Keeping the Bees Alive

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. For more inspiration on keeping the bees healthy, visit Bee Thinking in Oregon.

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. For more ideas, visit Helping Bees Survive, One Colony at a Time.

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. To read more about hummingbirds’ attraction to salvia, visit The Hummingbird Chronicles.

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 Gardenista’s post The Bees of Buckingham Palace.



Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla4 years ago


Shanti S.
S S5 years ago

Thank you.

Natalie Scerri
Natalie S5 years ago

Thank you for this article - it's the first time I'm browsing the nature section and this really interested me and it seems there are many more in store. It made me think what little effort is required to give a boost to nature and that even I can help, although all I can boast of is a roof garden.

Thorn Briar
Past Member 5 years ago

Thank you

Carrie Anne Brown
Carrie-Anne B5 years ago

thanks for sharing :)

Setare Ahmadi
Setare A5 years ago


Bees are fantastic.....they are unique as well...they have nice routine of life. I love the queen..

The story of Bees life is amazing.
I wish i had one......

FearofBees F.
FearofBees F.5 years ago

Bees are indeed great, nice article. We look after them fear of bees by getting people to like them again.

Alicia Coker
Alicia Coker5 years ago

I really really hope that we can save the bees...or else we're all in big trouble...

Shelly Peterson
Shelly Peterson5 years ago

anything to help the bees!!

greenplanet e.
greenplanet e5 years ago

Thanks, bees need help.