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Do Roses Attract Bees & Other Pollinators?

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Roses do attract bees. They’re attracted to the pollen, the shape, and their scent. Since bees can’t see red, they’re mostly attracted to other bright-colored variations of the flower.

Aside from bees, roses also attract other pollinators, such as butterflies.

If you’re looking to attract bees with roses, there are certain types, shapes, and colors you should aim for. You should also apply the proper care.

In this article, we’ll explain more about why bees are attracted to roses, as well as what you can do to attract more bees to your rose garden.

Are Bees Attracted to Roses?

Yes, bees are attracted to roses. This is due to the shape and color of roses, as well as the pollen roses produce. Most roses don’t produce nectar, but bees will still visit them for the pollen.

Rose petals also emit a chemical that bees find very attractive. Roses give off a certain scent that lures in bees.

This compound is called coumarin. It’s a plant secondary metabolite with health-promoting properties, as is used in traditional medicine.

pink rose with bee

Why Are Bees Attracted to Roses?

There are several reasons why bees are attracted to roses or flowers and plants in general. Most often, it’s the promise of pollen, in combination with color, shape, scent, and other properties.

Related: What attracts bees?

Color

Color is one of the most important factors that attract bees to roses. Different colors of roses have better bee attraction. 

Bees can’t see the color red, hence this color of roses doesn’t work as well as other colors.

When bees are foraging, they’re flying very fast. This is one of the reasons why contrasting colors are great at attracting bees. [1] 

Green flowers surrounded by a field of green grass aren’t great at attracting bees, but especially blue and violet colors stand out to the bees. This is due to how bees see color.

If you’re looking to attract bees to your garden, look for flowers that’ll stand out. The best colors to look for are bright colors, as bees see darker colors as threats. Blue, violet, and even white roses work very well.

red roses with bee

Shape

The shape is another main factor that attracts bees to roses. The shape of the flower is important in relation to bees’ size. Bigger bees will be attracted by bigger petals, while smaller bees will be attracted by smaller petals.

Another reason why the shape is important is due to how bees suck up nectar. Some bees prefer flowers with an oblong structure, as they use their long tongue to extract the nectar.

pink rose petals with a bee

Pollen & Nectar

While most roses don’t produce nectar, some do. And they all produce pollen. Nectar is a sweet liquid that bees use to make honey. They need nectar to stay alive and are often attracted to the flowers with the highest concentration of nectar. [2]

A nectar-rich rose means a bee will be able to get the nourishment it needs. 

In combination with nectar, pollen is also important to bees. They use it to make “bee bread”, which is fed to the brood. Most often, bees come looking for pollen when visiting roses.

rose pollen with bee

Which Roses Attract Bees the Best?

There are many different types of roses. If you want to attract bees, it’s important to know which ones attract bees the best. Different flowers will appeal to different bees depending on their size and color. Generally, most bees are attracted to brightly colored flowers.

Some of the best roses for attracting bees include:

  • Wild roses
  • English roses
  • Hybrid tea roses

Wild roses are a great choice for attracting bees, as they have a large number of flowers and are very colorful. 

English roses also have a lot of petals, making them appealing to bees. 

Hybrid tea roses are not as densely packed with petals as English roses, but they are still very popular with bees, as they often have bright colors.

Wider Opening Attracts More Bees

One of the things that attract bees is the width of the flower opening. Studies have shown that flowers with wider openings tend to attract more bees than those with long, narrow openings.

This is because the wider opening allows more access to nectar and pollen. They simply have to do less work for the same reward.

Related: Best Flowers & Plants for Bees: 17 Flowers That Attract Bees

bee crawling on rose petals

Bees Are Attracted to Specific Colors

When it comes to bees, there are certain colors that they are naturally drawn to. For example, blue and violet flowers typically attract bees better. 

This is due to the fact that these colors are easily seen by bees from a distance, making them easier for bees to find. Blue and violet flowers have also evolved to produce more nectar to draw in bees.

In some habitats, green flowers attract bees better. This comes down to the local climate and the evolution of the local flowers.

