2016 updated research

Rosybee Research Findings 2016 update: Which ‘bee-friendly’ plants attract the most bees?

Summary

For the last 3 years we have been systematically counting which plants attract the most bees: this report provides an update with the 3rd years worth of data.  

Note: These findings build on the context and method described in the 2014 research paper.

The scope of the 2016 study included 58 plants; 13 native and 45 non-native taking the total number of plants studied, to date, to 79 of which 59 have 2 or 3 years of data

In 2016 the wet and windy spring weather meant that bees were not observed foraging until mid-May (nine weeks later than previously). However, the overall findings are very similar to the averages of the previous two years indicating:

·       Repeating the research annually is beginning to provide consistent metrics

·       Both plants and bees are very resilient to adverse weather events

The chart below shows the top 30 best performing plants over 3 years. The rating for each plant is calculated as: average bees per square meter of the plant x number of weeks that plant flowered.

beeplants2016.png

This year’s study produced findings that mainly reinforced those of the previous years:

·       The primary finding is still that plants are not equally attractive to bees, even when you focus on ‘bee-friendly’ plants, and the variation is significant for anyone wanting to maximize the amount of bee-food that any area of land can provide.

·       Healthy plants with more flowers attract more bees: the old gardeners adage of ‘right plant for the right place’ is important, not only for a sustainable garden, but also for the direct impact on the pollinators each plant may support

·       Generally native and non-native plants continue to appear equally attractive to bees and, except where some specific bees and plants have a more unique inter-dependency; most bees do not care about the origin of the plant as long as the plant’s structure allows them to reach the nectar or pollen.

Our full 2016 report is here;