Now is the time to plant bulbs for future spring flowers that require the winter cold to become established! You can google the name of the plant to see when the bulb should be planted in your zone, and click here to find out which Plant Hardiness zone you live in (USA residents).
🐝 Fall Flowers To Attract Bees
Regardless of the season, one of the best things you can do to help bees is to plant flowers and maintain a year round pollinator garden to ensure your bee visitors always have something to eat.
- Autumn Joy Sedum
- Anise hyssop
- Cutleaf Coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata)
- Mountain Mint
- Lemon Balm
Native plants are always best, check out these Pollinator Friendly Plants Lists by The Xerces Society. Find your region and choose plants that bees would naturally find in the area.
🐝 Support Your Local Beekeepers
If you’re going to buy honey or beeswax, consider sourcing your bee products from a local beekeeper. Good places to find local, unprocessed honey are Saturday Markets, farmer’s markets and many farms have their own farm produce stands. Supporting local beekeepers directly supports the bees in their care. Another plus to avoiding imported grocery store honey is that often times it is full of added sugars such as high fructose corn syrup and sometimes tainted with chemicals.
🐝 Buy or DIY a Bee Hotel
A bee or insect hotel is basically a birdhouse, except made for bugs. It gives them a safe place to hibernate over the winter and is especially nice for solitary bees, who don’t build hives or live in colonies, to lay their eggs. You’ll be able to see if a bee has laid her eggs in your bee hotel because the end of the tube or hole will be packed with mud. For more info on bee hotels, check out The Honey Bee Conservatory’s helpful page here.
There are loads of plans for DIY bee hotels online, here are a couple easy ones:
Build Your Own Bee Hotel, by NationalGeographic.org
You could also buy a pre-built bee hotel and nesting tubes, like the ones featured in this youtube video by BeeBuilt.com. They even go so far as to talk about harvesting and purchasing cocoons and bee attractants. Also be sure to check out the Introduction to Solitary Bees video they made, it’s very interesting. (I have no affiliation with these guys, just think their bee homes look cool and the videos have good information!)
If you’d rather keep things a little simpler, a wooden block with holes drilled into it (be sure to line the holes with paper to prevent disease: see video) also makes a nice home for bees, as shown in this video by the Chicago Botanic Garden.
For an even easier approach: there are lots of insect and bee hotels on Amazon. I’m not going to have time this fall to build my dream bug house, so we’ll be picking this one up* soon.