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Conservation Of Bees & Other Pollinators

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WildFlowerMix.com - An Informational Website From Seedland.com

Bee Feed Wildflower MixBees, animals and other insects are essential to the pollination of over 80% of the worlds flowering plants. This includes an estimated 35% of the world food crops. Without pollinators these plants and crops will perish and so will the population of humans, animals, other insects.....well you get the picture.

According to the USDA, insects comprise about 99% of the more than 200,000 species that act as pollinators (see our partial list below). It is commonly thought that the major pollinators are the European Honeybee which has shown a decline of over 50% worldwide due to diseases, pests, and the use of chemicals.

It is easy to cultivate the European honey Bee for pollination, honey, wax, and other products and we have taken the easy way out for centuries.  Because it was so easy to utilize European honeybees, the importance of native pollinators to North American ecosystems and agriculture has been overlooked and ignored. It has been shown in studies that adequate populations of native pollinator species, particularly native bee species, can provide 100% of the pollination activity needed for many farm crops. It has been estimated that wild, native bees pollinate over $3 billion worth of crops in the United States each year.

Seedland is proud to be a part of the growing effort to conserve and protect bees and other pollinators. We offer at our online store, Seedland.com, an extensive inventory of wildflower seed mixtures, native grasses and other crops such as alfalfa that are necessary for the conservation of insect and animal pollinator species such as:

  • Attract Bees- Western Wildflower MixNative Bees - Read about native bees as pollinators
  • Honey Bees - Read about honey bees as pollinators
  • Moths
  • Flies
  • Bats
  • Birds
  • Ants
  • Butterflies
  • Wasps
  • Beetles
  • Other Mammals

Some of the pollinators listed above have declined in population, become endangered or even extinct due to the loss of natural food supplies, habitat and the use of chemical herbicides and fungicides.

Due to this decline in pollinator species, pollinator conservation was made an important part of H.R. 6124, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, commonly known as the Farm Bill. This act covers a wide range of agricultural and food programs, but it also includes conservation programs. This bill provides support for research and makes pollinator habitat conservation a priority for land managers and conservationists. It will benefit both managed pollinators such as honey bees as well as wild pollinator species across the U.S.

The Farm Bill provides for funding for conservationists, land managers, farmers, individuals or professional bee keepers to provide pollinator conservation. This would include among other things, providing pollinator habitats and pollinator food such as wildflowers, native grasses and other pollinator crops. For more information see the NRCS website at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/ and read this PDF document from the USDA on Using Farm Bill Programs For Pollinator Conservation.

Honey Bees As Pollinators

Honey bees do a lot more than produce wax and honey. Although not native to the US, they were brought over from Europe by the early colonists, the honey bee is a very important pollinator of agricultural crops. The list of crops that honey bees pollinate is practically endless.

A short list of crops pollinated by the honey beePollinating Honey Bee

  • Fruits
  • Berries
  • Nuts
  • Clovers
  • Alfalfa
  • Canola
  • Many Varieties of Vegetables

Alfalfa is an important forage crop for livestock and wildlife. It is often planted by bee-keepers to provide nectar for the honey bee. The relationship benefits are mutual as alfalfa depends upon bees for pollination.

Honey Bee Conservation - The Problem & Solution

In recent years, there has been a steady decline in the honey bee population due to Colony Collapse disorder (CCD). According to research there has been a loss of about 1/3 of honey bee hives across the US due to CCD. Studies indicate that CCD is caused by a combination of factors including infectious pathogens, malnutrition, stress and the use of pesticides.

Planting Flowers or wildflowers that produce pollen and nectar, to supplement their food chain when crops are not blooming will help to provide nutrition to honey bees throughout the entire bee season. As an individual, professional bee-keeper, conservationist or land manager you can contribute to the conservation of the honey bee by planting wildflowers and other native blooming plants. Please see our menu for bee wildflowers mixes.

These charts below contain individual wildflower species for bee feed wildflowers to determine the best honey bee wildflowers to plant in your area -

In addition to the individual species of wildflowers that are beneficial to honey bees, we also offer a Honey Bee Wildflower Mixture that attracts, feeds and provides a habitat for the honey bee.

Native Bee Pollination

Native Bee Pollinating Purple ConeflowerThere are over 4000 species of native bees in the USA alone. These native bees are the predominant pollinators of flowering plants in our eco-system. Due to this important role in our eco-system, bees are referred to as "keystone organisms". While the honey bee is important and has been a managed bee by bee-keepers, it has been discovered, through research, that native bees are proficient pollinators that sometimes do the job more efficiently than the honey bee.

