As the true stewards of our global food supply, honey bees keep our food world turning while ensuring our planet remains beautiful and bountiful. Which is why it is vital that we do all we can to protect our favorite pollinators. We are frequently asked, “How can I help the bees?” so we’re sharing simple ways that we can all help the bees.

Five Ways You Can Help the Bees

Honey bees, beekeepers, and the honey industry are direct contributors to the success of American agriculture. Today, the honey industry faces many challenges, such as hive loss, drought, colony collapse, and shrinking forage areas. Here are a few ways you can help the honey bees:

  1. Plant bee-friendly flowers and flowering herbs in your garden and yard.
  2. Let the weeds grow - you may not like them, but bees love them! Reduce the use of pesticides to treat your lawn or garden while flowers are in bloom.
  3. Bees are thirsty. Put a shallow basin of fresh water with marbles or rocks in it for the bees to land on outside your home.
  4. Donate to an organization dedicated to helping protect and promote honey bees and other pollinators.
  5. Support beekeepers by purchasing and eating honey.

Planting for Pollinators

Just like us, it is important that pollinators have access to a varied diet of plants, pollen, and nectar. By planting a variety of flowering plants, you help our pollinators stay healthy and strong, but just as every ecosystem is different, so are the native plants that populate them. Below is a look at eight different regions of the U.S. and the best pollinator-friendly plants to populate your garden.

Middle Rocky Mountain Steppe Province:

  • Trees & Shrubs: Bitterbrush, Thimbleberry, Elderberry
  • Perennial Flowers: Marsh Marigold, Parsnipflower Buckwheat, Bitterroot, Oregon Grape, Lewis' Monkeyflower, Butterweed

Outer Coastal Palin Mixed Province:

  • Trees & Shrubs: Sweet Pepperbrush, Titi- Leatherwood, Fothergilla, Sweet Bay, Dwarf Palmetto
  • Perennial Flowers: Eastern Horsemint, Stoke's Aster, Seaside Goldenrod

Lower Mississippi Riverine Forest:

  • Trees & Shrubs: Red Buckeye, Buttonbush, Sweetleaf
  • Perennial Flowers: Wild Onion, Butterfly Weed, Prickly Pear, Mountain Mint, Ironweed
  • Vines: Passion Flower, Trumpet-creeper

California Coastal Steppe:

  • Trees & Shrubs: Bigleaf Maple, Blue Blossom, Scouler's Willow
  • Perennial Flowers: Calypso Orchid, Beach Strawberry, Columbia Lily
  • Annual Flowers: Baby Blue Eyes, Bull Clover

Intermountain Semidesert & Desert:

  • Trees & Shrubs: Big Sagebrush, Fernbush, Apache Plume
  • Perennial Flowers: Prickly-Poppy, Umbrella Desert Buckwheat, Prickly Pear Cactus, Globemallow

Great Plains Steppe & Shrub:

  • Trees & Shrubs: Silver Maple, Chickasaw Plum, Black Willow
  • Perennial Flowers: Fringed Bluestar, Prairie Milkweed, Blue Wild Indigo, White Prairie Clover, Prairie Petunia, Missouri Goldenrod

Southwest Plateau Dry Steppe:

  • Trees & Shrubs: Velvet Mesquite, Chickasaw Plum, Bush's Blackberry
  • Perennial Flowers: Butterfly Milkweed, Purple Poppymallow, Bailey's Hedgehog Cactus, Missouri Goldenrod

Prairie Parkland, Temperate Province:

  • Trees & Shrubs: Blackberry, Raspberry, Willow, Hawthorn
  • Perennial Flowers: Wild Columbine, Swamp Milkweed, Prairie Clover, Sunflower, Goldenrod
  • Vines: Trumpet Vine or Creeper

Don't see your area listed? Don't worry. This is not an exhaustive list, so please check out more detailed Ecoregional Planting Guides provided by our friends at the Pollinator Partnership.