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Flowers For Bees: Bee Pollinator Seed Mixes

Our wildflower seed mixes produce beautiful flowers that attract bees and other pollinators.

Animal and insect pollinators are essential to pollination in over 75% of the world's flowering plants, which includes roughly 35% of the world's crops. Animal and insect pollinators include bees, moths, flies, bats, birds, ants, butterflies, wasps and beetles. Some of these pollinator species have declined in numbers, become endangered or even gone extinct due to the loss of natural food supplies and habitat.

As a result, pollinator conservation was made an important part of H.R. 6124, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, commonly known as the Farm Bill. This act covers a wide range of agricultural and food programs, but it also includes conservation programs.

Squash Bee on Cosmos
Squash Bee on Cosmos

This bill provides support for research and makes pollinator habitat conservation a priority for land managers and conservationists. It will benefit both managed pollinators such as honey bees as well as wild pollinator species across the U.S.NOTE: FREE SHIPPING IS NOT APPLIED FOR WILDFLOWERS AND ANY BEE SEED.

Bee Feed Pollinator Seed Mix Bee Feed Pollinator Seed Mix | PM-100
1 Oz.: $10.00 | 1/4 lb: $20.00 | 1 lb: $45.00
Recommended Region: Entire U.S.
This mixture is composed of annuals and perennials that will bloom all season. It incudes the flowers that provide pollen and nectar to honey bees, bumble bees and other native bees. More >>
     
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Honey Bee Pollinator Seed Mix Honey Bee Pollinator Seed Mix | PM-200
1 Oz.: $10.00 | 1/4 lb: $20.00 | 1 lb: $45.00
Recommended Region: Entire U.S.
This mixture provides honey bee forage for the entire growing season. It includes annual and perennial flowers that are proven favorites of honey bees in our garden. More >>
     
Quantity:

Western Honey Bee Pollinator Seed Mix Western Honey Bee Pollinator Seed Mix | PM-300
1 Oz.: $15.00 | 1/4 lb: $30.00 | 1 lb: $65.00
Recommended Region: Western U.S.
This flower mixture is for pollinator conservation in the western United States and southwest Canada. More >>
     
Quantity:

Eastern Honey Bee Pollinator Seed Mix Eastern Honey Bee Pollinator Seed Mix | PM-400
1 Oz.: $15.00 | 1/4 lb: $30.00 | 1 lb: $65.00
Recommended Region: Eastern U.S.
This flower mixture is for pollinator conservation in the eastern United States and southeast Canada. More >>
     
Quantity:

More on the Importance of Honeybee Pollination and Conservation

Honey Bee Pollination
Honey bees do not just produce wax and honey - they are extremely valuable pollinators of many agricultural crops. Honey bees are not native to the U.S. - they originally came from Europe and were brought over by early colonists. The list of crops that are pollinated by honey bees is endless - including fruits, berries, nuts, clovers, alfalfa, canola, and many vegetables. Alfalfa is an important forage crop in the U.S.

Honey bee colonies have long been managed by beekeepers to provide pollination services for crops as well as for honey production. Honey bee populations have been in decline in recent years. According to the U.S. Agricultural Research Service, there has been a loss of about one third of honey bee hives in beekeeping operations across the United States.

Recent studies suggest that these declines have been caused by the combination of several factors which may include infectious pathogens, malnutrition, stress, and pesticides.

Black Long-Horned Bee on Purple Coneflower
Black Long-Horned Bee
on Purple Coneflower

Most recently, beekeepers have been striving to reduce pesticide use near hives and investing more in food supplies for their bees. Planting flowers that produce pollen and nectar, especially during the weeks when crops are not blooming, help to provide nutrition to honey bees throughout the entire season. With enhanced nutrition and health, honey bees will be better equipped to fend off disease, pathogens, and the effects of stress.

