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How to bring beneficial bees back

METRO – Bees, birds and butterflies play integral roles in pollinating many of the crops humans rely on for sustenance.

Bees are beneficial for yards. Gardener’s Supply Company says one out of every three bites of food humans take depends on a pollinator. That’s because about 150 crops grown in the United States depend on pollinators. Even though there are 4,000 species of native or wild bees in the continental United States, many populations are in decline.

Bringing these important pollinators back will take a little work, but it is possible.

∫ Plants that offer cover can be attractive to bees that desire a respite from the sun and heat. Coleus and other ground cover offerings can be handy.

∫ Offer water in shallow dishes, as even bees need a cool drink to stay hydrated.

∫ Bees like various plants, so plant more than one species. Some plants that bees tend to like include alyssum, aster, geranium, bee balm, poppies, and clover.

∫ When planting, include some native species.

∫ Brush piles, dry grasses and dead woods offer nesting areas for bees.

∫ The Gardener’s Supply Company also says that bees find blue, purple and yellow flowers most appealing. Opt for more of these hues when planning gardens.

∫ Above all, avoid using pesticides in the yard. Even organic ones can be toxic to bees and other pollinators, and they may contribute to colony collapse disorder.

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