Envision hungry little bees leaving their nests in spring 2022 and looking for early spring flowers rich in pollen and nectar. There are very few early spring flowers for bees to choose from, so they are fond of all early blooming flowers.
If you’d like to do something to Save the Bees and make sure they are not hungry, this is spring bulb planting time. There is no rush, you can plant bulbs all the way into late autumn, until the earth freezes. Planting spring flowers will make your local bees happy and reduce their anxiety.
This is one of those times of year when your actions now can make a huge difference in the lives of fragile and vulnerable pollinators a few months down the road.
Your efforts help honeybees once they emerge from the beehive after surviving winter and depleting their honey stores, but other bees that will benefit are mason bees, and many more solitary bees. Wild bees like bumblebee queens that emerge alone and are the sole survivors from the previous summer die if they don’t find food quickly, and all hope for their future nest and baby bumblebees dies with them.
Depending on where you live in the northern hemisphere, research at the library, a nursery, or an online search engine. Some well-known and bee-love-ed flowers to plant now are:
Crocuses, Snowdrops, Anemones, Muscari Grape Hyacinth, Hellebore, Flowering Currant, Apple Tree, Primrose, Heather, Bluebell, Japanese Mahonia, Early Scout Fernleaf Peonies, Bleeding Hearts, Brise d’Anjou Jacob’s Ladder, Chocolate Chip Carpet Bugle, Trevi Fountain Lungwort, Blue Ribbons Bush Clematis, Miss Kim Korean Lilac, Pink Beauty Potentilla, Genti White Bellflower, and other early-blooming flowers.
This 5:39-minute video by Dayton Nursery shows how to plant spring flowering bulbs:
Plant the pollinator flowers along with ornamental flowers like daffodils and tulips if you like, and cover the plantings with compost or mulch to help keep the ground warm longer.
Here are a few things you can ask, although there may be more local considerations.
-- What are the most fruitful spring flowers in this area that yield lots of pollen and nectar?
-- Can I get those flower seeds in the form of organic heirloom seeds that are non-GMO?
-- How many of these early blooming flowers are native and non-invasive?
Try to ensure the seeds or bulbs are organic sourced and no spraying of any sort was done. But if that is too bothersome, please just plant some flowers anyway to feed the bees.
If this is the first time you are planting bulbs or seeds, find out everything you need to know about soil, exposure to winter sun, watering, what sorts of pests you may have to watch for and natural remedies if you encounter such problems.
Try not to use pesticides or insecticides, but if you must, use them after bees finish foraging for the day.
If you live in an urban space like an apartment where you can't plant, you can buy some early flowers or herbs like rosemary, chives, sage, and thyme in flowerpots or window boxes and leave them on your balcony.
If even that is not an option you can buy some seeds now and scatter them on public land, like along the green edge of a beach or wild areas near hiking trails, but always make sure it is legal beforehand.
Or maybe a friend or older relative would be thrilled to have you come and plant seeds or bulbs for next spring in their garden. This is an exciting and creative way to help Save the Bees in your area. And don’t forget to put out a fresh source of water for the early bees as well.