Bumblebee on Perennial Lupine
Bumblebee on Perennial Lupine

Native Bee Pollination
According to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, there are over 4000 species of native bees in the U.S. alone. Bees are the most predominant pollinators of flowering plants in nature, thus contributing a vital service to the ecosystem. Because of this important role, bees are referred to as "keystone organisms".

Some native bees have names that reflect how they build nests - leafcutter bees, mason bees, miner bees, carpenter bees, digger bees, etc. Others are named for their behavior, which include bumble bees, sweat bees, and cuckoo bees. Finally there are some bees that are named for the types of plants they pollinate such as squash, sunflower and blueberry bees.

If honey bees are in short supply, the pollination needs of many crops can often be filled by native bees. Research has shown that native bees can be major pollinators of agricultural crops and sometimes do the job more efficiently.

For instance, the blue orchard bee is a primary pollinator of cultivated apples. Another important crop pollinator is the western bumble bee, which has been used to pollinate cranberries, avocadoes, and blueberries. Native squash bees are major pollinators of cultivated squashes. Some native bees are even commercially managed like honey bees to provide pollination services.

Native Bee Conservation
There was a time when native bees and wild honey bees performed all of a farmer's pollination needs because of the presence of natural areas nearby. These natural areas provided nesting sites, food and protection for the bees. Because of the way agricultural landscapes are developed today, there is often a lack of native bee habitat and forage near farms. Techniques to encourage native bees to live in your area are simple to implement. These can be done on a farm or in a home garden.

There are 2 ways to engage in native bee conservation. You can preserve known nesting and foraging sites on your property, or you can create them. Good bee habitat must include water, areas for nesting or egg-laying and secure over-wintering sites. Flowers that provide nectar and pollen throughout the growing season will provide adequate food.

Honeybee on Lance-Leaved Coreopsis
Honeybee on
Lance-Leaved Coreopsis

These habitat and forage areas should never be treated with insecticides or other harmful chemicals. If insecticides are utilized in the vicinity of bee habitat, they should be applied when they have the lowest impact possible on local bee populations. This might entail spraying pesticides only when bees are not active.

The best time to plant in your area depends on the climate and rainfall patterns as well as the species you are planting. In cool climates, plant annuals, perennials or mixtures of annuals and perennials in spring, early summer or late fall. Fall plantings should be late enough so that seeds do not germinate until spring. Perennials can also be sown in early fall provided that there are at least 10-12 weeks of growing time before the plants go dormant for the winter. Late fall plantings are advantageous when supplemental irrigation cannot be provided and adequate rainfall is anticipated in the spring.

In mild climates, plant during the cooler months of the year; fall through spring, for best results. Fall plantings done prior to periods of rainfall will insure an early display of flowers the following spring.

Moisture

All seeds, including wildflowers, need ample moisture to germinate and to develop into healthy seedlings. Best results will be obtained by soaking the planted areas thoroughly and maintaining consistent moisture for 4-6 weeks -- then gradually reducing watering. In non-irrigated situations, plant in the spring or before periods of anticipated rainfall. After seedlings are established, watering may be reduced depending on the climate and rainfall. In arid climates or during drought conditions, up to 1/2 inch of supplemental water per week may be required to maintain an optimal display. If weeds are present, remember that they benefit from moisture as much as the wildflowers and may dominate over watered areas.

Many wildflowers benefit from some fertilization if the soil does not have adequate nutrients. Some wildflowers do fine in poor soils, while others require a more fertile environment. We recommend that a soil test be performed when soil quality is unknown. If the soil needs improvement, use a low nitrogen fertilizer with a 5-10-10 ratio or add organic matter such as weed-free straw or grass clippings, well-rotted compost, peat moss, or leaf mold. In addition to adding nutrients, organic materials enhance soil structure and encourage beneficial microorganisms. Avoid over-fertilizing which may promote weed growth and lush foliage rather than flowers.SEE WILDFLOWER FOR COMPLETE DIRECTIONS


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