Bees in a Box

What is Bees in a Box?

Importance of Bumble Bees
Bees pollinate one-third of all the food that humans consume. Without them we wouldn’t enjoy tomatoes, cucumbers, blueberries, and our summer favorite, watermelon! More than 50 species of native bumble bees live in the United States and Canada and are responsible for the pollination of more than 85% of all flowering plants, so even wild animals couldn’t survive without them.Help us save our native bumble bees!

What is Bees in a Box?
Bees in a Box is a habitat designed for bumble bees! It provides a place for bumble bees to nest and the ability to provide a continual food source in an attractive way. Everyone can use it! It’s made of cedar and comes with three seed packets that attract all six species of bumble bees in Hampton Roads. These flowers will bloom at different times throughout the season providing bumble bees with food throughout their life span.
Bees in a Box on location
Why do we want to help?
The Ruling Robot Falcons are a First Lego League team, and as part of the FLL, we have a project each year. This year (2016-17) was Animal Allies, and we had to help an animal that helped humans but faced a large threat. We chose bumblebees as three of the six species in Hampton Roads are vulnerable, and not many people know the bee’s strengths and their worth.

Native Plant List

Not all flowers are created equal when it comes to feeding pollinators, but the good news is that it’s easy to create a bee-friendly garden by choosing plants that are pretty in home gardens and good for bumble bees! We enjoy many of the same plants as bees.

Many plants sold in garden stores, while beautiful, cannot feed bumble bees and other pollinators. Bumble bees have specific tongue lengths, which means bumble bees cannot feed from many ornamental or non-native plants. Medium and long tongued bumble bees require certain flower shapes and sizes.

Our team spent 6 months researching native plants and their relationship to our local bumble bees. We searched scientific articles, websites, and books, as well as spoke with experts about which plants were beneficial to bumble bees in our area. We conducted our own study by going to multiple parks, yards, and natural areas to see which flowers bumble bees were feasting on. Below is our list of bumble bee friendly plants for the Hampton Roads area. We urge people in other areas to research native bumble bee friendly flowers to plant in their own yards.

When Bumble bees get food and the flowers get pollinated. Everybody is happy.


Penstemon digitalis Smooth Beardtongue
Tradescantia ohiensis Ohio Spiderwort
Lupinus perennis Wild Lupine
Baptisia sphaerocarpa Yellow False Indigo
Aquilegia canadensis Wild Columbine
Geranium maculatum Wild Geranium
Baptisia australis Blue False Indigo
Baptisia alba White False Indigo
Zizia aurea Golden Alexanders
Penstemon pallidus Pale Beardtongue
Penstemon hirsutus Hairy Beardtongue
Penstemon calycosus Calico Beardtongue
Penstemon canescens Eastern Grey Beardtongue


Echinacea purpurea Purple Coneflower

Lobelia siphilitica

Great Blue Lobelia
Silphium perfoltoluim Cup Plant
Eupatorium perfoliatum Boneset
Cassia hebecarpa American Senna
Monarda fistula Wild Bergamot
Liatris spicata Swamp Blazing-Star
Agastache Nepetoides Yellow Giant Hyssop
Vernonia noveboracensis New York Ironweed
Verbena hastata Blue Vervain
Blephilia ciliata Downy Wood Mint

Chelone glabra  Turtlehead
Solidago spesiosa Showy Goldenrod
Aster novae-angliae New England Aster
Oligoneuron rigidum Stiff Goldenrod
Aster spectabilis Showy Aster

Aster pilosus

Frost Aster
Gentiana andrewsii Bottled Gentian
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