Friday, 10 February 2017

Trees for Bees

Trees are the bee's knees, and I'm pretty fond of bees too :) Trees are an important, stable source of food for bees and other pollinators providing thousands of flower heads all in one place.

I could go on and list their other virtues but the fact you're on my blog leads me to assume that  you already have a pretty good appreciation of both trees and bees so let's get straight to the point of this post and find out which trees attract bees.

Bees from our Garden

The good news is there are trees that provide nectar and pollen for bees pretty much all year round. The better news is that most of them are very easy to grow and suitable for growing in a wide range of conditions including small and large gardens and in the wild.

I've put together five lists of trees that you'll find below;
  1. Trees for Bees that also provide fruit or nuts 
  2. Nitrogen Fixing Trees for Bees 
  3. Ornamental Trees for Bees   
  4. Master list including all of the above in alphabetical order (including USDA hardiness for each species)
  5. Master list including all of the above in order that trees flower 
Indicated on the lists are when the trees are in flower, what they offer the bees, i.e pollen, nectar or honeydew (see below for honeydew description), and whether and when the trees offer fruits, nuts or other wildlife foods. I've also included a link to plant profiles of trees that we stock in our bio nursery. You can find details of a bee tree multi-pack below that we are offering from the nursery this spring and a seed multipack here

Trees for Bees that also provide fruit or nuts






Nitrogen Fixing Trees for Bees





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Ornamental Trees for Bees  






Master list including all of the above in alphabetical order






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Master list including all of the above in order that the trees flower 


It's no coincidence that flowering and bee activity are triggered by warming temperature, During long cold winters in locations at high altitude or regions of high latitude, plants will not follow the sequence as illustrated below. In our gardens at approx. 580 m above sea level on the 42nd parallel north, the below table is an accurate representation, although there is a lot of variation within the month.







If you know of a tree or shrub that is great for bees and is not on the above lists please share it in the comments section below. Also if you see any mistakes in the list, I'd really appreciate it if you could let me know also in the comments section below.

Honey Dew 


If you have ever parked your car under a tree and arrived back to find it covered in a sticky substance, you have come across honey dew. You have the sap-sucking psyllids or aphids to thank for this.

An aphid feeds by inserting its straw-like mouthpart (proboscis) into the cells of a plant and draws up the plant’s juices or sap. Most aphids seem to take in from the plant sap more sugar than they can assimilate and excrete a sweet syrup, honey dew, that is passed out of the anus.

For many other insects including ants, wasps, and of course the bees, this is a valuable source of food. Ants harvest it directly from the aphids, bees generally collect it from where it falls.



Ant drinking "Honey Dew" - I could not find the original source of this photo to give credit


Check out our previous blog here where I profile a polyculture design dedicated to bees and other pollinators 




Polyculture for Pollination Support 


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http://www.urbanbees.co.uk/trees/trees.htm
http://www.bbka.org.uk/files/library/bbka_trees_for_bees_3-way_1306864371.pdf

5 comments:

  1. Good table. Pesticide kills pees. What is the solution?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Ganesan. There are alternatives to harmful pesticide use. The solution is to stop using harmful pesticides.

    ReplyDelete
  3. All kinds of bees- Bumble, Honey, wasps- Red, Yellow-Jacket, all love my new "Vitex" Tree (Chaste Tree). Never seen so many!

    ReplyDelete
  4. A tree that I did not see on your list is: Botanical name: Tilia cordata
    All Common Names: little-leaved linden, littleleaf linden. I was around one of these while on an early July fishing trip into Canada several years ago - huge tree, literally many thousands of bees, sucking nectar out of the small yellow blossoms. I now have some of these growing in my back yard. Last year the Japanese Beetles loved those trees too, but, they are alive and well again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you JayGee. Indeed they are great trees for bees

      I have Tilia spp. on the list but it's a good idea to include the individual species too.

      Delete