Honeybees are great pollinators. Their ability to move pollen around and between plants, is vital to our food supply. Habitat loss, disease and contact with pesticides have resulted in significant declines in honeybee populations. Burg Bees gardeners are committed to protecting pollinators by planting pollinator friendly gardens and educating on bee-friendly gardens and the importance of pollinators.


The Homewood Apiary includes several planting spaces that demonstrate how pollinators play a vital role in maintaining healthy, diverse, ecosystems. These gardens help educate others about how easy it is to provide pollinators with safe, pesticide-free food sources throughout the growing season.

The Homewood Apiary Gardens include a variety of flowering plants and trees with overlapping bloom periods. In addition to floral resources, we also include many flowering herbs, native plantings, and set aside no mow areas to establish habitat for pollinators and wildlife. No herbicides, insecticides or fungicides are used in any Burgh Bees gardens.


  • Integrated a Rain Garden in collaboration with the Audubon Society of Western PA and Green Cities Sustainability Corps we designed, planned, and installed a rain garden in the apiary.
  • Installed a 40+ foot bio-swale that connects to rain garden to divert runoff from the bus way allowing it to be absorbed and filtered by the soil naturally.
  • Developed initial planting concepts for the Homewood Apiary in 2009; and continually refine and implement these plans
  • Collaborated with Tree Vitalize to plant 15 pollinator friendly trees on the Homewood Apiary
  • Installed a wildflower meadow


Planting pollinators and choosing plants that support bees is an easy way to help pollinators. Choose plants, shrubs and trees that flower at different times of the season and have different shapes and colors (bees like blue, violet, yellow, and white flowers). Select plants native to this region. Some planting guides are listed in our resource section.

Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences: Pennsylvania Pollinator Services, 2.0 – Pollinators and Their Threats.
The link takes you to a 4-page pdf file that identifies critical threats to pollinators and strategies for addressing these.

Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences: Pennsylvania Pollinator Services, 3.1 – Pollinators and Their Threats.
This link takes you to a 4-page pdf file that discusses simple ways to create backyard pollinator habitats. It includes lists of native perennial pollinators for sunny and shady spaces.

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “Landscaping with Native Plants”.
This informative brochure answers the question, “what exactly is a native plant?” It provides a great chart with perennials, shrubs, grasses and trees native to PA.

Selecting Plants For Pollinators: A regional guide for farmers, land managers, and gardeners in the Eastern broadleaf forest. A North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC–www.nappc.org) and Pollinator Partnership™ An exceptional publication available at:

USDA Plants Database and the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center plants database are exceptional resources. Search for each plant by family and then use the range maps and plant descriptions to choose native species that are the best match for your area and conditions.


There are a number of ways you can support the efforts of the Burgh Bees Garden Committee. Contributions to the Homewood Apiary Gardens can help with the following projects.

  • Purchase of native plants to complete bio swale and monitor/adjust rain garden
  • Construction of small benches on side of new raised garden bed
  • Construction of at least one raised bed for an edible garden
  • Construction of permanent signage features giving orientation to the apiary gardens and grounds and identifying some key pollinator plants and trees
  • Construction of a storage shed for tools and equipment
  • Construction of permanent composting bins
  • Consistent support for mowing
  • Installation of apiary sculpture