You can help the native bees of your area by making your garden more attractive to them with desired food, roosting and nesting spots, and water. Also, grow a variety of flowering plants so that pollen and nectar is available throughout the year. Planting bushes with nectar-bearing flowers in clumps will maximise their attractiveness. Also, go for a variety of nesting sites, such as uncovered earth, dense shrubbery and dead tree branches. A dish of water is also a must, but put some pebbles or marbles in the dish to prevent birds emptying it.
This list is not exhaustive and mostly suits ‘generalist bees’ that feed on more than one type of plant. Some native bees have specific requirements. For example, native bees of the genus Trichocolletes mostly visit native pea flowers (Fabaceae). If you want to attract a wider variety of bees to your garden find out which species occur in your area, and grow local native plants to suit them.
Eucalypts, gum trees
Abelia x grandiflora
Butterfly bush (Buddleja) *
Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii cultivars)
Salvias (are loved by bees)
*Be careful to deadhead this as it can be an environmental weed.
Our latest issue which is onsale now has Dennis Crawford's full article on native bees, including the different types you might find in you garden. Get the latest issue of Organic Gardener for all the buzz on native bees!
We love bees at OG and so have quite a few articles about how we can help them:
By: Denis Crawford
First published: July 2020