Bees need the same things we do for survival: food, water & shelter.
Here are some simple things to make your garden more attractive to native
pollinators. The honey bees will visit more frequently as well.
Food: Because of their selective vision, bees are attracted
to flowers in white, yellow & blue hues. Having at least 1 square
meter of floral display makes it worth their while to visit. Bees tend
to like simple, non-horticultural varieties of flowers. In my yard I
see the most bees on the following flowers: catnip, grindelia, penstamon,
galliardia, rosemary, thyme, morning glories.
Water: Providing a source of water such as a small
pond or even a tray of fresh water will make your site more attractive
to bees. Be sure to put gravel or rocks in your pond or tray for the
bees to land on so they don’t drown.
Shelter: Solitary bees shelter in ground nests or deadwood.
Leaving dedicated perennial beds where you do not disrupt your soil
with tilling gives ground nesting bees an chance to nest in your yard.
For wood nesting bees there are several options. You can leave stumps
of rotting or semi rotting wood around your yard, or you can build dedicated
bee blocks that will attract native bees. Native bees will nest in holes
3/16th to 5/16th inch in diameter and 4 to 6 inches deep. 4 x 6 or 6
x 6 wood works well. You can also scorch the front of your block once
you have the holes drilled, to make the bee block more attractive to
the female bees.