Do bees have a favorite color? Yes, as a matter of fact, they do! Bees are inordinately attracted to blue, purple, and violet flowers. Bees have excellent color vision and are able to see ultraviolet light. Over the years, our beloved bee earrings have been paired with a variety of gemstones including garnet, blue topaz, honey colored citrine, peridot, and now this luscious lavender amethyst. We're guessing if given the choice, bees would pick the amethyst ones! As a pollinator friendly business, we're delighted to continue the discussion about helping bees thrive.
With the sharp decline in honeybee population, any and all pollinator friendly flowers are great to plant, the blue ones will just get a bit more traffic. It's best to look for native plants and flowers for your area. Here in Boise, some great options for bee-friendly plants with blue or purple flowers are lavender, crocus, blue mist shrub, larkspur, sweet pea, borage and comfrey. If you're interested in something more than just decorative, there are many culinary herbs that also have blue bee-loving flowers, such as chives, sage, and rosemary. Which pollinator friendly plants grow well in your area? If you're not sure, give your local nursery a call and ask. They are a wealth of knowledge and will be thrilled to help you.
All kinds of bees (honey bees, solitary bees, bumblebees etc.,) need both pollen and nectar from plants in order to thrive. Some plants offer both, but in general they'll produce either pollen or nectar. Trees are a very important source of pollen, especially in the early weeks of spring. Arbor Day Foundation has loads of information about pollinator friendly trees. Maples, pussy willows, and elm trees are among the few trees that offer pollen as early as February. It can be quite a drag for those of us who suffer with springtime allergies, but take solace in knowing the bees are loving it. Take a moment to check your landscaping for plants that provide either pollen or nectar. Do you have substantially more of one that the other? Maybe you can add a few new plants to help the bees.
Although their flowers are not blue, it bears reminding that dandelions are an extremely valuable pollen resource for bees! Early in the spring, when other sources of pollen are scarce, the cheerful yellow dandelion can be a bee's best friend. If you really must get ride of dandelions, your local nursery can help you find a pollinator friendly weed killer like horticultural vinegar.