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Name the top plants in your yard for bees.

 
Marty Mitchell
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This is not to be based on what is written in a book but rather from observation from your own eyes. Name your bee type... then flower type... and even time of year if wished.



Honey bee - Santa Rosa Plum(early spring), Dandelion(early spring), Blackberry(late spring till present), white dutch clover(late spring till present), mimosa tree, wild asters, golden rod(saw six on a single flower cluster last Fall), Chicroy, Laburnum, Lime/Linden/basswood tree, bee-bee tree, and raspberry.

Bumble Bee - Blueberry, Crimson Clover, Blackberry, white Dutch clover, corn flower, mimosa tree, butterfly bush, rosemary, thyme, butterfly weed, hosta, Laburnum, and Chicroy

Mason Bee - crab apple, plum, apple, dandelion, chicroy

leafcutter bees - blackberries, butterfly weed(SWARMING on these right now), tomatoes, cilantro, garlic chives

Cutting material - raspberries and Paw Paw trees that I have seen so far..

Hoverflies - chives, garlic chives, daikon radish, blackberries, crimson clover, white Dutch clover, salvia, thyme, corn flower, dandelion, butterfly bush, chicroy

many more unknown solitary bees and wasps were on most of the above... especially the cilantro, thyme, butterfly weed, and garlic chives

I will think of more later if I can get a chance...

Marty

 
John Elliott
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Chicory. One of my chicory plants has gotten HUGE this year, turning into a bush 5' in all directions. It has flowers all over it, and I have never seen so many different species of bee on one plant. Bumblebees, mason bees, honey bees, hoverflies, they are all over it in the morning while the flowers are open.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Nice. I have a couple of chicroy plants out in the yard but the rabbits keep eating them to nubs. Same thing for a ton of other flowers I planted.

Did just throw up a small fence around what few Liatris "Blazing Star" spikes are left. Planted over 100 bulbs this spring and only maybe 10 spikes have not been chopped down by the rabbits. lol I saw a YouTube video of them and there was several dozen Monarchs in one video... and several dozen bumble bees on the Liatris in another video. So I will report back on those later.

Thanks!

I want to get a list going of good plants. I am hopeing that planting the Liatris next to the Butterfly weed... that I will attracts some to the yard. They would have both the adult and larval food sources next to each other.

Sadly my wife made me mow down 2 and a half of the 4 wildflower patches I had in the yard. The rabbits were finally leaving everything alone this year until I mowed.

I will add Chicroy to the list above....
 
David Livingston
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budlia
not only will your garden and bees benifit but it will spread to your neighbours weather they want it or not
Hazel
for early in the year

David
 
Michael Cox
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Laburnum - when in flower it positively roars with bees, both honey and various bumble species.

Lime (Linden) - big ornamental street trees around here. Flower for about 2 weeks in late June. Massive nectar flow.
 
John Wolfram
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I was at an Indiana beekeepers meeting about two weeks ago and this topic came up. The general consensus seemed to be that basswood was the best native tree for nectar flow and long bloom times. One of the Purdue entomology professors suggested the beebee tree was even better than the basswood, but it might be considered "invasive."
 
Marty Mitchell
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David Livingston wrote:budlia
not only will your garden and bees benifit but it will spread to your neighbours weather they want it or not



I typed that into YouTube and it came out buddleia/ butterfly bush. Is that what you are talking about?

Here is a video of the exact dwarf Butterfly Bush cultivar I have in the front yard that I have seen the bumble bees on...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=pw3UyxghGMY
 
Michael Cox
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"Basswood" is a colloquial name for the Linden tree I mentioned earlier.
 
Marty Mitchell
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I am going to remove my location in the first post I think. Just to let folks figure out on their own if it will grow in their area or not.

@ David L... which bees do you see on the Hazel? I will add it to the list when you reply.

@ Michael C. and John W.... I will add those trees as well... to the honey bee list. Any others you have seen on them?
 
Becky Proske
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Marty, I love your introduction to this thread.

This gives me an opportunity to comment on Hairy Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum pilosum) which is advertised as the best pollinator plant to have from nurseries in my area. From my observations I would beg to differ about this claim, and since I live outside the native range of this plant, I would be reluctant to recommend it to my neighbors. I will admit that I've only grown hairy mountain mint for one season, maybe in time, as the plant matures and gets larger, it will attract swarms of pollinating insects like they say. We'll see. In my experience at my location I've seen more pollinator activity around other plants and would recommend them instead. This is a short list of plants that have displayed such high activity repeatedly over the years in my yard.

Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
Borage
Cilantro
Apples
Apricots
Pussy Willow

(And to see a number of yellow swallowtail butterflies on a rose milkweed in bloom is also a fine sight to behold.)
 
Michael Cox
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Hazel - I think for early pollen rather than nectar. But I think they work it because it is all that is around at that time, rather than it being especially good in absolute terms.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Becky Proske wrote:Marty, I love your introduction to this thread.

This gives me an opportunity to comment on Hairy Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum pilosum) which is advertised as the best pollinator plant to have from nurseries in my area. From my observations I would beg to differ about this claim, and since I live outside the native range of this plant, I would be reluctant to recommend it to my neighbors. I will admit that I've only grown hairy mountain mint for one season, maybe in time, as the plant matures and gets larger, it will attract swarms of pollinating insects like they say. We'll see. In my experience at my location I've seen more pollinator activity around other plants and would recommend them instead. This is a short list of plants that have displayed such high activity repeatedly over the years in my yard.

Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
Borage
Cilantro
Apples
Apricots
Pussy Willow

(And to see a number of yellow swallowtail butterflies on a rose milkweed in bloom is also a fine sight to behold.)


Thanks Becky!

If you name which bees you see in each plant... I will add them to the first post/list unless already there.

Do you folks think I should add butterflies to the list? I do care about those as well. They are few and far between in my parts these days. (except for the massive amounts of cabbage loopers! lol)
 
Marty Mitchell
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Michael Cox wrote:Hazel - I think for early pollen rather than nectar. But I think they work it because it is all that is around at that time, rather than it being especially good in absolute terms.



I do really want some Hazel Nut trees for sure! I have been wanting them for a while now. Is that for honey bees then?


I am almost out of space now. Have room for just two more small trees. I am trying to decide for either two more Almonds... Figs... or Hazels. I suspect two Hazels will not be enough for pollination. However, I wonder if my neighbors would let me plant in their yard. Both neighbors have about 1/8th and 1/4 acre of wide open land.

My Almonds will feed some bees @ some point. They are just twigs sticking up for now though.
 
Becky Proske
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Marty Mitchell wrote:

Thanks Becky!

If you name which bees you see in each plant... I will add them to the first post/list unless already there.

Do you folks think I should add butterflies to the list? I do care about those as well. They are few and far between in my parts these days. (except for the massive amounts of cabbage loopers! lol)


Marty,
I really appreciate your attention to detail here and I must admit my lack of knowledge. I wish I was more familiar with insects. The best I can do is make a generalization for pollinator identification, which should help. Plus I've added a few more plants. Florence fennel, chives and bee balm are pretty good as well. But my first post is my list of champions. I have seen the greatest diversity around anise hyssop and pussy willow.

Hoverfly and similar small insects: anise hyssop, cilantro, chives, Florence fennel.
Bees and similar large insects: anise hyssop, borage, apple, apricot, pussy willow, bee balm (monarda).

Do butterflies and humming birds play a part in pollination? They certainly are just as entertaining to watch as a cloud of hoverflies surfing the breeze around a cilantro plant in bloom.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Becky Proske wrote:
Do butterflies and humming birds play a part in pollination? They certainly are just as entertaining to watch as a cloud of hoverflies surfing the breeze around a cilantro plant in bloom.



It is my understanding that they sure do play a role. So every little bit counts. I think I will add them to the list...

Humming Birds - Crimson Clover, Canna, Daylilies, Mimosa tree

Butterfly Food - Butterfly Bush, White Dutch clover, Crimson Clover, Blackberry, daikon radish, Mimosa Tree

Butterfly Larval food - Dogwood, Paw Paw, Butterfly weed, dill/fennel, Passion Fruit vine(May Pop), Brassicas


I can no longer edit my first post. : (
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Leaf cutter bees: Sunflowers for pollen, lilacs for nesting materials.

