Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Plants Bees Love

Bombus melanopygus (Black-tailed Bumble Bee) in a Cranesbill Geranium

     It's a beautiful, sunny 15 degree celsius (60 fahrenheit) day in the garden.  This time of year in Vancouver is particularly special because so many plants are in bloom.  Since I became a beekeeper I have found myself much more observant of blossoms and their attraction to both native and honey bees.  Above is a photo of what is a Bombus melanopygus (Black-tailed Bumble Bee) whose orange backside makes for easy identification. If you look closely you can see the pollen being scattered beneath the native bee.   


     All of the bees are particularly attracted to the Cranesbill geranium which in our area is an easy to grow ground cover.  I have also noticed that bees have a fondness for members of the onion family which includes garlic, onions, leeks and chives.  Below is a picture of one of our girls enjoying some chive flowers.


     The Bluet is a friendly invasive (controllable) plant and another favourite of all species of bees.  I've heard this plant called a variety of names but I've not found it in any plant books.  


   * I found the Bluet in the plant files of the website Dave's Garden.  It goes by the common names Mountain Bluet, Mountain Cornflower and Perrenial Cornflower "Gold Bullion".  The latin name is Centaurea Montana.  Below is the Dave's Garden plant file search engine.  It is also in the side bar.
Find your plant by searching PlantFiles:
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     I apologize for the obvious amateur nature of the photography but the photographer (me) insists on blaming the camera.  Below are a few photos of the girls enjoying the absolute favourite fast food (along with plum blossoms) in our neighbourhood this time of year which is flowering Kale.  



     After a slow start (cold wet spring) our girls are actively collecting pollen and producing brood.  We'll check the hives in a few weeks and possibly do a split or two depending on their progress.  Meanwhile, here I sit watching my bees listening to Taj and Etta sing "Queen Bee". 



     For a more complete list of plants bees love check out the "Bee Plants" pages of this site and for detailed information go to the Planting for Pollinators section of our Beekeepers' Library.  Also, for a guide to making a garden bees love go to "Make your garden a bee friendly garden".

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