Trees for Bees

Small sweat bee on serviceberry.

Small sweat bee on serviceberry. Photo by Heather Holm. See her book below for more great photos.

Michigan has 400 native bees, all busy pollinating our crops, gardens, fields and forests. Like honey bees, our native bees are also in decline, with habitat loss contributing to their disappearance from our landscape. Often overlooked, flowering trees and shrubs offer both food and shelter for our native bees and other pollinators. These trees can enhance your habitat by offering blooms not just in summer, but also in spring and fall for the biggest impact! 

Mining bee Adrena sp. on Red Osier Dogwood.

Mining bee Adrena sp. on Red Osier Dogwood. Photo by Heather Holm.

 

Our seedling sale offers the following trees and shrubs to improve your landscape for pollinators. Download this Trees for Bees brochure of the list below. Questions? Contact Laura Quist at laura.quist@macd.org or 231.839.7193.

 

 

 

Hardwoods
Wild Black Cherry – early season flower source for mason, miner and bumble bees, & other pollinators
Red Maple – early season flower source for bees, miner bees, butterflies, and other pollinators
Sugar Maple – early season flower source for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators
Black Willow (aka Swamp Willow) – early blooms for bees, miner bees, butterflies, and other pollinators

 

Mining bee on native Wild Plum.

Mining bee on native Wild Plum. Photo by Heather Holm.

Small Trees and Large Shrubs
American Plum (aka Wild Plum) – spring white blooms for bees, bumble bees, butterflies
Shadblow Serviceberry (aka Juneberry)
– early season white blooms for bees and other pollinators

Common Choke Cherry – late spring food source for bees and pollinating flies
*Common Elderberry – provides nesting places for native bees
*Red Elderberry – provides nesting places for native bees
*Konza Fragrant Sumac– blooms for bees, butterflies and other pollinators
Nannyberry – late spring blooms for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators

Bumble bee on native Diervilla dwarf bush honeysuckle.

Bumble bee on native Diervilla dwarf bush honeysuckle. Photo by Heather Holm.

 

 

 

Shrubs and Ground Cover
Arrowwood Viburnum – early summer blooms for bees and other pollinators
Bearberry
– excellent pollinator value for bumble and mason bees
Black Chokeberry
– early summer blooms for bees and other pollinators
Gray Dogwood
– summer blooms for bees, bumble bees, butterflies and other pollinators
Red-osier Dogwood
– summer blooms for bees, bumble bees, butterflies and other pollinators
Silky Dogwood
– summer blooms for bees, butterflies and other pollinators
Dwarf Bush Honeysuckle
– mid-late summer blooms for bees, bumble bees, and moths
American Mountain Ash
– late spring blooms attracts large numbers of native bees
New Jersey Tea 
– a pollinator magnet with summer blooms for bees, butterflies and other  

  pollinators
Common Ninebark
–  mid-late summer blooms for bees, butterflies and other pollinators
Winterberry (aka Michigan Holly)
– summer blooms for bees

 

FruitThese offer food/shelter for bees, producing a more robust crop due to insect pollinator visits.
Strawberries – self fertile, but a bigger berry results from bee pollination
Blueberries – spring flowers feed bumble bees and native solitary bees, and result in higher berry yield
*Raspberries  –
self fertile, but a bigger berry results from bee pollination; old hollow canes used for nesting by solitary native bees

 

* denotes a plant that native bees nest beneath, within, or harvest parts from to construct their nests

 

Recommended resources to learn about your native bees:

Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies, is available to purchase from the Xerces Society. At 380 pages, Attracting Native Pollinators provides the latest understanding about creating and managing pollinator habitat. Illustrated with hundreds of color photographs and dozens of specially created illustrations,Attracting Native Pollinators is divided into the following four detailed sections on Pollinators and Pollination, Taking Action, Bees of North America, and Creating a Pollinator-Friendly Landscape.


Pollinators of Native Plants: Attract, Observe and Identify Pollinators and Beneficial Insects with Native Plants, by Heather Holm. 2014. This is the first comprehensive book to illustrate the specific relationships between native pollinators and native plants. Organized by plant communities, the book profiles over 65 perennial native plants of the Midwest, Great Lakes region, Northeast and southern Canada and the pollinators, beneficial insects and flower visitors the plants attract. With its easy-to-use format, the book provides the reader with information on how to attract, plant for and identify pollinators with native plants. Beautifully designed and illustrated with over 1600 photos of plants and insects, the book includes information on pollination, types of pollinators and beneficial insects, pollinator habitat and conservation as well as pollinator landscape plans. This is an important book for gardeners, students, native plant enthusiasts, landscape restoration professionals, small fruit and vegetable growers and farmers who are interested in attracting, identifying, supporting or planting for pollinators.


New guide for encouraging pollinatorsBees of the Great Lakes Region and Wildflowers to Support Them is a new Michigan State University Extension publication that provides an overview of the diverse community of wild and managed bees across the Great Lakes region. Packed with photos of the most common bee species and showing photographs and descriptions of wildflowers that are attractive to bees, the guide also provides a section on bee conservation with some practical steps to take.


 

 

Visit the Pollinator Partnership.

They help people protect pollinators to ensure healthy ecosystems and food security. The Pollinator Partnership’s mission is to promote the health of pollinators, critical to food and ecosystems, through conservation, education, and research. Signature initiatives include the NAPPC (North American Pollinator Protection Campaign), National Pollinator Week, and the Ecoregional Planting Guides. Their free poster, pictured right, is now available.