Bees are assets in gardening.  Some people see them as a nuisance while others value you them due to their ability to produce food with plant nectar and pollinate plants.  There are various kinds of bees that provide different functions in a natural environment.  Bumble and carpenter bees pollinate plants, killer bees defend their territory in large swarms and honey bees produce honey in hives.  There are things to know, do and avoid when having a space for bees in a growing area.


Benefits of Having Bees

Bees are one of the best and well-known pollinators.  Having them as visitors is a valuable entity in growing spaces especially orchards, flowering landscapes and vegetable oases.  They are crucial in the ecology of any garden and various ecosystems.  Bees are known for tasks such as obtaining nectar to feed hives and people, carrying pollen to flowers and doing important tasks other pollinators cannot do.  These beneficial insects make it possible for flowers to propagate and opportunistic species (weeds) to thrive.  Bees are some of the best pollinators in a growing space.




Good Plants to Draw Bees in Minnesota (Zone 4)

There are different ways to draw bees into your garden space, even in a cold climate area such as Minnesota.  Plant diversity and creation of favorable environments are key for having bees within the region.  Comfrey is a perennial plant with purple or white flowers that brings nutrients to soil surfaces for shallow rooted plants; it is a favorite among bees in a landscape design or garden that creates a haven for them every growing season.  Planting a variety of flowers with purple, blue, white or yellow colors such as sunflower, echinacea and wild geranium. Oregano, anise hyssop, catnip and Joe-pye weed are herbs that can attract bees.   Providing some or all of these plants in a Minnesota garden space creates a haven and diversity for bees to thrive.


What Not to Do for Bees

There are certain things that should not be done if you want bees in your garden.  Chemical pesticides and insecticides are detrimental to the livelihood of bees because they create bee disease, cause bee colonies to collapse and destroy natural habitats. Refraining from using these items increases the chances for them to live out their life cycles.  Not having refuge for bees can pose a problem; a beehive is an option of safe spaces for them to dwell and survive.  Lack of water access in a space is detrimental to the life processes of bees;  a rain garden or bird bath is multifunctional way to have these insects and other life in your garden space.




Myths about Bees

Myths about bees can shed negative light on their stinging.

  • Myth: All bees sting
  • Myth: Bees sting multiple times
  • Myth: Wasps and bees are the same thing
  • Myth: Fatal bee stings are common
  • Myth: Bee stings cure diseases

Fact checking is a way to put those myths to rest and shed a positive light on bees in your garden.