I couldn’t order my bees back in the beginning of the year because the date of our arrival in Colorado was constantly changing. I really needed to do it in January or February before the apiaries sold out, but up until a week before our departure I still wasn’t sure when we’d be in Durango. Once we decided, I started frantically emailing apiaries and Tweeting beeks to find out if anyone had any bees to sell. This continued while we were packing, loading the truck and into our cross-country drive. I got a few leads from Twitter folks, but nothing panned out and I resigned myself to the fact I would not have honeybees in Colorado this year.
But last Tuesday as we were driving across the country a small miracle happened. I got a phone call from an apiary and they told me they were shipping on a later date than normal because of the cooler-than-usual weather in the Northwest. They asked if I still wanted bees! Hell yes! What a wonderful surprise — pure luck!!
The bees will be here tomorrow and I’ve been getting my garden ready. I’ve been going over the plants that I have that will attract and feed my honeybees and making a list of what I’ll need to buy to have a diversity of blooms throughout the whole season.
Tip # 1: Plants for Honeybees
Here are the bee plants that I’ve bought so far with their bloom times:
Jupiter’s Beard (Ceranthus ruber)
Spike Speedwell ‘Royal Candles’ and ‘Red Fox’ (Veronica spicata)
Salvia ‘Blue Queen’ (Salvia x sylvestris)
Lavender ‘Munstead’ (Lavandula angustifolia)
Culinary herbs: Rosemary, sage, oregano, marjoram, dill, tarragon, etc.
Bee Balm ‘Jacob Cline’ and ‘Blue Stocking’ (Monarda didyma) Warning: this can take over you garden, plant it where it can be contained.
Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
Sedum ‘Rosy Glow’ and ‘Matrona’ (also called Stonecrop)
Aster ‘Wood’s Pink’
Golden Rod ‘Baby Gold’ (Solidago)
Tip # 2: Attracting Honeybees
You don’t need a hive to support honeybees. Plant some bee plants following these guidelines and you’ll be helping bees and lots of other pollinators too.
- Plant in clumps: plant 3 or more of the same species together in a clump. This attracts more pollinators than if scattered around the garden.
- Flower colors: honeybees are attracted to blue-violet, blue-green, orange-yellow and white blossoms.
- Plant a variety of flowers that bloom from spring to fall.
- Don’t use herbicides or pesticides please! Once you invite honeybees into your garden, don’t kill them. All herbicides and pesticides are highly lethal to bees, butterflies and all the other beneficials in your garden.