Plant in Autumn for Spring Bees
Let’s think ahead to help our fuzzy, buzzy little friends, the bees.
Bumblebees, honeybees and solitary native bees will all be thankful for this early food bounty.
It’s time to plant some spring bulbs. Now.
As honeybees emerge from winter hives in early spring, there are often not enough flowers with pollen and nectar.
In addition, remember that bumblebees do not live in hives, or make and store honey. Only the mated Queen Bumblebee survives winter. Her entire colony died out at the end of the summer. The survival of her line depends solely on her. As she emerges in early spring from the safe, dry refuge where she overwintered, she is weak and hungry and in danger of dying if she can’t find nectar quickly. Then she can start to set up her new bumblebee colony, gather pollen and use it to feed her first brood of new baby bumblebees.
Let’s help bumblebees, honeybees and solitary bees have a better chance of survival!
This 5:39-minute video by Dayton Nursery shows a wide variety of bulbs to plant in autumn:
We can help to offset this struggle for bees by planning ahead for those early spring days that carry the bite of winter bleakness in the chill air.
Which bulbs would you like to plant? Of course, it depends somewhat on where you live and what grows in your locality in the early days of spring. It’s not about having a great variety, at least not that early on. It’s better to have plenty of just a few flower varieties than try to go too broad.
Here are a few sure choices. You can’t go wrong with them, and it could be the single best thing you can do for early bees because there is a greater survival issue for them at that stage in their existence.
Snowdrops of the older varieties are amongst the earliest of blooms, often emerging in early January.
Crocuses are great and their colors are especially lovely in small dense clusters. Versatile, too, you can plant them in hanging baskets, flowerpots, kitchen window boxes. Just make sure they get sunlight.
Little blue Grape Hyacinths are also a good choice.
Daffodils look pretty, so plant them for your own enjoyment, but they don’t have much pollen or nectar, so they are not favored by bees as much as other spring flowers.
This 3:56-minute video by Sun Gro Horticulture shares beautiful images and information about some of the best early blooming flowers of spring:
These hardy flowers grow in most places, so consider which—if not all—you can plant now, in this month of American Thanksgiving. What a heart-filled thank you to bees for their pollination services. And then, before we know it, these flowering bulbs will burst forth and help the spring pollinators to survive until the world glows with yellow and gold flowers again like Primroses, Dandelions and Cowslips.
If you're looking for a project this weekend, or next, it should be easy to get some bulbs at a local nursery or have then sent from a company online.
As you see early bees drinking nectar and collecting nectar from spring flowers in your garden, your heart will be filled with warmth and happiness for that little act of kindness that means so much.
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