Native bees have many unique names that have been given throughout time by various cultures. Sometimes receiving the name for how they build their nests - Carpenter bees, leafcutter bees, miner bees, mason bees, digger bees and so forth. Other bees are named for the crops they pollinate such as squash, sunflower, and blueberry bees.

The pollination of many crops can be fulfilled by native bees when honey bees are in short supply and they do the job as well or better! For instance the blue orchard bee is the primary pollinator of cultivated apples, the Western Bumblebee has been used to pollinate cranberries, avocadoes, and blueberries and Native squash bees are the major pollinators of cultivated squash. Native bees are sometimes managed by bee-keepers like the common honey bee.

Native Bee Conservation - The Problem & Solution

Before modern development and the chemical boom of the 1950's, farmers had plenty of native bees and native honey bees to pollinate crops.  With the advent of industrial agriculture, the development boom, and the un-bridled use of chemicals this is no longer true. Native Bees have lost their habitat in addition to being destroyed by chemicals used in modern day farming and everyday mass consumerism.

Planting Flowers or wildflowers that produce pollen and nectar, to supplement their food chain when crops are not blooming will help to provide nutrition to Native bees throughout the entire bee season. As an individual, professional bee-keeper, conservationist or land manager you can contribute to the conservation of the Native Bees by planting wildflowers and other native blooming plants. Please see our menu for bee wildflowers mixes.

These links to charts below contain individual wildflower species for bee feed wildflowers to determine the best native bee wildflowers to plant in your area -

Additional Conservation Solutions

Bee Habitats

Native & Honey Bees have certain environmental needs in their established habitats. As for bee habitats, you can preserve any that may exist on your property or you may create them. To establish a good bee habitat:

  • Make sure there is good clean water available
  • Establish areas for nesting, egg laying & secure over wintering sites
  • Provide adequate food by planting flowers and wildflowers that produce nectar and pollen
  • Avoid the use of chemicals or insecticides in bee areas

Bee Habitat & Other Conservation Publications

See this excellent publication by Bryn Mawr & Rutgers University about Native Bee Conservation Through Habitats & Foraging Needs (in PDF format) using the methods we have discussed here. Native Bees can be easily identified with the bee pictures provided. Although it was published for farmers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, most of the native bees are found across the USA so the information is valid no matter where you live.

Build a bee nesting House for Bees - this website from the University of Maine is full of bee foraging facts and includes instructions for building bee nesting houses.

For more on pollinator conservation and identification visit the following websites:

Bee Identification - http://bugguide.net/node/view/15740
US Forest Service - http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/pollinators/index.shtml
Xerces Society For Invertebrate Conservation - http://www.xerces.org/
All About Bees - http://www.attra.org/attra-pub/nativebee.html
The Great Sunflower Project - http://www.greatsunflower.org/


 Wildflowermix.com
PHOTOGRAPH NOTE: The color of wildflowers viewed in digital pictures on this site will vary depending on the monitor used and display settings.  The actual grow-out color of any wildflower species will depend on many unknown variables including site fertility, weather, time of year, lighting effects for the time of day, etc. Colors of any one wildflower usually will vary in shade from pictures available on this site or from the same or similar wildflowers grown at different locations. While we make every effort to try and present the most likely true color of wildflowers on this site, pictures shown are not guaranteed to be true to color.
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Garden Flowers

