Bumble bee-friendly trees and shrubs

Bombus affinis queen rusty patched bumble beeAccording to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis) is officially on the endangered species list, along with the grizzly bear, the northern spotted owl and 700 other species that are likely to become extinct.

According to an article by Maria Hakki for I Heart Intelligence, the rusty patched bumble bee, native to eastern North America, is a vital pollinator. “Without them, food wouldn’t grow,” says Hakki.

With a simple Google search, you will find many lists of plants that are great for attracting bees, but not many of these lists are specific to bumble bees. Take this a step further – you’ll be hard-pressed to find a list of trees and shrubs that are bumble bee friendly.

Bumble bee-friendly trees

  • Fruiting and ornamental varieties of apple, cherry, plum and pear
  • Willows (Salix)

Cotoneaster and bumble bee photographed by Sid MosdellBumble bee-friendly shrubs

  • Viburnums
  • Barberry (Berberis)
  • Cotoneasters
  • Japanese andromeda (Pieris)
  • Escallonia
  • California lilac (Ceanothus)

What else can you do?

The USFWS recommends a variety of efforts to help the rust patched bumble bee, including growing a garden, using native plants, providing natural areas and limiting the use of chemicals and pesticides.

Not only will your efforts help the endangered rusty patch bumble bee, all other pollinators will be helped, as well!

Additional resources about pollinators

Have questions about the trees and shrubs in your landscape?

Contact a qualified arborist in your area. Not only can they can help you identify your existing trees and shrubs, they can also recommend new plantings that will work well given the light, soil and hydration conditions of your landscape.

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