Early Bloomers Help Bees

by Julie Tennis on February 25, 2012

This time of year is often the most difficult for bees – both native and honey bees.  They’ve made it through the cold winter months and now the days are getting warmer and longer.  But there are not a lot of blooming plants yet and food is scarce.  If she doesn’t get enough food – both pollen and nectar – a new native bee queen attempting to grow her own colony or simply lay new eggs for the next generation will not survive.

The good news is that there are numerous early bloomers who can bridge this gap between winter dormancy and the abundance of summer.

Here on the southwest coast of Washington, three native plants come immediately to mind:  hazelnut (Corylus cornuta), willow (Salix sp.), and red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum).  All three of these plants are in bloom right now, providing pollen and nectar to our early native bees.

Hazelnut Male and Female Flowers

Willow

Red-Flowering Currant

When you are considering what plants to add to your landscape, be sure to add early bloomers like these to help support the early pollinators of spring!

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