What is it about the colour blue that bees love?
Many bees prefer flowers in the blue to the violet colour range, this is because these blooms tend to produce high volumes of nectar. But not all plants produce blue flowers, this is not an easy colour to produce. However, certain flowers have evolved to manifest a blue halo of colour. A study shows nanoscale structures upon the petals producing a blue glow when hit by light. The blue halo is created by small irregular striations that are lined up in a parallel design. This generates a blue or ultraviolet scattering effect particularly noticeable to bees, but not visible to the human eye. Bees have enhanced photoreceptor activity in the blue colour spectrum, so this is the reason why bees can see this blue glow.
Curious wild bees, bumblebees and other native bees all flit from one sort of flower to another, but the honeybee is “flower-faithful” and requires a good quantity of their favourite blooms. They are very particular on their foraging trips, studying the anthers and nectar wells of the flower, only settling for their preferred nectar and pollen-rich plants. The honeybee will continue gathering from this flower area until all the nectar and pollen is depleted.
Since bees see blue spectrum colours best, here are some delightful flowers you can plant in the middle of summer beginning of autumn to lure in those sweet honeybees. You’ll only need a few but plant them in plentiful amounts.
Meadow Sage – Salvia nemorosa and Salvia x sylvestris
Catmint – Nepeta sp.
Veronica – Veronica sp.
Hyssop – Hyssopus officinalis
Blue Glow Globe Thistle – Echinops bannaticus
Love-In-A-Mist – Nigella damascena
Borage – Borago officinalis
Viper’s Bugloss, Blueweed – Echium vulgare
Chicory – Cichorium intybus
MID-SUMMER – AUTUMN
Globe Thistle – Echinops sp.
Blue Anise or Hummingbird Sage – Salvia guaranitica
Bachelor’s Button – Centaurea Cyanus
Black and Blue Salvia – Salvia guaranitica
Russian Sage – Perovskia atriplicifolia
Blue Mist Bush – Caryopteris x clandonensis