GARDENING

How to Invite Bees to Your Garden

The bee populations have been declining in the United States due to colony collapse disorder. When a colony collapses it is usually because the worker bees have disappeared leaving the young bees in the hive to fend for themselves. It's not clear why colonies collapse, but scientist believe it could be due to the varroa mite, a bloodsucking parasite that attacks bees. Besides the mites, pesticide use in gardens and a decline in suitable habitats have also contributed to the decline of our bee populations. 

The good news is that every gardener can invite bees to their gardens by following a few simple steps. 

Don't use insecticides, pesticides and herbicides

A garden free of insecticides, pesticides and herbicides is the first step to attracting native bees to your garden.

Insecticides are very toxic to bees. Consult with your local nursery and ask what chemical free products are available to combat the problems you might have.

Herbicides take out the weeds, but bees actually feed on the nectar when the during spring and fall. Leave a few dandelions  in areas in your garden that might be tugged away. The leaves of dandelions can be eaten in salads too. 

Plant a variety of flowers. The more variety the better it is for the bees. Bees are attracted to purple, blue and yellow. Plant cosmos, clematis, echinacea, foxglove and geraniums. 

Set aside areas in your garden that have patches of grass. Native bees don't live in hives, they burrow in the ground and seek shelter in brush piles.

Keep water sources, like bird bathes or water fountains. Bees need a fresh water source. 

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