do it, Bees do it...
(But honey bees are NOT the best at it!)
may not think about plants having sex in the garden, but that's exactly
what the flowers are designed for - to attract a myriad of insects for
SEX SEX SEX. Pollinators are necessary
to ensure that your fruit and vegetable produce fruit. Without the
constant presence of pollinating insects, humanity would starve in one
hoverflies, flies, and wild mason bees are key pollinators. There are at
least 250 wild bee species, all of which contribute more than honeybees do.
While honeybees are helpful, they don't provide the same level of
service as other insect species, says the seminal 2006 UK study
by Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. Your mission is to ensure the right habitat and host plants in your
Who lives in Insect Hotels? (for ideas, see the link above the
photos in right nav bar)
● Habitat is not just host plants, but hiding and
breeding places. Mason and solitary bees lay their eggs in
straw, long dead fallen trees, or even a cluster of paper straws and
● Wasps: cuckoo wasps, parasitic wasps and many more species
● Dragonflies, beetles, lacewings, ladybirds. moths, spiders,
frogs, newts, hedgehogs, et al.
● see a large assortment of Insect Hotels at Gardener's Supply
● Bees: leafcutter bees, masked bees, mason bees, digger bees
and hundreds more.
Bumblebees nest in hollow trees and in rodent burrows. They are
among the first bees to emerge in the spring and the last to
disappear in fall. They are superb pollinators of tomatoes,
blueberries, cranberries, clover, and more. Bumblebees can “buzz
pollinate” by hanging on a flower and vibrating with their
flight muscles to release pollen.
● Mason and Leafcutter Bees select existing hollow stems and bored
holes in which to build their multiple nest chambers.
They carry pollen underneath their bodies rather than on
their legs like most bees, and the pollen falls off rather
easily. Mason bees are first-class pollinators of many fruit
crops, toiling long hours and in inclement weather. Squash and
Gourd Bees help pollinate up to eighty percent of squash,
pumpkins, and melons. They are ground nesters, so it is
important to leave some open dirt for the these very important
bees as well.
Host Plants: Plant Smart!
The key is to ensure there is a succession of bloom so there is
always something to attract pollinators. This will vary by your
gardening zone and the amount of sun you get.
Here are the plants, shrubs and trees that work in just about any
Lavandula spp. (Lavender), Rosemarinus officinalis
(Rosemary), Salvia spp. (Sage), Echinacea spp.
(Coneflower), Helianthus spp. (Sunflower), Cercis spp.
(Redbud), Nepeta spp. (Catnip), Penstemon spp. (Penstemon),
Stachys spp. (Lamb’s ears), Verbena spp. (Verbena),
Phacelia spp. (Bells or Phacelia), Aster spp. (Aster),
Rudbeckia spp. (Black-eyed Susan), Origanum spp.
(Oregano), Achilliea millefolium (Yarrow).
The USDA site has helpful information too: