This is a question I get a lot on the MIgardener YouTube page. I get asked, “Why are my plants in my patio (or rooftop) garden not attracting any honeybees?” The answer is simple. Honeybees are opportunistic creatures. They go for patches of flowers. When we grow a garden, we make sure to plant a minimum of 10 plants of the same kind in order to bring the bees in, because the bees simply will not care or waste their time with just 2 or 3 flowers. Our lawn too has lots of clover, we let the clover in our lawn bloom before mowing to give the bees a chance to have a food source.
The next reason is because you are not planting the right things. Honeybees were brought over from Europe and ARE NOT native to North America. They are in Italy (Italian honeybees), Europe (European honeybees), Russia (Russian honeybees), and a few other small locations. But since they are not native to North America, they do not pollinate flowers that are not from their countries of origin. Many of the flowers, fruits, and vegetables, that come from Europe ALSO are pollinated by the honeybees. Things like: Broccoli, arugula, mustard, pumpkin, squash, mint, thyme, oregano, basil, and so on. Many of the plats we want bees to pollinate such as peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes are not from countries that have honeybees, therefor the bees simply leave them alone. That is because peppers, and tomatoes come from tropical countries far south of the equator.
The next reason your patio garden may not be attracting honeybees is because there are not honeybees around! The honeybee is disappearing from our world at an alarming rate. The best way to get honeybees to pollinate your garden is to keep bees. Even if you are in the city you can keep bees. Many people are scared of keeping bees however it is something that will educate, and the more education people have the more accepting of it they will be. Urban beekeeping is actually on the rise! There are plenty of videos we have that can get you into beekeeping if you are interested, and those can be found at our Playlist titled: Beekeeping 101