Food for bees in the summer

Here's just a small sample of some of our plants that bees enjoy:

Shrubs, trees, and vines

And here are some of our herbaceous plants bees love.

Bee on winterberry ©Janet AllenBee getting nectar from winterberry

The appeal of winterberries (Ilex verticillata) for people (and birds) is the mass of brilliant red berries in winter, but the bees love the flowers in summer.

This plant showed me that flowers don't have to be large to be attractive to bees!

These tiny flowers must be chock full of nectar since when they bloom it's the bees' favorite spot in the yard. The bushes were just buzzing with activity.

Bumblebee and flowering raspberry ©Janet Allen
Flowering raspberry

Bumble bees and other bees just love the flowering raspberry shrub. There's seems to be something about the flower structure that creates an especially loud buzz, so we not only enjoy the sight of so many bees working among the many flowers, but the sound as well.

Bee and native rose ©Janet AllenEven this small bee (on lower left) is a valuable pollinator

This native Virginia rose (Rosa virginiana) may not be as spectacular as a big hybrid tea, but it has a simple elegance all its own.

It's also very easy to grow and is rarely bothered by anything (except Japanese beetles, which have an unfair non-native advantage over our native plants).

Can you imagine how difficult it would be for a bee to actually get nectar and pollen from one of those fully doubled hybrids—if there happened to be any food available at all?

Bee on inkberry ©Janet AllenBee getting nectar from inkberry

Inkberry (Ilex glabra) flowers are good nectar sources.

Bee on diervilla ©Janet AllenBee getting nectar from diervilla

Though unpretentious, the bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera) has really grown on me. I enjoy its foliage and shape, and it's very easy to grow.

This bumble bee likes it, too. You can see it has already collected quite a bit of pollen in its "saddlebags."

Bee on hairy honeysuckle ©Janet AllenBee getting nectar from hairy honeysuckle

I love this hairy honeysuckle vine (Lonicera hirsuta) for its buttery-yellow flowers and its hairy leaves. The bees love it for its nectar.

And here are some of our herbaceous plants bees love.