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Do bees like creeping thyme?

Do bees like creeping thyme

If you are thinking about planting plants in your garden so that you can not only admire but contribute to the conservation of bees and other pollinators, don’t forget about creeping thyme. Not only is this plant beautiful, but it’s well known for its ability to attract bees, who enjoy collecting pollen and nectar from thyme. And if you want to know right away does creeping thyme attract bees? The answer is of course yes.

Thyme in history

Thýmus serpýllum from Greek Θύμος ἕρπυλλος is a species of perennial semi-shrub in the genus Thymus.

There are several versions of the origin of the name. According to one of them, the word “thyme” from the Greek “thymos” – which means strength, courage. In another, “thymos” is translated as “breath of life, spirit”. According to a third, it comes from the word “thymiama”, an incense that was used in the temples.

 Useful properties of thyme became known as early as 3 thousand years BC, it was valued, and spreading, everywhere received new names. Thyme was used as a spicy and medicinal plant and was widely used in various cults. The ancient Sumerians used thyme as an antiseptic. Ancient Egyptians dedicated thyme to Serapis, the god of dead souls, and the herb was included in mummifying means.

In ancient Rome, thyme was dedicated to the god Saturn. Homer wrote about a drink made from a mixture of wine, honey, flour and thyme – kikeon. It was the favorite drink of Attic farmers – a charge of strength and vigor for a long time. Greek philosophers and scientists Theophrastus, Dioscorides, Pliny the Elder, and Avicenna mentioned the medicinal properties of thyme.

Thyme as a honey plant

Thyme is native to the Mediterranean region. Therefore, thyme as a honey plant is common in the northwestern part of the Mediterranean coast, on the islands, in Spain, as well as in the south of France.

Thyme is cultivated in Moldova, in the countries of the Balkan Peninsula – Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Turkey, Greece.

It is in these regions that beekeepers can get real monofloral thyme honey, which has been known since antiquity. It is especially worth mentioning that 15% of all honey in Greece is thyme honey.

Depending on the region, thyme blooms from May to July. For example, in Poland, thyme blooms from June 10 to July 25. In Greece, thyme blooms from June to July, during which time there is a lot of rain, which ensures a good honey harvest from thyme.

Honey productivity of thyme

Honey plant thyme is very well visited by bees to collect nectar and pollen. From 1 hectare of thyme bees can collect 180 kg of honey.

It grows in a continuous carpet and it is very convenient for bees to move from flower to flower without flying long distances. Sometimes they get so much nectar in their goiters that it is hard for them to fly. Because of this, they spend the night in thyme flowers, so that in the morning they can go to the hive with fresh strength.

Another benefit of thyme as a honey plant for bees is that bees willingly visit thyme to collect nectar even during dry periods when other honey plants stop producing nectar.

Popular thyme species

Species of thyme are very numerous more than two hundred. Gardeners around the world most often favor one of three species:

– Creeping thyme (Breckland thyme, Breckland wild thyme, wild thyme, creeping thyme, or elfin thyme). Externally, the perennial plant is a semi-shrub with a large number of thin, stalked shoots. On the background of small oblong leaves blossom small flowers, the color of which varies from lilac-red to pink-blue shades. Flowering usually occurs as early as June. The plants show an enviable resistance to drought and low temperatures.

– Thymus vulgaris (Сommon thyme, german thyme, garden thyme or just thyme) is a small shrub whose shoots rarely grow taller than 15 centimeters. Depending on the variety, the color of the flowers can be purple, deep red or even snow-white. The common species is excellent for landscape projects.

– Thymus citriodorus (lemon thyme or citrus thyme). The species got its unusual name for its characteristic pleasant aroma with light lemon notes.

Growing peculiarities

All thyme plants are relatively easy to grow in the garden. They should be planted in a sunny, elevated place; the soil should not be too fertile. They are drought-resistant, but still in the heat bushes are better to water. Normally develop on slightly acidic soils, although they prefer neutral or slightly alkaline. In the period of summer rains can suffer from excess moisture in the soil and in the air. All thyme plants take root easily in a new location. Since the root system of thyme is located in the top layer of soil, the planting site does not require deep cultivation. A depth of 10-15 cm is sufficient. The place should be free of weeds. In the loosened soil add limestone crumbs, dolomite flour or wood ash, bury the roots and spread the stems on the soil surface. The newly planted plant is watered gently. Planting can be carried out practically throughout the season, but preferably in the first half of the season. 


Creeping thyme attracts bees beautifully. Its honey production is very high, which in large quantities allows the collection of excellent monofloral thyme honey. In addition to honey, bees actively collect pollen from it. It is also used in cooking in dried and fresh form. Obtain from thyme essential oil thymol, while tinctures and decoctions of thyme are used in medicine. Overall, it is a great option to plant it in your garden.

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