Pollinators love clover!
Clover is one of honeybees’ favorite foods. If you’ve eaten honey, it was most likely clover honey! Providing food for honeybees reaches far beyond the production of nature’s sweetener -- feeding pollinators is critically important to crop production on any scale, from large farms to our own gardens. Around one in three foods we eat depends upon honeybees for pollination!
Unfortuantely, honeybee populations are in decline, and scientists link this loss to the eradication of clover, dandelions, and other flowering “weeds” from lawns across the country. Planting clover in your lawn and landscape is one way to help boost the honeybee population! You will also find many other types of native bees visiting clover blossoms, including bumblebees, which are also important pollinators.
You can feel good about planting clover to provide habitat for native bees and honeybees, and your garden will benefit from these winged visitors, too. Just like commercial crops, many fruit and vegetable garden plants require bees for pollination. By planting clover among our crops, we invite bees into the garden to pollinate our plants, which will help boost their productivity for more delicious food to harvest.
Why do we love beneficial bugs?
In addition to pollinators, other beneficial insects are attracted to clover. Helpful garden predators such as ladybugs, minute pirate bugs, lacewings, and parasitoid wasps (specialized non-stinging predators), will feed on the nectar and pollen of clover. These bugs are beneficial because they feed on aphids, whiteflies, scales, cabbage worms, and other garden pests that can be harmful to your plants. When we plant clover and other flowers to attract these natural predators, we take a big step toward managing pest problems in the garden -- without the use of chemical herbicides, which are harmful to people, plants, and animals!