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Bee comb

The Bees Trees

Why trees make the best food sources for bees

There’s always something to eat on a FirebushHamelia patens

Everyone these days wants to be pollinator friendly by planting to attract bees and butterflies.

What usually comes to mind are flowering plants such as Gaillardia, Coreopsis, Zinnia and such, but what we should be thinking is: Jamaican Caper, Simpson’s Stopper, Firebush, Melochia, Bahama Strongbark and Crabwood. These large shrubs and small trees bloom on and off for most of the year in South Florida, provide not only gobs of blooms for pollinators, but then offer the songbirds a feast.

Jamaican Caper

Notice the sheer volume of blossoms this mature Jamaican Caper offers bees.

Jamaican Caper blooms are showy, fragrant and offer nectar and pollen to visiting bees.


More is better!

Because I am a registered bee keeper myself, I have the privilege of living with and observing these amazing creatures every day.  What I have discovered is that no flowering plant can compete with the sheer number of blooms on a tree.

Melochia tomentosa

For attracting the most diverse pollinators, both honey bees, native bees and other beneficial insects, Melochia tomentosa can’t be beat.

To produce abundant honey and remain healthy, bees need clean nectar and pollen sources.  This is why systemic pesticides used on flowering plants and trees can be harmful to them, as they are translocated into the flowers and also the pollen. Lack of plentiful and clean forage is one of the many reasons that bees are in decline, not just honeybees, but also our native bees. Consider planting more flowering native shrubs and trees to support honeybees, and other beneficial insects and songbirds.

Not all honey is the same…

When buying honey, be sure to buy local (best if you are dealing with allergies) and “raw”.  Raw means: unfiltered (to capture all of the healthy pollen grains), unheated (to capture all of the antioxidants which are destroyed by heating, and if possible untreated (most beekeepers use pesticides in their hives these days).  By using raw honey, you are ensuring the full benefits of this delicious and nutritious product, some of which you helped to create by planting the bees trees!



10 Comments on “The Bees Trees

  1. So good to know thanks and to think it can all start by washing our hands ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    • Are you sure you are commenting on the right blog? Trees don’t care if you wash your hands or not, lol! They just want you to plant more of them!

  2. I’m starting a garden and I’m happy I found this!I look forward to including these and replacing some plants that never bloom. I loved your garden center

    • Thank you for the compliment; I truly appreciate it. I agree with you; why not plant to feed the wildlife and ourselves first? Attracting butterflies and birds make our yards come alive!

  3. Great article Donna,
    I am a particular fan of Melochia, and Jamaican Caper, but you should have mentioned Sweet Almond as well, in my back yard it grows to over 12ft tall so fits into this grouping perfectly. In fact, in less than two years it has outgrown my Jamaican Caper that has been there for probably 8 years. Taller and wider.

    • Hi Rich,
      I totally agree with you! I have about 6 of these trees in my yard and the bees love them! They are a fantastic plant, growing into a small tree as you said, and giving copious blooms year round! I was sticking to natives in that article, which is why I didn’t mention it. Thank you for calling attention to it.
      Bee well.

    • Thank you! I love my trees and my bees for sure. Regarding a referral, I am not able to name names, but when interviewing for a tree service, you should look for ISA Certified Arborists. Also be sure they are licensed and insured. Each job site should have at least one Certified Tree Trimmer with Broward County. Don’t be afraid to ask to see their training card. A good arborist will also give you names for referral, to check on their work. Hope this helps. If you want to find a certified arborist, go to The International Society for Arboriculture.

  4. I live in jacksonville area. What are good trees for me to plant for my bees?

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