Which Roses Do Bees Like?

Bumblebee foraging on wild rose - Rosa acicularis

Around the sandy coast where I live, there are many wild rose shrubs growing around the dunes, as well as naturalised Beach Roses (Rosa rugosa).  Bees are very active visiting both.  Wild roses and Rosa rugosa have lovely open flowers, and fewer petals than the heavily cultivated varieties.  Bees visit especially to collect the pollen.  The buzzing of bumblebees can be quite loud as they vibrate their thorax against the anthers to release the pollen.

Wild roses can be climbers, or stand alone shrubs.  Wild roses are sometimes called ‘dog roses’ but this name actually refers to the climbing wild rose, Rosa canina.  In fact, the term ‘wild rose’ includes and wild member of the genus Rosa (for example Rosa acicularis, Rosa woodsii, Rosa arkansana, Rosa virginiana).

Rosa rugosa can be purchased as a garden shrub, and is is one of my favourite flowering garden shrubs for bees. It's a wonderfully decorative bush: it has a fairly long flowering period, the fragrance is absolutely divine, and even the rose hips are wonderfully decorative: like large, red balls which have been slightly squashed!  The prickly stems make them an excellent protective boundary shrub too.

But what about wild roses?

From my personal observation, I have noticed fewer bees visiting the climbing wild dog roses growing in the area, than another species, Rosa acicularis (Prickly rose).  Indeed, I spent some time observing bumblebees around brambles, ignoring the climbing dog rose flowering next to them.  There could be a number of reasons for this, for example:

-          Perhaps bramble flowers offer a greater food reward for bees than dog roses?

-          Perhaps I was not present during the optimum foraging time frame for bees visiting the dog roses?


That said, during my visit to the coast, I observed many bees on the wild roses, Rosa rugosa and Rosa acicularis.  Here are some of the snaps from the few hours spent:

Bees on wild roses:

Wild roses offer bees a rich source of pollen
Open flowers of wild roses - heavily cultivated roses often have many petals and many are of little value to bees
Above - wild dog rose, a climber
Wild roses growing among the grasses on the sand dune land scape
Climbing wild rose

Bees on Rosa rugosa

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