Honeybees: My place is surrounded by miles of alfalfa, which is the primary source of honey around here, especially in a dry year when the second cutting doesn't grow enough to justify the cost of cutting and baling it. Other types of clovers/medics are highly sought after when flowering. First thing in the spring, pussy willow is a very favored source of pollen. Dandelion. Fruit trees. Non-hybrid brassicas. When my corn is flowering, there might be as many as 10 bees per plant. If I'm growing 2000 plants, that's 20,000 bees all at the same time. Creeps me out to go into the garden on those days: might accidentally inhale a bee. Conifers for propolis.

Sweat Bees and Wasps: Onion, fennel, parsnip, carrot, cilantro, parsley, tamarisk.

Bumblebees: Bindweed, raspberry. I can't get it naturalized around here, but purple tansy was the most popular bumblebee attracting plant I ever grew.

Squash Bees: Squash

Hoverflies: Super early spring ephemerals.

Joseph playing with the honeybees about a month ago:


Bumblebee on tomato flower. I'm breeding tomatoes specifically to be more attractive to bumblebees. This particular variety of tomato drops gobs of pollen like a cloud of dust.




p.s. I'd really like to know what cultivar of tomato is attracting leaf-cutter bees. I'm not committed to bumblebees only. I'll select tomato flowers that attract any pollinator: Especially a pollinator like leaf-cutter bees that might be easy to cultivate.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:

p.s. I'd really like to know what cultivar of tomato is attracting leaf-cutter bees. I'm not committed to bumblebees only. I'll select tomato flowers that attract any pollinator: Especially a pollinator like leaf-cutter bees that might be easy to cultivate.



What an awesome post that was. That is really neat/cool that you are breeding tomatoes based on what bumble bees want! Some forward thinking there??

For the tomatoe type... I don't remember. I usually grow Supersweet 100 cherry tomatoes... Cherokee Purple Tomatoes... and one kind of Beefsteak or another. So it was likely one of those. I have noticed that the cherry tomatoe flowers are drastically smaller than the Cherokee Purple.

Keep it coming folks. The next time I have overnight duty again (several days from now) I will just make a fresh post @ the bottom to accumulate everything together in one spot. This is going to help me(and hopefully others) have a quic list of things that are good to show to people... and what bugs they are good for. I may copy and past it onto my local "nextdoor" website and send it to all neighborhoods within my region. It would be sweet if 25% of the homes in my area started planting for bees/etc.
 
David Livingston
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Hazel attracted honey bees and those wonderful big black carpenter bees we have here in France http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpenter_bee

David
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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My breeding goal for tomatoes is to eventually get a population of promiscuously pollinating tomatoes. That will allow me to grow lots of naturally occurring hybrids, and to avoid inbreeding depression, and to play the genetic lottery much more frequently and easily which aught to lead to higher production and better local-adaptation. It all started when I noticed two plants in my garden (out of hundreds) thatwere highly attractive to bumblebees.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
My breeding goal for tomatoes is to eventually get a population of promiscuously pollinating tomatoes. That will allow me to grow lots of naturally occurring hybrids, and to avoid inbreeding depression, and to play the genetic lottery much more frequently and easily which aught to lead to higher production and better local-adaptation. It all started when I noticed two plants in my garden (out of hundreds) thatwere highly attractive to bumblebees.



Sweet. Observation at it's finest. Sounds like you may be on to something here... on several levels. Have you started any threads on that subject? I am interested in reading it if you have!


Folks... when I re-do the list in a few days... I will add a sweat bee/micro bee section... and possibly polinating beetle section. Almost every flower species in my yard has a single species of pollin loving beetle on them. They just roll around in the pollin... even while in the middle of making more baby beetles. lol


Marty
 
Russell Olson
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Monarda(bee balm) and coneflowers rule in my yard.
I have a variety of mint I got from oikos they call applemint that absolutely brings in all sorts of strange swarms of wasps, bees, and flies.
I missed my opportunity to post a picture of them last year but I get 3 inch long florescent blue and black wasps covering that mint when it blooms.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Today in my garden, the honey bees, wild black bees that collect pollen on their legs, and hover flies were very interested in working the Bok choi that is flowering.
 