List of Wildflowers Individual Species
180+ Different Wildflower Varieties

 
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180+ Varieties
of Wildflowers
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Alyssum, Carpet-Snow
Alyssum, Dwarf Sw Pink
Alyssum, Dwarf Sw.Pur.
Alyssum, Sweet
Aster, Bigelow's
Aster, China
Aster, Golden
Aster, New England
Aster, Prairie
Aster, Sky Blue
Aster, Smooth
Aster, White Upland
Baby Blue-Eyes
Baby's Breath, Annual
Baby's Breath, PER.
Balsamroot, Arrowleaf
Basket of Gold
Beardtongue, Nar. Lf
Beeplant, Rocky Mtn.
Bellflower, Tussock
Bergamot
Bird's Eyes
Bishop's Flower
Black-Eyed Susan
Black-Eyed Susan Sw.
Black-Eyed Susan vine
Blazing Star
Blazing Star, Rough
Blood Flower
Bluebell, California
Bluebonnet, Texas
Boneset
Bundleflower, Illinois
Calendula
Candytuft, Annual
Candytuft, Perennial
Catchfly
Catchfly, Nodding
Chamomile, Roman
Chicory
Chinese Forget-me-not
Chinese Houses
Clarkia
Clarkia, Deerhorn
Clover, Crimson
Clover, Prairie Purple
Clover, Prairie White
Clover, Round Bush
Columbine, Blue
Columbine, Dwarf
Columbine, Eastern
Columbine, Mix Colors
Compass Plant
Coneflower, Clasping
Coneflower, Cutleaf
Coneflower, Dwarf Red
Coneflower, Grey-Head
Coneflower, MexicanHat
Coneflower, Narrow-lf
Coneflower, Pale Purple
Coneflower, Prairie
Coneflower, Purple
Coneflower, Yellow
Coreopsis, Dwarf Lance
Coreopsis, Dwarf Plains
Coreopsis, Red Plains
Coreopsis, Lance-leaf
Coreopsis, Plains
Cornflower - Polka Dot
Cornflower, Blue
Cornflower, Dwarf Blue
Cosmos
Cosmos, Dwarf
Cosmos, Sulphur
Cup Plant
Daisy, African
Daisy, Creeping
Daisy, Dwarf Shasta
Daisy, Engleman
Daisy, English
Daisy, Fleabane
Daisy, Garland
Daisy, Gloriosa
Daisy, Ox-Eye
Daisy, Painted
Daisy, Shasta
Daisy, Sleepy
Daisy, Yellow
Dame's Rocket
Edelweiss
Five-Spot
Flax, Blue
Flax, Lewis
Flax, Scarlet
Forget-Me-Not
Four-O'clock
Foxglove

Gaillardia, Annual
Gaillardia, Per. Dwarf
Gaillardia, Perennial
Gaillardia, Yellow
Gaura
Gayfeather
Gayfeather, Thickspike
Gilia
Gilia, Globe
Gilia, Scarlet
Globemallow, Goose Lf
Globemallow, Scarlet
Godetia, Dwarf
Godetia, Lilac
Goldeneye, Showy
Goldenrod, Rigid
Golden Alexander
Goldfields
Greenthread
Hyssop, Lavender
Indian Paintbrush
Iris, Wild Blue
Ironweed, Prairie
Johnny Jump-Up
Larkspur, Rocket
Larkspur, Western
Leadplant
Lupine, Arroyo
Lupine, Mountain
Lupine, Per. Purple
Lupine, Russell
Lupine, Yellow
Mallow, Tree
Maltese Cross
Marigold, Desert
Marigold, French
Milkweed, Butterfly
Milkweed, Showy
Milkweed, Swamp
Mint, Lemon
Monkeyflower
Nodding Pink Onion
Partridge Pea
Penstemon, Palmer
Penstemon, Rocky Mtn.
Penstemon, Shelf-Leaf
Penstemon, Smooth
Petunia, Wild
Phlox, Ann. Mix Colors
Phlox, Mountain
Phlox, Red Annual
Pinks, Cottage
Pinks, Fringed
Pinks Maiden
Pinks, Sweet William
Poppy, Calif. Orange
Poppy, Corn
Poppy, Dwarf California
Poppy, Iceland
Poppy, Oriental
Poppy, Red Corn
Poppy, Calif.Mix Colors
Primrose, Com. Evening
Primrose, Dwarf Evening
Primrose, Pale Evening
Primrose, Showy Even.
Primrose, Tall Evening
Rattlesnake Master
Rockcress, Purple
Rockcress, White
Sage, Blue
Sage, Pitcher
Sage, Scarlet
Sagewort, Prairie
Snapdragon, Spurred
Sneezeweed, Autumn
Snow -in-summer
Soapwort
Spiderwort, Ohio
Spiderwort, Prairie
Stock, Virginia
Sunflower
Sunflower, Maximilian
Sunflower, Ox-Eye
Sweet Blk-Eyed Susan
Sweet Pea, Perennial
Thyme, Creeping
Tickseed, Leavenworth

Tidy-Tips
Trefoil, Bird's Foot
Verbena, Moss
Vervain, Blue
Vervain, Hoary
Wallflower, English
Wallflower, Siberian
Yarrow, Gold
Yarrow, Red
Yarrow, Western
Yarrow, White
Zinnia, Classic
Zinnia, Creeping
Zinnia, Pumila Mix

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