Protect Flowering Plants and Nest Sites
Once you know where bees are foraging and living, do what you can to protect these resources from disturbance and pesticides. We recommend a three step approach to protecting habitat for native pollinators: allow plants to flower, protect nest sites, and exercise care with insecticides.
Bees eat only pollen and nectar. In gathering these resources, they move pollen from one flower to another, and thus pollinate your crops. Bees rely on an abundance and variety of flowers, and need blooming plants throughout the growing season. Native plant species are often particularly good for pollinators. Many hybridized varieties of flowers have been bred for showy flowers at the expense of nectar and pollen, and often lack the food bees need.
Allowing crops such as lettuce, kale, basil, and broccoli to bolt will supply bees with nectar and pollen. Natural areas, cover crops, field and road edges and gardens often have the floral resources needed by native bees. Allowing flowers to bloom in these areas, especially during times when crops are not blooming, will provide essential food for nearby pollinators.
Habitat along stream edges often contains a diversity of plants. Willows, in particular, will nourish bumble bee queens in the spring so that large numbers of workers are available when crops begin to bloom.