The busy bee provides us with three superfoods that we can enjoy in both food and supplement form: bee propolis, bee pollen, and royal jelly. But how do you attract more bees–and superfood–to your garden? Let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of bee pollen and how to attract more bees to your garden.
BEE-autiful Gifts for Health
Of the many gifts we receive from the bee, royal jelly is possibly the most familiar to people. Royal jelly is a substance produced by worker honey bees. If fed to an ordinary female bee in the larval stage, royal jelly will transform her into the queen bee. The queen then goes on to outlive other worker bees, including those who fed her, by five or more years. How’s that for a “magical elixir?” Royal jelly contains a mix of protein, fat, sugars, vitamins, and minerals. Royal jelly has had many uses in folk medicine (as a skin and hair tonic) and has received some attention in modern research for its antimicrobial properties.
Bee propolis is sometimes referred to as “bee glue” as it is used to construct, seal and repair the beehive. Propolis is a resinous substance that bees collect from various plants. Propolis contains many vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other plant compounds that give it antibacterial and antifungal power. In modern research, propolis has been found to prevent the growth of bacteria that causes dental cavities.
Nutrients found in Bee Pollen
Bee pollen is truly a superfood and, as you may have guessed, it is derived from the pollen that bees collect as they buzz about from flower to flower. Bee pollen contains many amazing components:
- Essential amino acids (Up to seven times the amount found in the same weight of traditional high protein foods)
- Vitamins D, A, E, K, C, and several of the B vitamins (particularly B5 and niacin)
What are the Uses of Bee Pollen?
Bee pollen has been used as an anti-aging food and an energy supplement. It has been used to support the health of the adrenal glands which are most affected by stress. The antioxidants in bee pollen (vitamins A and C, for example) help protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals, a primary culprit in both the aging process and the onset of chronic disease.
The health protective benefits of bee pollen make it an excellent addition to your diet. Bee pollen comes in many different forms. You can sprinkle it onto foods such as salad, cereal, or yogurt. It can also be provided in capsule form. Since bee pollen is derived from bees and from plant sources, there is potential for an allergic reaction.
Always check with your holistic health provider before taking any nutritional supplements.
Attracting Bees to Your Garden
Now that we’ve established the benefits of bee pollen and honey, you might want to figure out how to attract your own bees. There are a couple guidelines we use at La Puma Farms that can help attract bees to your garden or keep a beehive alive if you decide to become an amateur beekeeper:
- Plant flowers that bees love! Flowers are food to bees, and like humans, they prefer ice cream to kale! So, plant native flowers (to wherever you are) bee balm, echinacea, snap dragon, hostas, California poppies and evening primrose.
- Bees dig color and like blue, purple, violet, white, and yellow flowers especially.
- Don’t spray artificial, chemical, synthetic pesticides— they’re bad for bees. Garden organic only!
- Also, give bees a drink! Not beer or wine, but good pure water in a flat saucer so they can dip in without endangering themselves. A bird bath or irrigation system helps with this.
The exact types of flowers and fruits to grow to attract bees vary by region, but some of the best overall are:
- Medicinal herbs, like sage and thyme
This list is just the tip of the iceberg! For more tips on attracting bees to your garden, check out this guide from the Almanac. How can you attract more bees to your garden and more bee pollen to your plate?