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Does Rosemary Attract or Repel Bees? (Answered)

Rosemary is known for its insect repelling properties. It is also a popular plant to attract pollinators like bees and butterflies. 

So, what is the case! How can a plant both attract and repel bugs? This article will dive deep into how and why rosemary attracts bees, is it suitable for your garden, and many interesting facts about rosemary and bees.

Does rosemary attract or repel bees?

The Rosemary flower is one of the favorite flowers for bees. Rosemary blooms early in the spring, which is one of few nectar sources for newly emerging bees. They collect nectar and also take the pollen for their babies. Rosemary repels bees and bugs when used in essential oil form.

Rosemary is a woody evergreen shrub with an intense aroma. It belongs to the mint family and originated from the Mediterranean region. It grows in most warm climates. 

The leaves of rosemary are used to add aroma to various foods. It has been used to season food for thousands of years. Some evidence says humans have been using it for at least 2500 years.

Now let’s talk about its flower and how good is it to attract bees. It blooms from spring to summer in temperate weather conditions. In warm states, it constantly blooms throughout the year.

The flower can be clear blue, deep blue, purple, white or pink. The flower contains a toxic chemical called andromedotoxin. So, you should avoid eating or feeding the flower to your pet.

Rosemary flowers are good for bees. The flowers contain sweet hidden nectar that bees can eat with their tongue. 

Different species of bees are attracted to rosemary flowers. By planting rosemary, you can enjoy the appearance of mason bees, bumblebees, mining bees, honey bees and many other pollinators.

Bees help the aesthetics of your garden and pollinate flowers. They are the most important insects for enhancing biodiversity.

Rosemary can also repel pests and insects like bees and mosquitoes. But only when you use rosemary essential oil. 

The rosemary plant leaves are throne-like, and it contains some chemicals that make them resistant to insect damage. But when rosemary as a plant does not repel pollinators like bees.

Here are some ain points why rosemary attracts bees.

Rosemary plant: 

The main reason is always the nectar of rosemary plants. The nectar is a bit deep inside the flower, so most insects can’t reach the nectar. It stays protected for the bees who have long tongues to drink the nectar from the deep of the flower.

There are many different rosemary species, and there are slight differences among them. Generally, rosemary grows 3 feet to 5 feet. It has needle-like deep green leaves, and the new leaves are light green. They are evergreen and contain a strong aroma.

Why do bees like rosemary?

Bees like rosemary flowers, but they dislike the smell of the essential oil produced by rosemary leaves. You can use rosemary essential oil spray to keep bees and pests away from somewhere. Just add a few drops of rosemary essential oil to a water bottle and spray it where you want.

Aside from that rosemary plant will attract different types of bees and other pollinators. Check out why bees like rosemary in the following points.

The flower is a good source of nectar:

Rosemary flowers have hidden nectar that bees collect and make honey with it in their hive. The nectar combines glucose, sucrose and fructose, and they add invertase enzyme when they pass the honey in their honey storage. 

Rosemary honey is beneficial for the digestive system and also contains antibacterial properties.

Rosemary pollen is also their favorite:

Rosemary pollen has pale pollen. Bees can eat rosemary pollen and play an essential role in pollinating other flowers in your garden. Sometimes the bees collect the pollen to their hive to feed their babies. Rosemary pollen is a great food source for young bees.

Rosemary flowers bloom early:

Bees work hard to produce honey for the long cold winter. In winter, the food source is scarce, and the weather condition is not suitable for their food collection duty. 

However, they somehow survive the winter by eating the honey they stored in the dry season. But when the winter is about to end, they often eat all their stored honey. 

That is a hard time for the bees as not many flower blooms at that time, but rosemary blooms just when the winter is about to pass like a heavenly flower to save the bees. In some regions, rosemary can start blooming even in February. 

Which variety of rosemary is best for bees?

All the rosemary is attractive to the bees, but if you really care for the bees, you can plant rosemary plants with bigger flowers and more nectar content. Here are some of the best rosemary species you can grow for the bees.

Creeping rosemary:

Creeping rosemary is one of the best rosemary plants you can plant for the bees. Big and fragrant flower makes them attractive to the bees.

Tuscan blue rosemary:

Tuscan blue rosemary is another popular species of rosemary.  Its beautiful clear blue flower makes them attractive to the bees.

Barbeque Rosemary:

Barbeque Rosemary also has clear blue flowers, and the flower blooms constantly. It is also a suitable plant to attract bees.

Roman Beauty rosemary:

It blooms lavender-blue flowers and attracts bees and other pollinators with its pungent smell and color.

Do bees get nectar from rosemary bush?

Bees do get nectar from rosemary bush while blooming. A blooming rosemary bush looks fantastic, and it also provides food to the pollinators. Nectar is a mix of different carbohydrates that they can use to make honey.

After bees collect the nectar, they fly to their hive and pass the nectar to house bees. House bees dehydrate the nectar using their wings like a fan. After dehydrating, they store the honey in their hexagon-shaped boxes.

Rosemary honey is very delicious, and there are many health benefits of rosemary honey. It has antiseptic properties and helps digestion. However, not all bees make honey. Let’s talk about different bees in the next section.

What bees are attracted to rosemary?

Most bees are attracted to flowers and nectar, whether they make honey or not. Rosemary flowers will attract any bee species that exist in the area. 

You may know only honey bees make honey, and they are the most common species of bees, although there are subspecies of honey bees. 

Here are some species of bees that are commonly attracted by rosemary flowers.

Manson bees:

Manson bees are also known as orchard bees, and it is recognized as economically recognized bees in America for their extraordinary service in pollination crops. Rosemary commonly attracts mason bees.

Manson bees are not a social bee species, and they don’t live in a hive or produce honey. But they consume pollen and nectar from rosemary flowers. 

They are not aggressive species of bees and usually do not bite or sting as they have nothing to protect. They are generally smaller than honey bees.


Rosemary commonly attracts bumblebees. Sadly rosemary can’t attract giant yellow space robots. Bumblebees have hairy and robust body structures. 

They look scary when they come near you, but they are not aggressive. Like Manson bees, they don’t make honey.

Mining bees:

Mining bees are smaller than honey bees, and you can attract mining bees by planting rosemary. They also have a furry and scary look, but they usually don’t bite or sting. 

Honey bees:

Honey bees are the most common types of bees worldwide, and they collect rosemary nectar to make honey. 

Usually, they will not be aggressive when you are not around their hive and are on their duty to collect nectar. Bees are the most important insects for mother nature.

Is rosemary good for the garden? Why?

Rosemary can be a great addition to your garden. Why? Check out the following points.

It’s a hardy and easy-to-grow plant:

Rosemary has no issue with hot weather. It can tolerate very high temperatures as long it gets water. It also resists cold weather reasonably well. It’s easy to grow and does not require any special care.

Grows indoor:

It grows indoors without any problem. It’s better to keep them indoors in the winter.

Attracts pollinators:

Rosemary flower attracts bees and other pollinators and also looks aesthetic.

Adds flavor:

Rosemary leaves can add flavor to your cocktail or barbeque. Its also used to preserve food.

Final thoughts

Bees are attracted to rosemary flowers for the nectar. The flower provides nectar and pollen, which they can eat and take to their hive. Rosemary plants can be a great addition to attract pollinators and have many benefits. However, rosemary essential oil contrarily repels bees and insects.