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What to plant to help Bees this year

 
Jerry Ward
Posts: 188
Location: S.E. Michigan - Zone 6a
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Hello,

I live in S.E. MI and have 10 acres of mixed grass, brush and trees. I have some areas that I cleared the end of last year and am wondering what I can plant that will help bees this year. I'm getting a package in a week or so.

I do have some White Dutch Clover seed that I will be throwing down, but any other advice would be helpful.

Thanks,
Jerry
 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Buckwheat if you need fast flowers.

Pretty much any wildflowers that are native to your area, or grow there.
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3356
Location: woodland, washington
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borage. phacelia. viper's bugloss. umbels. those are some of my favorites that are quick and easy.
 
Daniel Clifford
Posts: 53
Location: Eastern Massachusetts
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Hi Jerry,

I don't know if you found these sites, I did a little poking around they seem like they would be helpful.

http://honeybeenet.gsfc.nasa.gov/Honeybees/ForageRegion.php?StReg=MI_10

http://cyberbee.net/column/honey/plants.shtml

*edit* I didn't see it on this lists but I think Bee Balm is hardy to your area as well.

Good Luck,

Daniel
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
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bee chicken fungi solar trees
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A very cool list but I can't figure out the connection of bees to NASA.
 
Daniel Clifford
Posts: 53
Location: Eastern Massachusetts
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I thought that was weird too CJ go figure huh? Personally I would rather have government resources spent on expanding knowledge about bees than flying to mars or whatever but that's just me

Incidentally this was the original link it apparently has lists for each state I believe I haven't checked them all though
http://honeybeenet.gsfc.nasa.gov/Honeybees/Forage.htm
 
Blythe Barbo
Posts: 40
Location: Sequim, WA USA - zone 8b
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I live in the Pacific Northwest (NW corner of WA State; zone 8b, not terribly cold, nor very warm, windy, rain from Oct-April, and then dry) - I recently made a list of plants that I'm growing that are good for honeybees and other pollinators (I currently have 5 Warre hives). These are all easy-to-grow plants (I am growing them on a little over an acre):

Agrimony
Alfalfa
Angelica
Anise Hyssop
Aster
Bachelor Buttons/ Cornflower
Basil
Berberis
Bergamot / Monarda
black locust
Blackberries, raspberries, marionberries, etc.
Blue Vervain
Bluebells
Blueberries
Borage
Brassicas
Buckwheat
Calendula
Cardoon
Catmint
Catnip
Ceanothus
Chives
Clematis
Clovers - white, red, crimson
Comfrey
Coriander / Cilantro
Cornelian Cherry
Cosmos
Cotoneaster
Cottonwood
Crabapple
Cranesbill / Geranium
Crocus
Currants
Dandelion
Deadnettle / Henbit
Dill
Echinacea
Eleagnus spp. (Autumn Olive)
Elderberries
Fennel
Fireweed
Flowering Red Currant
Fruit Trees (apples, cherries, plums, etc.)
Germander
Globe Thistle / Echinops
Goji
Goldenrod
Gooseberries
Goumi
Hazelnut Trees
Hebe
Hellebores
Horehound
Huckleberries
Hyssop
Joe Pye Weed
Josta Berry
Korean Cherry
Larkspur
Lavender
Lemon Balm
Linden
Lingonberries
Lupine
Maples
Marjoram
Mexican Sunflower
Mignonette
Milkweed / Asclepias
Mint
Mock Orange
Monarda
Motherwort
Mountain Mint
Mustards
Nasturtium
Nigella
Oreganos
Oregon Grape
Penstemon
Phacelia
Pinks / Dianthus
Poppies
Primulas/Native Primrose
Rosemary
Rudbekia
Sage
Salvias
Saskatoon
Savory
Scabiosa
Sedum
Snapdragons
Snowberries
Soapwort
Stonecrop / Sedum
Strawberry Tree
Strawberries
Sunflowers
Sweet William
Thyme
Verbena
Viper’s Bugloss
Wallflowers
Willows
Yarrow
Zinnias

Probably forgot something - and will have to double-check that everything has overwintered ok. I created a spreadsheet and am keeping track of what blooms when so I can easily spot where the gaps are in the food supply. As for favorites, I would say many of the native plants and weeds are really important sources in the early spring: red flowering currant, pussy willows, purple deadnettle, dandelions. It's like Nature is taking care of her own. I always leave mustards and brassicas to overwinter and bloom in early spring - the bees love them! As for herbs and flowers, I always see a lot of bees on the clovers, phacelia, hollyhocks, catnip, thyme, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, chives, lavender, mignonette, poppies, sunflowers, penstemons, borage, and comfrey. Of course, berries are always good. Asters are wonderful in the fall. The hollyhocks are major bee magnets from summer through fall, too. An unexpected side benefit, other than all the fruit, has been the high yield of really good quality seed, which I try to save when I can. Hope this helps! Variety is key! Best of luck to you!

(hmmm - is there a way to list these in columns? I took up a lot of space!) I keep updates on my website at http://barbolian.com.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
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bee chicken fungi solar trees
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It's been a very cold spring here in Vermont this year. It's almost May and the leaves still haven't opened up! It's been too cold for the bees to come out but on the few warm days we've had, the only plant I've seen bees on is coltsfoot.
 
Sandy Powell
Posts: 4
Location: Velarde, NM
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May not help this year, but I would plant flowering trees - fruit trees, catalpa, linden, basswood. Currently my little orchard is abuzz! That is also a good place to set up a box or two to catch swarms.
 
Blythe Barbo
Posts: 40
Location: Sequim, WA USA - zone 8b
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CJ Verde wrote:
on the few warm days we've had, the only plant I've seen bees on is coltsfoot.


I think that is key: pay attention to what is available when little else is growing - and then plant for those gaps.
Seems like most annuals are in a rush to grow, flower, make seeds, disperse, all in a few months time - so there is a lot available in midsummer.
It's on either end - early spring and late summer & fall when food can be so scarce.
 
Christy Hemenway
Author
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Jerry Ward wrote:Hello,

I live in S.E. MI and have 10 acres of mixed grass, brush and trees. I have some areas that I cleared the end of last year and am wondering what I can plant that will help bees this year. I'm getting a package in a week or so.

I do have some White Dutch Clover seed that I will be throwing down, but any other advice would be helpful.

Thanks,
Jerry


Most things bees and agricultural are local - meaning very specific to the location they are in. A good resource near you would be your local Cooperative Extension office. (Just ignore their bit about the use of chemicals. There are organic alternatives.)

Have fun!


-- Chrsty
 
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