Jay Grace
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Linden/ basswood tree
Privet
 
Ann Torrence
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Native bees (not sure if they are bumbles or big solitary bees): sunflower, annual arugula, perennial arugula
Honey bees: alfalfa, hyssop, Russian sage, lavender, nepeta faassinii
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Marty: This is my third growing season writing about selecting for tomatoes that are more attractive to bumblebees. Special for Permies, I started a thread specific to the bee side of the project...
Promiscuously Pollinated Tomatoes And The Bees That Make Them Possible
 
Marty Mitchell
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Joseph L.

And.... I am now subscribed! I will read that thread today. Thanks!


Isn't it funny that nature does this on it's own naturally. Since the plants that are more attractive to the bees will be the ones that get pollinated the best... increasing that plant's genetic influence in the region more and more every year.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Jay Grace wrote:Linden/ basswood tree
Privet


For which bee species did you see on them?

Thanks
 
Marty Mitchell
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Russell Olson wrote:Monarda(bee balm) and coneflowers rule in my yard.
I have a variety of mint I got from oikos they call applemint that absolutely brings in all sorts of strange swarms of wasps, bees, and flies.
I missed my opportunity to post a picture of them last year but I get 3 inch long florescent blue and black wasps covering that mint when it blooms.


I would totally enjoy seeing some pics of those blue wasps. My favorite color!

Which bees did you observe on which flower species you noted? I will add them to the list once noted.

I just planted some bee balm this spring. Just a little guy for now... but with a LOT of potential from what I hear... both for tea and bees.

I planted a few dozen cone flowers but they were all eaten by rabbits. All except for two plants hidden between the ornamental grass clump and the mailbox. So I may see something on them next year when they bloom. Started from seed this spring.

Marty
 
Marty Mitchell
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This is not to be based on what is written in a book but rather from observation from your own eyes. Name your bee type... then flower type... and even time of year if wished.



Honey bee - Santa Rosa Plum(early spring), Dandelion(early spring), Blackberry(late spring till present), white dutch clover(late spring till present), mimosa tree, wild asters, golden rod(saw six on a single flower cluster last Fall), Chicroy, Laburnum, Lime/Linden/basswood tree, bee-bee tree, alfalfa, hyssop, Russian sage, lavender, nepeta faassinii, Bok choi, Hazel, raspberry, pussy willow, corn, apricot

Propyls resources - Conifers

Immune System Activating resources - Certain forest fungi

Bumble Bee - Blueberry, Crimson Clover, Blackberry, white Dutch clover, corn flower, mimosa tree, butterfly bush, rosemary, thyme, butterfly weed, hosta, Laburnum, and Chicroy, sunflower, annual arugula, perennial arugula, tomatoes, purple tansy (super attractant), Bindweed, bee-balm

Mason Bee - crab apple, plum, apple, dandelion, chicroy

Squash Bee - Squash

leafcutter bees - blackberries, butterfly weed(SWARMING on these right now), tomatoes, cilantro, garlic chives, Sunflowers

Cutting/nesting material - raspberries, Paw Paw trees, lilacs

Hoverflies - chives, garlic chives, daikon radish, blackberries, crimson clover, white Dutch clover, salvia, thyme, corn flower, dandelion, butterfly bush, chicory, Bok choi, spring ephemerals, anise hyssop, cilantro, Florence fennel

Sweat Bees/Micro Bees - Blackberry, tomatoes, Shasta daisies, corn flower, thyme, white clover, Onion, fennel, parsnip, carrot, cilantro, parsley, tamarisk, anise hyssop, chives, Florence fennel

Pollinating Beetle - Shasta Daisies, Blackberries, Holly, cilantro

Humming Birds - Crimson Clover, Canna, Daylilies, Mimosa tree

Butterfly Food - Butterfly Bush, White Dutch clover, Crimson Clover, Blackberry, daikon radish, Mimosa Tree

Butterfly Larval Food - Dogwood, Paw Paw, Butterfly weed, dill/fennel, Passion Fruit vine(May Pop), Brassicas, spice bush

many more unknown solitary bees and wasps were on most of the above... especially the cilantro, thyme, butterfly weed, and garlic chives, Hazel, Onion, fennel, parsnip, carrot, parsley, tamarisk

I will post more as things come into bloom in the yard. Keep the info. coming!
 
