis is also the only plant on which the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly feeds; $2 for a packet of 40 seeds at Prairie Moon. Image by Oya Simpson.

For more inspiration and information on beekeeping, visit Remodelista‘s posts Beekeeping in Napa and Barebones Beehouses in London.


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Sonia Minwer-Barakat Requ

thanks for sharing

Winn Adams
Winn Adams2 years ago


Duane B.
.3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Penny C.
Penny C.3 years ago

When bees disappear so will mankind.Our food will not be pollinated.Please save our bees.

Penny C.
Penny C.3 years ago

Thank you for this interesting article.

christina tenazinha
christina t.3 years ago

I am always interested in ways to get those bees in my garden. Unfortunately, I seem to get a lots of wasps as well.

Rose Becke3 years ago

Thanks for these tips

Dale Overall

Another plant the bees love is catnip and cat mint, the flowers certainly bring many bees as well as the ones mentioned. Have a horde of veggies, herbs and other flowers on my balcony and there are always bees paying me a visit. Good to see.

Sally Allen
Sally A.3 years ago

I have planted a row of heather plants and the honey bees here love the flowers. So glad I planted them.

Joy Flynn
Joy Flynn3 years ago