Interestingly, different species of bees have different color preferences. [3]

To understand which color do roses attract bees, it is useful to know the characteristics of the bee species you are trying to attract.

Related: Which Colors Are Bees Attracted to the Most?

bumblee bees on a flower

Bee-Friendly Rose Care

There are a few things you can do to make sure your roses are bee-friendly.

  • Make sure to water your roses.
  • Prune your roses. When they’re in better “shape” they will attract more bees.
  • Make sure to use fertilization. You might want to consider adding some organic compost to the soil before planting. Not only does this enrich your soil, but it will attract earthworms which are beneficial for aerating the soil and moving nutrients around for better blooming.
  • Avoid using pesticides or other chemicals, as these can be harmful to bees.
  • Select a location for your roses that gets plenty of sunlight. Roses need sunlight to bloom.

Watering

Watering is key to keeping your rose healthy and happy. When you water, make sure to pour the water directly on the soil around the plant, not on the leaves. 

This will help the plant to absorb the water more easily and reduce the risk of disease.

In addition to watering, you can also help your rose thrive by providing it with some supplemental feedings. A balanced organic fertilizer can help to promote blooming and healthy growth. 

Just make sure to follow the instructions on the package carefully, and avoid overfeeding your plant.

watering flowers

Pruning

Pruning is an important part of maintaining a healthy rose bush. Pruning is a technique to grow roses without all the extra, unnecessary parts. It’s about keeping them clean of any excess growth. 

If you water your rose correctly and prune it periodically, then it will flourish into a healthy plant that flowers throughout the year.

Fertilization

Fertilization is an important factor in the growing process of roses. While they can grow by themselves, fertilizations help them grow faster. [4]

Fertilizers provide nutrients that are needed by roses to grow. These nutrients include nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These affect the plant’s ability to produce chlorophyll which is responsible for photosynthesis, among other things.

Roses absorb these nutrients through their roots. Roses need nitrogen during the early stages of growth, phosphorus to grow strong roots and potassium for disease resistance.

There are many different types of fertilizer on the market today, so it is important to select one that is suited for a rose. Fertilizers can be either organic or inorganic.

If you’re looking to attract bees, use an organic fertilizer.

fertilizing the plants

Do Other Pollinators Like Roses?

Roses are loved by many different kinds of insects. Some species take advantage of them for food, while others will simply use them to rest. 

Here are a few of the common pollinators that will land on your roses, and why they love them so much!

Butterflies: Many different kinds of butterflies will come to eat from your prized roses. This is because the flowers have a lot of nectar in them, which is a great source of food for them.

Moths: Many different moth species love to drink from roses. This is because the flowers have a lot of sugar in them. In fact, some moths will even lay their eggs on roses, so that their young can feast on the sweet nectar.

Wasps: Wasps might not be as popular as bees or butterflies, but they deserve some credit where it’s due. The wasp is well known for its pollination skills, and it often visits roses to drink from their nectar.

Conclusion

Roses are great at attracting bees if you plant the right ones. Bees are attracted to certain colors and shapes. Some roses possess the right properties for attracting bees.

Another reason why bees are attracted to roses is nectar and pollen. Roses provide bees with nectar, which they use to make honey.

If you’re looking to attract bees with roses, make sure you take proper care of them. Watering, pruning, and fertilization are some of the most important things you can do.

FAQs

Do Knock Out Roses Attract Bees?

Yes, knock-out roses do attract bees, but there is some debate over how strong the attraction is. Nonetheless, these roses can play an important role in attracting pollinators, and they are worth considering for any garden.

Do Bees Like Roses?

There’s no doubt that bees are attracted to roses. Roses produce nectar, which is a bee’s favorite food.

Do Wild Roses Attract Bees?

Yes, wild roses do attract bees. The flowers of most wild roses do not produce nectar, which is the primary food source that bees rely on. However, bees are still attracted by the pollen.

About Teodoro Pittman

Teodoro is a nature and animal lover. He specifically focuses on insects, such as ants, bees, and the like. In his free time, he takes care of his own ant farm, where he analyzes their behavior. Teodoro has spent the last 7 years studying the intricate behavior of these small creatures.

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