This question was already asked by me at Gardening Stack Exchange, but I was advised to ask it here instead. I see there is already a closely related question: Do animals have different taste preferences within the same species? . However, I would like some bee-specific clarification or study material, if possible.

I live in Europe, and planted several supposedly bee-attracting, but non-native (originate from Americas) perennials, most notably:

  • echinaceas
  • hellenuims
  • rudbeckias

For all species, I chose several cultivars, for the sake of experimenting.

Although all three species are listed as bee-attractive, bees at my place like only echinaceas and hellenuims. They totally ignore rudbeckias! Is there any plausible explanation for this?

Can it be that european bees are just not used to rudbekias, or simply don't like it, while american bees do?

  • $\begingroup$ Did you check the YT channel where he gives bees different types of water and nectar and checks which they go for? $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2020 at 8:57
  • $\begingroup$ No, but would definitely love to see that video, any link perhaps? Many thanks for idea/suggestion! @aliential $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2020 at 9:26
  • $\begingroup$ Probably bees communicate which flowers have the "most" amount of nectar, whereas the chemical makeup of it is a complex topic and probably a secondary choice option, they are picky about water though... youtube.com/watch?v=fVuxhp4TWNs&t=2s bee dieting: now.tufts.edu/news-releases/… $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2020 at 11:25
  • $\begingroup$ I'm writing as a comment b/c I'm hypothesizing without examining the life cycles (are they even all flowering at same time?) or pollination syndromes of these specific plants. Bees, like all animals, need multiple nutrients (carbs, fats, proteins, etc), and their sources of each may differ. 1 flower may have nectar richest in carbs and another maybe has a pollen richest in protein. Local surrounding plants might also provide better sources than your plants. The sources for each nutrient may also change throughout the year. In fact, the bees' actual needs may change throughout the year. $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2020 at 12:50
  • $\begingroup$ In other words, it's much more complex than simply planting bee-attracting plants. $\endgroup$ Oct 16, 2020 at 12:51


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