Marty Mitchell
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Saw some new things on todays lap around the yard.

Sweat Bees - Queen Ann's Lace(Starting to Bloom), Liatris "Blazing Star"/Gay Feather(Just Starting to bloom)

Pollinating Beetle - Queen Ann's Lace


EDIT:

Bumble Bee - Comfrey (Bocking 14)


 
Marty Mitchell
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bumble bee - Liatris "Blazing Star", daylilies
 
Marty Mitchell
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Saw a tiger swallowtail feeding from this flower. Does anyone out there know what kind of flower the pink one in the middle is? it starts out green and then slowly turns pink as the individual flowers in the cluster begin to open. Looks like a fancy pink fountain.

Tiger Swallowtail Flower.jpg
[Thumbnail for Tiger Swallowtail Flower.jpg]
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Marty Mitchell wrote:Does anyone out there know what kind of flower the pink one in the middle is?


Does it have a square stem? If yes, that would put it into the mint family...
 
Marty Mitchell
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
Marty Mitchell wrote:Does anyone out there know what kind of flower the pink one in the middle is?


Does it have a square stem? If yes, that would put it into the mint family...



It's stem IS square-ish.

It looks round until I touched it after you asked. Nice job! I wish I had saved all of the flower seed mixes I spread everywhere. I would be able to figure it out.

There are 3 stacked platforms of pink flowers.
 
Crt Jakhel
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Looks a bit like monarda citriodora.

Anyway...

For honey bees:

In the house garden: roses. Climbing hydrangea. Dahlias. Lavender. Mallow. Thyme. Sage.

In the orchard: all the fruit trees and the berries but especially gooseberry and raspberry. Russian olive (other elaeagnus too but this one is their favorite). Dandelion. Dead nettle. White clover. Narrow leaf plantain. Chicory.

Further out from the house: black locust... accept no substitutes Red dogwood (sanguinea). Oilseed rape. Crimson clover. Industrial hemp. Linden and sweet chestnut.


 
Marty Mitchell
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Crt Jakhel wrote:Looks a bit like monarda citriodora.







That is it! I looked it up on wiki. AKA... Lemon Beebalm (is in mint family)

It is a native to the U.S. and can be used to make tea. Definitely must have been in the 1lb of South Eastern wildflower mix that I mixed in with the 2lbs of cilantro seed.


Thanks!


 
Crt Jakhel
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Crt Jakhel wrote:Further out from the house: black locust... accept no substitutes Red dogwood (sanguinea). Oilseed rape. Crimson clover. Industrial hemp. Linden and sweet chestnut.


And pumpkins most definitely... They started flowering some 5 days ago and the bees were coming home covered in yellow. The traffic of coming and going bees was even greater than in the time of black locust flow (which was great this year, the entire village had this sublime smell for a week until the rain cut it short). They were so loaded with pollen they painted the (formerly white) entrance yellow
 
Marty Mitchell
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Bumble bee - Lemon Beebalm

Leafcutter bee - Lemon Beebalm

 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Today's bee magnet in my garden was carrot flowers. About 17 species of bees, wasps, and flies were thronging the carrots. Plenty of honeybees. Lots of kinds of micro-bees. Very noisy.

The tomatillos were attracting micro-bees and wasps.

A few species of bees were only on the cilantro, but it was mostly ignored by the other species in favor of the carrots.

The radish flowers had some activity on them by bees, but the Cabbage Whites were all over them.

Bindweed was flowering profusely, but the pollinators didn't care.

Rabbit ears plant was attracting a few honeybees.

 
Marty Mitchell
Posts: 312
Location: Chesapeake, Virginia
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bee dog fish forest garden fungi solar
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Nice Joseph. I will update the list again in a few days.


Tiger Swallowtail - Meyer Lemon


For some reason my Meyer Lemon has started blooming again. It has nine fruit set on it already too.
 
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