RICHMOND—Everyone can be a hero for honey bees by adding plants that are bee-friendly to a home garden or landscape.
During the 2013 State Fair of Virginia, the Richmond Beekeepers Association invited fairgoers to “Bee a Hero” and provided lists of plants that attract honey bees.
“Everyone can ‘Bee a Hero’ for the honey bees by planting bee-friendly gardens, avoiding harmful chemicals, buying local Virginia honey or starting their own backyard beehive,” said Valerie West, president of the association. West has been keeping bees for four years at her home in Richmond.
Honey bees are critical to the success of agriculture and the health of the environment and are responsible for more than $15 billion in increased crop value each year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Commercial production of many specialty crops such as almonds and other tree nuts, berries, fruits and vegetables are dependent on pollination by honey bees.
“I first became interested in beekeeping for pollination purposes, but the more I learned about honey bees and how the colony works together, I became more and more fascinated with them,” West said. She finds her bees enjoy holly, Russian sage, sunflowers, basil, melon flowers, clover and dandelions.
Biannuals and perennials that attract honey bees include all spring bulbs; anise hyssop; asters; berries; calamint; catnip; caryopteris; chives; comfrey; coreopsis; dandelion; echinacea; gaillardia; globe thistle; goldenrod; hazelnut; hyssop; lavender; melissa; mint; monarda; motherwort; obedient plant; oregano; plantain; pussy willow; rose mallow; rosemary; rudbeckia; Russian sage; sage; sedum; perennial; sweet clover; thyme; perennial verbena; wild rose; and white clover.
Annuals that attract honey bees include arugula; basil; borage; buckwheat; canola; cleome; cornflower; cosmos; crimson clover; flax; holy basil; mustard; phacelia; poppies; scabiosa; sunflower; verbena; and zinnia.
Some trees also attract honey bees. They include black locust, fruit trees, linden, sourwood and tulip poplar.
Media: Contact Sara Owens, VFBF communications, at 804-290-1133.