Eric Mader, Pollinator Outreach Coordinator, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

A bee pasture is managed for plants that maximize bee reproduction (“bee ranching”). This is a different goal from habitat conservation or honey production. To be effective a pasture must provide an abundant bloom throughout the nesting period—especially in the early stages of bee emergence. In many cases companion planting is necessary. For example, the floor of a cherry orchard could be planted with vetch or clover to provide ongoing floral sources for mason bees. Similarly, buckwheat is often planted near leafcutter bee shelters in alfalfa fields as a source of cut leaves for nest construction.

The table, available for download [PDF], includes a variety of plants that are suitable for large-scale bee ranching organized by bloom period. Many of these plants have value in their own right as silage, oilseed, fruit, or cover crops.