While domesticated honeybees might be slumbering in their hives, wild bees are already feasting on spring wildflowers. The diversity is astounding, including specialized pollinators such as the Trout Lily Bee. It’s among the first bees to emerge in the spring, perfectly timed to the bloom of its partner plant, the trout lily. It might seem unsettling to encounter ground-nesting miners in your garden, however, they are predators to garden pests, pollinate plants, and serve to aerate the soil.

You can support honeybees and other pollinators with small adjustments to your own landscape. To start, embrace the dandelion! They provide the first meal of spring for hungry bees. When planning your garden, choose varieties that are single flower, like marigolds and daisies; they produce more nectar and have more easily accessible pollen than double flowers. Highly hybridized plants produce no seed, and thus no pollen for the bees. The idea is to vary plantings for sequential blooms throughout the seasons. Snapdragon, pot marigold, bee balm, and hosta are good choices for mid-summer, and aster, sedum, zinnia bloom into the fall. Before the close of the year, plant crocus and hyacinth bulbs.

Bees find homes in a less-cultivated environment. A naturalized area with grasses, twigs, and open access to the ground serves a bee population well. Raspberry canes and sunflowers are home to bees that nest in stems. During the warm, dry days, a small dish of pebbles kept filled with water serves as a “bee bath”.