Tuesday

One of the best plants for attracting bees according to scientific study

You can attract bees and other pollinators to your garden by planting certain flowering plants.  This can help save the bees by providing the nectar and pollen that they need.

best plants for attracting bees
Bombus Lucorum, White tailed bumble bee. A queen on Marjoram.
PHOTO: Honey-oak blog
One of the best plants I have found for attracting bees is the common herb wild marjoram which is better known as oregano or by the scientific name origanum vulgare. The added bonus for you is that oregano is a herb that's leaves can be used in the kitchen in Italian, Turkish and Greek cuisines.

best plant for attracting bees
Honey Bee on Marjoram.
PHOTO: Honey-oak blog
Wild marjoram, comes from the mint family and is a perennial plant growing from 20–80 cm high. It's flowers are ranging from white to pink to purple in hue. It is a great bee atrracting plant to grow in a sunny and dry position.

In the scientific study, described in this video, below, Wild Majoram/ Origanum was the most attractive plant to honey bees, bumble bees, other bees, butterflies and hover flies.


This video describes the research project "Quantifying variation among garden plants in attractiveness to bees and other flower-visiting insects" carried out by Mihail Garbuzov and Francis Ratnieks at the Laboratory of Apiculture; Social Insects in the School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, UK in 2011 and 2012, and published in the scientific journal Functional Ecology in 2013. 

The project, which is part of the Sussex Plan for Honey Bee Health & Well Being, aimed at helping bees and other pollinating insects by putting the process of recommending "bee friendly" flowers onto a firmer scientific footing. 

The project counted and identified insects visiting 32 varieties of summer-flowering garden plants in an experimental garden at the University of Sussex. The results show that the best plants attracted 100 times as many insects. This shows that, by selecting plants carefully, gardeners and park managers can be much more helpful to bees, which were 87% of the insects seen. 

Flowers that attract bees and other insects such as butterflies and hover flies are just as pretty to look at, and no more expensive or difficult to grow.

Origanum attractied 100 times more insects than some of the other plants tested.

Find out more about Origanum at KewScience: Plants of the World online

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