Planting a bee-friendly environment for most people seems overwhelming, now, selecting bee-friendly plants is no longer a thing of mystery. While there is a great starting point in the Good Bee Food section of this website, it is by no means exhaustive. For some serious bee-centric gardening, farming and beekeeping, the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) have produced the most incredible, comprehensive book, detailing pollen and nectar values for honey bees. Beeplants of South Africa by M.F. Johannsmeier – Sources of nectar, pollen, honeydew and propolis – is an amazing reference book of great bee food, detailing exactly what values of nectar or pollen to expect. Buy a copy from NHBS online or for those more inclined to electronic versions, you can reference the book via the SANBI website.
Bee-enthusiastic about feeding your honey bees, but before you dig to it, consider this while designing and planting your bee garden.
- Try and plant a good spread of indigenous and exotic plants; you will find that though our wonderful local plants provide good pollen and nectar at certain times, it is the exotics which will pick up the nectar and pollen needs of our honey bees, when the locals don’t; aside of being attractive in our gardens and delicious in our foods.
- A good bee-spread of plants makes for happy buzzing, try to have a minimum of 3 or 4 different species flowering throughout the year, and try selecting flowers in a variety of shapes and sizes.
- Bee-loving plants are better together, planted in clumps or in layers.
- And don’t forget to keep a spot of water about, making honey is thirsty business.
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